AHIP Sounds Alarm on Recent Drug Executive Orders

On the heels of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announcing a favorable average basic premium for 2021 and the Trump administration signing three executive orders that placed restrictions on pharmacy benefit managers, America’s Health Insurance Plans have sounded an alarm warning that all is not what it seems.

AHIP recognizes that the current Medicare Part D prescription drug plan average basic premium is one of the lowest premiums since 2013.

However, using CMS stats, AHIP says that the executive orders will cause Medicare premiums to increase by 25 percent, increase drug spending in Medicare programs by over $195 billion, and contribute $100 billion toward bailing out drugmakers.

AHIP warns that the problem is still pricing and nothing done so far requires Big Pharma to lower their prices. Read more at HealthPayer Intelligence.

MORE HEALTH AND EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Covered Cal Announces Record-Low Rate Change for the Second Consecutive Year

Covered California announced on Tuesday a record-low insurance premium rate change for the second consecutive year. The preliminary average rate change for California’s individual market is 0.6 percent for the upcoming 2021 plan year, which is the lowest mark since the launch of the Affordable Care Act and follows a rate change of 0.8 percent in 2020.

Anthem Launches Voluntary Virtual Support Tools

Anthem Blue Cross announced it has launched Voluntary Virtual support tools to help employers and brokers customize and coordinate enrollment in Voluntary products, as many employees work remotely with limited face-to-face meetings. This innovative, comprehensive approach makes it easier for employees to make smart healthcare decisions and allows greater flexibility for employers.

With Anthem Voluntary Virtual Support Tools employees can:

  • Attend customized online meetings about Voluntary benefits selections, available on any internet-connected device;
  • Review their Voluntary benefit options and compare plans side-by-side via the Online Enrollment Portal;
  • and participate in live virtual group meetings that can be recorded or access simple and dynamic presentations with pre-recorded audio

Employers and brokers will also have access to a team of Voluntary Solutions Consultants, who can customize enrollment strategies for each company, making it even easier to enroll employees in Voluntary benefits. The Voluntary Solutions Consultants will also be available to meet face-to-face with employers when in-person meetings are able to resume. More info here.

CAL BROKER

Cal Broker 2021 Editorial Calendar

California Broker has been serving the state’s agent/broker community for almost 35 years. Our story lineup reflects what our 25,000 readers and industry contributors feel is relevant, worthy and, yep, at times even controversial. We’re making tweaks to next year’s editorial calendar right now. If you have a story idea you’d like us to consider, now is the time to speak up! Please email input to editor@calbrokermag.com. You can find last year’s editorial calendar right here.

Having Fun with MDRT Today

Today, we’re hanging out at the MDRT virtual conference. Already we’ve learned from presenter Joshua Seth that having a lower voice can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased earning. That’s right, might be time to hire that vocal coach. Look for more amazing insight garnered from the conference in the next issue of our magazine.

EQUITY

NEFE Invests In Underserved Communities

The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) announced it is making a greater commitment to address structural and systemic racism and inequality by investing in several organizations that support underrepresented populations.

NEFE is providing unrestricted grants to six national nonprofit organizations who serve communities most impacted by COVID and the resulting economic crisis, as well as those directly impacted by racism, prejudice and bias. Each organization is receiving $25,000 in operating support to help them continue to provide services focused on the financial and economic well-being of those they aid.

Coalition of Communities of Color, Portland, Ore.

EveryoneOn, Washington, D.C.

Foundation for the Mid South, Jackson, Miss.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Denver, Colo.

Society for Financial Education & Professional Development, Alexandria, Va.

Women’s Community Revitalization Project, Philadelphia, Pa.

Read more about NEFE’s philanthropic response in Hensley’s op-ed Racism, Bias and Economic Inequality Impair the Financial Well-Being of Millions.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Webinar Aug. 12

The Leadership Development Group is offering a webinar titled Creating a Culture of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion: Lessons from the Past and Strategies for the Future. The webinar takes place Wednesday, August 12, 10:30a.m. Pacific. Learn with TLD Group faculty presenter, Dr. Dale Caldwell, an expert on influence leadership, and his father Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, a “foot soldier” in the Civil Rights Movement, who knew and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This session will connect the Civil Rights Movement to current realities and provide a framework that will help participants understand the connection between their personal influences and diversity, inclusion and equity.  Register here.

NAAIA Shares Two-Part Webinar

Our friends at The National African American Insurance Association recently hosted a two-part webinar with more than 600 attendees that opened up a discussion about race in the insurance industry. NAAIA has generously shared the webinar. You can access part 1 here and part 2 here. This was an amazing presentation and is well worth your time to listen! Thank you, NAAIA.

NAIC Announces Special Committee on Race and Insurance

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Executive Committee announced the formation of a special committee focused on Race & Insurance. The special committee will be co-chaired by Ray Farmer, NAIC president and director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, and David Altmaier, NAIC president-elect and commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Dean Cameron, NAIC vice President and director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, and Chlora Lindley-Myers, NAIC secretary-treasurer and director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance will serve as co-vice chairs for the committee. In addition to the formation of the committee, the NAIC will hold a special session on Race and Insurance during its Summer National Meeting. NAIC says information obtained from discussions and topics addressed during the session will support the committee with its near and long-term objectives.

MENTAL HEALTH

Benecard Offers Meditation Program

Prompted by a 13% increase in claims for anti-anxiety medications and a 9% increase in claims for antidepressants in March alone, Benecard Services, L.L.C., a company that offers innovative and cost-effective prescription drug benefit programs to public and private sector employer groups, announced it will now offer a new three-month meditation program at no charge for its clients, their members and benefit advisors. The program aims to help address the mental health effects of COVID-19.  Benecard will offer daily guided instruction from Free Form Minds, a company focused on bringing the benefits of mindfulness to organizations. Benecard asked Free Form Minds to make available a three-month program of free daily practices available via the Free Form Minds app or website for 400 enrollees. Each day, participants receive a short video introducing them to mindfulness and easing them into the habit of daily mindfulness meditation practice. The program then progresses to incorporate weekly themes, such as stress, focus, or gratitude. Participants are guided through each meditation to help keep them in the moment and present in the practice.

CVS Caremark Adds Anxiety App

CVS Caremark added The Daylight product from Big Health, which is designed to help people alleviate worry and anxiety, to its suite of managed point solutions.  The Daylight joins an expanding list of digital therapeutics that CVS Caremark offers for employer-directed healthcare plans.

EVENTS

  • FYI: No LAAHU’s Zoom Happy Hour Today!
  • MDRT 2020 Virtual Event, Aug 8-28

This five-day main event will feature the MDRT Main Platform, MDRT Speaks, Focus Sessions and ConneXion Zone breakout sessions in morning, afternoon and evening time blocks. Unique digital networking opportunities including the MDRT Build Your Network matching service and an interactive virtual scavenger hunt. MDRT members can register for the MDRT Virtual Event at any time before the August 3 opening date. Members are encouraged to register at least one week in advance to connect with fellow attendees and have the best platform experience. Any qualified financial services professional seeking MDRT membership can still join this year, with all late fees waived under the MDRT Productivity Action Plan. To learn more about MDRT and the benefits available to members, visit www.mdrt.org.

  • 16th Annual BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2020 will be Virtual

BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2020 will now be virtual in August. Preview the virtual experience here. Register for free here.

  • California Statewide Medicare Expo, Virtual, Aug 26-27

Ten local California Association of Health Underwriters chapters will host a California Statewide Medicare Expo. Join the online, two-day dive into all things that can help Medicare agents serve seniors. More than 100 sessions and opportunities for certifications and CE. $49 for AHU members; $59 for non-members. Register here.

  • NAIFA-Los Angeles Events

Thursday August 27, 2020: Life Insurance Awareness webinar with 4 great speakers. Info and registration here.

Friday September 25, 2020: Health Forum. Info and registration here.
  • The Senior Summit, Virtual, Sept 1-3

A collaboration of Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego Associations of Health Underwriters. Certifications, product trainings, CEs, guest speakers, industry experts, as well as a virtual exhibit hall and more! Price: $49 AHU Member or Non-Member (3 Day Admission). Deadline to Register: August 28. Info and registration here.

  • IICF Foundation Women in Insurance Regional Forums Rescheduled

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation has rescheduled the Women in Insurance Regional Forums:

Chicago: October 14
New York: October 26

Los Angeles: October 30
Dallas: November 17
More info at IICF’s website.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit will be March 2021

CAHU’s WLS committee announced that the second Women’s Leadership Summit has been rescheduled for March 24-26, 2021, at the JW Marriott in Las Vegas. Questions should be emailed to info@cahu.org.