On Sunday, California lawmakers cinched a budget deal that would make it the first state to offer health insurance benefits to some adults living in the U.S. illegally. The benefits were included in an expansive plan for how California will spend $213 billion of state and federal tax money over the next year, according to Associated Press reports. The budget agreement must be approved by the full state legislature before it can be officially enacted. Lawmakers must enact a budget by midnight on June 15. Read more at The Hill.
A Los Angeles Times Must-Read
A Los Angeles Times examination of job-based insurance finds that the steep rise in health insurance deductibles over the last decade has saddled insured, middle- and working-class Americans with medical bills they can’t afford.
Commonwealth’s State Scorecard Reveals Regional Health Insights
Deaths from suicide, alcohol and drugs are a national crisis. But Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance reveals that where you live makes a difference. For example, New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Southeast have been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, but states like Montana, Nebraska and the Dakotas had higher rates of death from suicide and alcohol use in 2017 than from drugs.
The state health scorecard assesses all 50 states and D.C. on a range of health care measures, covering access to care, costs, health outcomes, income-based disparities and more. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, Connecticut and Vermont rank at the top of the scorecard, while Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi are at the bottom. See how California stacks up.
Ease Partners with Beam Dental
Ease, a leading HR and benefits software solution for SMBs, insurance brokers, and insurance carriers, announced their partnership with Beam Dental, a leader in innovative dental benefits. With this connection, Beam will become Ease’s newest EaseConnect+ partner. Like Ease, BeamDental embraces insurtech to create a better user experience with distinctive and consumer-focused product offerings.
And speaking of dental…don’t miss Cal Broker’s July print issue with our popular annual dental benefits survey of carriers!
MetLife Dives Into Financial Health
Even if employees are taking steps to save for retirement, it might not be enough to ensure future security, according to a deep dive into worker’s financial health by MetLife’s 17th annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study. Immediate needs and future planning are competing for employees’ dollars, and it appears that today’s needs are winning more often than not: the Study found that 30% of employees who have a defined contribution plan have dipped into it. Most employees who took a loan from these plans say it was to pay off an unplanned general expense, suggesting that employees are not able to fully protect themselves against an unexpected financial shock. In addition, over half of employees, 52%, say they expect to postpone retirement due to their financial situation (up 15% since 2015), which indicates employees are not able to save for future milestones while managing their day-to-day finances. Simply providing a retirement savings plan may not be enough to ensure that employees enjoy successful retirement outcomes. Metlife says employers need to provide resources that help employees to proactively build savings, protect their savings and guarantee they will have a steady stream of income in their post-working years. Financial wellness programs can help employees better understand their financial situations and leverage their benefits to protect their savings while they are working.
Guaranteed Income Products? That Depends…
Interest in guaranteed lifetime income products is closely tied to whether they are positioned as part of a retirement income strategy, stock market performance, ensuring healthcare needs are met, or concerns about running out of money in retirement, according to the fifth annual Guaranteed Lifetime Income Study by Greenwald & Associates and CANNEX. The Top 10 Key Findings & Data from the Guaranteed Lifetime Income Study report summary shows two-thirds (67%) of those close to retirement or in its early stages highly value guaranteed income to supplement Social Security. When guaranteed lifetime income (GLI) products are framed as part of a retirement portfolio strategy to supplement Social Security and cover essential expenses, 71% said they think this would be a good strategy for their own retirement. The research also reveals growing evidence that consumer sentiment appears to fluctuate based on the prevailing market environment, dropping as stocks rise and increasing when the market experiences sharp volatility. In addition, it highlights the top retirement concerns that drive interest in guaranteed income include paying for long-term care, meeting healthcare needs and not running out of money. The comprehensive survey of 1,005 Americans between the ages of 55 and 75, with at least $100,000 in investable assets, was conducted in February 2019. An additional survey of 302 financial advisors was included in the study for the first time to compare results with consumers.
Amalgamated Unveils Whole Life LP95
Amalgamated Life Insurance Company announced it will now be providing a voluntary whole life insurance solution from Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (www.smlny.com). The product, Whole Life LP95, offers guaranteed coverage for those who meet the eligibility requirements as well as guaranteed premiums and strong cash values. Coverage is available for individuals and their spouses age 18 to 72. Additionally, coverage can be obtained for children and grandchildren age 14 days up to and including age 26. Individuals can purchase this insurance for their family members without having to purchase life insurance for themselves. The Whole Life LP95 insurance product allows individuals to select the death benefit and policy riders that best meet their financial goals. Competitive, affordable premium rates are based on the benefits selected and start as low as $2.00 per week. Premiums can be paid through payroll deductions. Whole Life LP95 provides permanent insurance protection, even if the insured has a change in health, as long as premiums are paid. There is also the option to elect paid-up coverage in a reduced amount to cease ongoing premium payments provided sufficient value exists in the policy. For more information, visit: www.amalgamatedlife.com or call: 914.367.5000.
CVS Health: Will This Giant’s Scale and Scope Confound Its Vision for Healthcare?
Adam Fein at Drug Channels has an excellent post up examining CVS Health’s recent investor’s day and the outlook in the aftermath of the Aetna transaction. Fein examines the HealthHUB venture and much more! So check it out here.
IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference
June 12-14, 2019, New York City
NAHU Annual Convention –We’ll see you here!
June 29-July 2, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Keynote speaker is Retired Master Sergeant Cedric King. Sessions focus on practical solutions for your business, including retaining today’s new workforce, buying or selling your agency, data transparency and alternative healthcare management. And there’s an expanded Medicare Extreme! with proven practices and important trends on changes in Medicare, technology solutions, growing your business with group Medicare sales plus more. Plus plenty of opportunity to visit with a variety of vendors and network with colleagues More info here.
LAAHU and VCAHU 5th Annual Medicare Summit– We’ll see you here!
August 20-21, Pickwick Gardens, Burbank
Association of Health Underwriters Senior Summit– We’ll see you here!
August 28-29, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula
The Sixth Annual Senior Summit sponsored by the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego Associations of Health Underwriters is the largest AHU Medicare event in the country. Keynotes, breakout sessions, CE and much more. Early bird pricing in effect until Aug 1: $79 for members, $99 for nonmembers.
NAAIA National Conference
Sept 11-13, Atlanta- SAVE THE DATE!Leaders from across the insurance and financial services profession will come together at this high energy industry event to further the education, advancement and uplifting of African American insurance professionals. More info soon at www.naaia.org.
Alliance of Comprehensive Planners 2019 Annual Conference
Nov. 12-15, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego
The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP) is a community of tax-focused financial planners who provide planning strategies for clients on a fee-only retainer basis. Conference early bird registration rates (which expire Oct. 11, 2019) are in effect now. Participation is open to all interested financial professionals. Companies interested in sponsoring the ACP Annual Conference should contact Jill Colsch at firstname.lastname@example.org. The agenda is available here: https://2019.acplanners.org/home. More info here.