Undocumented children are eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal health coverage in California. Now Governor Gavin Newsom — with the support of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara — is behind efforts to extend coverage to undocumented young adults who age out of the children’s health insurance program. Newsom wants to kick in an additional $260 million to the $360 million the state has allocated for covering undocumented children and teens. Advocates argue the investment is humane and financially savvy; it will allow for preventive care to thwart problems before they become extremely costly. Some state lawmakers want to go even further and spend an estimated $2.3 billion a year to extend Medi-Cal eligibility to Californians of all ages regardless of their immigration status. Check out this Sacramento Bee story that details the numbers and more.
This should come as no surprise to anyone: insurance carriers are nothing if not highly strategic. Additional proof came recently during a first-quarter earnings conference call Aflac executives held with securities analysts. The execs said they are confident that no matter what happens with Medicare for All/universal coverage, they will still be around filling an insurance need. Teresa White, president of the Aflac U.S. unit, said she thinks having major medical insurance under a universal care model may even increase the odds consumers will buy supplemental insurance, because looking at major medical policy descriptions helps consumers understand the kinds of expenses they could face if they run into a health crisis. Read more at ThinkAdvisor.
Maybe Trump Wants to Shore Up ACA. Maybe.
The world continues to turn in the ACA drama. The Hill reports that President Trump has now encouraged Democratic Sen. Patty Murray to resume efforts to find a bipartisan deal to shore up the Affordable Care Act:
Trump said that he did not understand why the bipartisan proposal that Murray worked on in 2017 and 2018 with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had been dropped, according to a Democratic source.
Murray reportedly told Trump that she’d been told he would veto the measure and Trump said he’d never said that. Interesting.
CA Lawmakers Seek More Oversight for Insurance Commissioner
The National Council of Insurance Legislators and National Association of Insurance Commissioners have been advocating for state lawmakers to have much more knowledge of insurance matters and to be better informed. It looks like Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, has paid attention. Cooley was the lawmaker who introduced AB 1591 — a bill that could increase the amount of information lawmakers receive from the state’s insurance commissioner.
This week, members of the California Insurance Committee voted 14-0 to approve Assembly Bill 1591. AB 1591 would require the California insurance commissioner to inform members of key policy and fiscal committees of National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) activities at least every other year. The commissioner’s office would need to identify laws that could authorize future NAIC changes to take effect in California without additional legislative action.
First Stop Health Announces Mental Health Access
This seems like a positive move…
First Stop Health LLC announced it will provide its members with access to virtual care Enhanced Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counseling. That means First Stop Health members whose employers sign up for Enhanced EAP Counseling now have access to a national network of licensed counselors via phone, Skype, etc. Members can receive counseling with issues such as marital and family concerns, alcohol and drug use, stress, anxiety, grief, depression and other emotional issues.
According to National Institute of Mental Health stats, nearly 44 million Americans — one in five adults — live with a mental illness. Additional data indicates that more than half of adults with a mental illness don’t receive treatment.
CB Mental Health Survey
Cal Broker is adding to its carrier survey lineup by including mental health benefits for the first time. If you think you should be included, contact Thora pronto: email@example.com.
Colonial Intros Enhanced Individual Term Life, Free Needs Calculator
Colonial Life introduced an enhanced individual term life product. The policy now offers:
- Four plan options: 10-year, 15-year, 20-year and 30-year term;
- Face amounts ranging from $10,000 to unlimited, based on underwriting;
- Terminal illness accelerated death benefit included;
- Same coverage for employee and/or spouse;
- Tobacco-distinct/unisex rates for amounts up to $250,000; and
- Gender-distinct rates for amounts over $250,000, with preferred rating based on health; and
- Six optional riders: 10-year or 20-year spouse term rider, children’s term rider, accidental death benefit rider, chronic care accelerated death benefit rider, critical illness accelerated death benefit rider, and waiver of premium benefit rider.
Additionally, Colonial has teamed up with education nonprofit Life Happens to offer a free life insurance needs calculator. Sales pros take note: an April report from LIMRA and Life Happens found 66% of consumers say they need life insurance, but only 57% own it.
Happy Trails to MetLife’s Kandarian
MetLife Chairman & CEO Steve Kandarian sent out his final chairman’s letter on his way to retirement. In the letter, he reviews what has happened at the company under his tenure. Kandarian also reveals how MetLife took on what he calls an existential threat to the company and how seriously the company takes insurance disruptors. Read the whole letter here.
Consociate Health Wins National Commitment to World-Class Data Award
Illinois-based Third-Party Administrator (TPA) Consociate Health has been recognized for excellence in data accuracy, using key analytics to transform the care management experience. Consociate Health received the Commitment to World-Class Data award, from Benefitfocus, at their 4th Annual “Celebrate Community” Awards. Consociate Health was selected from a pool of heavy contenders, including Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, The Hartford, MetLife, and Nova Healthcare Administrators.
Wednesday, May 1 | 10-11:00 a.m. PT
Health insurance providers and employers alike are bombarded by what seems like an endless supply of point solutions, creating chaos for both the organization in choosing what to offer to whom, as well as to members who must figure out how to navigate to the unique programs they need.
Learn how health organizations can provide the same kind of on-demand, personalized experience that consumers have come to expect from other industries.Learn more and register.
AHIP- Cost Optimization for Medicare Advantage Plans
Thursday, May 9 | 11 a.m.– noon PT
The Medicare Advantage market is becoming increasingly competitive, with three of the largest plans garnering 55 percent of MA enrollment and new plans entering each Annual Election Period. In order to grow, MA organizations must drive down administrative costs while exceeding member expectations.
Learn about the use of technology and automation to reduce errors in the enrollment and claims processes, and how these operations are integral in creating an unparalleled member experience. Learn more and register.
CAHU Capitol Summit & Expo
May 20-22, Sawyer Hotel, Sacramento
Join CAHU in Sacramento at the Sawyer Hotel for information about California and the future outlook for the industry. Hear from Commissioner Lara, representatives from the Governor’s office, legislators, political insiders and more about where California is headed.
Work alongside peers and other members as CAHU works to educate representatives on the critical role of the agent. Register 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.
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.