CMS Extends Enrollment Deadline

Due to challenges contacting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by phone, they are extending the deadline to submit premium-Part A or Part B enrollment or disenrollment requests to Dec. 30, 2022. This relief applies to the 2022 General Enrollment Period, Initial Enrollment Period, and Special Enrollment Period. Read more

VISION

VSP Vision Recognized as a U.S. Best Managed Company for Second Consecutive Year

VSP Visionhas been selected as a 2022 U.S. Best Managed Company for a second consecutive year. Sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal, the program recognizes outstanding U.S. private companies and the achievements of their management teams.

The 2022 designees are U.S. private companies that have demonstrated excellence in strategic planning and execution, a commitment to their people and fostering a dynamic, resilient culture, as well as strong financials. This year’s designees continued to propel their businesses forward by prioritizing purpose, investing in their workforces, and demonstrating their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Dallas-based tech startup Take Command acquires technology from Silicon Valley-based startup Savvy to expand benefits platform

Acquisition signifies growth of Individual Coverage HRAs and reinforces Dallas as growing tech hub

Take Command, a tech-enabled service that offers HRA administration, has acquired innovative HRA technology from Savvy, a San Francisco-based, VC-backed healthcare company. The acquisition signifies the market growth of Individual Coverage HRAs (ICHRAs, a new model of reimbursing employees for health insurance rather than buying it for them).               

“We are excited to join these two innovative platforms and improve our ability to help employers take care of their employees,” shares Take Command CEO, Jack Hooper. “Investing in the functionality and user experience of our product means more features and customization for our clients.”

Both Take Command and Savvy offer HRA administration on their platforms, allowing employers to reimburse employees for health insurance premiums and medical expenses on a tax-free basis. Employees then choose their own individual health plans and get reimbursed on their paycheck. 

Read more.                                                                 

MINIMUM WAGE

Minimum Wage Increase Can Apply to Remote Workers

On July 1, 2022, several California cities are increasing their minimum wage rates, with some of them, specifically, Fremont, Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, Malibu, Pasadena and Santa Monica, removing their different minimum wage rates based on employer size. West Hollywood is the only locality that will have different wage rates on July 1 based on employer size.

To comply by July 1, make sure to confirm where your remote employees are located, as they may be subject to different local minimum wage rates and ordinances than when they were at your worksite. 

Read more

SEC RULES

Beware Fund Managers: No More Hiding Behind Greenwashing 

SEC says NO to misleading investment fund labels

Stopping fund providers from misleading consumers is top of mind for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  They aim to stop investment funds from labeling products as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) (https://bit.ly/3tdh620) unless their investment process relies on ESG more so than other factors. 

Using ESG alongside other factors “but not more centrally” than the other factors “would not be permitted to use ESG or similar terminology in its name,” the agency noted in a factsheet for the proposal, noting that doing so could be misleading or materially deceptive.

A study published by As You Sow (asyousow.org) found that 60 out of 94 funds  labeled as ESG products lacked ESG conviction, with many products containing fossil-fuel investments.

“As the saying goes, you should mean what you say and say what you mean,” SEC commissioner Caroline Crenshaw said in her remarks at the public hearing. “A fund’s name is often the first piece of fund information investors see. And while investors should go beyond the name itself and look at the fund’s underlying disclosures, a fund’s name can have significant impact on their investment decisions.”  Words like “sustainable” and “green” are often used as marketing tools but play only a minimal role in some products’ investment processes, she noted.

“Clear and standardized disclosures allow investors to compare products and accurately price risk and opportunity with ESG practices,” she said. “Investors have a right to know what they are investing in.”

STUDENT DEBT

To Pay or Not to Pay

Potential Student Debt Forgiveness Confounds Advisers 

Financial advisors find themselves in uncharted territory in the face of the wavering target of student debt forgiveness. Because student loan debt in any form can’t be forgiven through bankruptcy and because many of the loans include multiple generations of co-signers. advisers say the issue is front and center with no clear road map available.

Read more

GLOBAL SURVEY

Remark’s Remarkable Global Consumer Survey

Take a refreshing global look at topics you care about like insurance literacy, COVID-19, technology and mental health gathered in Remark’s Global Consumer Survey. This is the largest global survey on life insurance customers. It gives an insight into major consumer trends on relevant topics like AI, data privacy, health and even COVID-19. Review results here. 

MERCURY RISKS

Health Risks of Mercury Persist 

Critical levels found in bloodstream of up to 8% of 16-to-49-year-old women in America

The 2012 U.S. government target to reduce mercury emissions by 90% have largely been successful — they have led to less mercury in the environment, and have taken place over a long enough period of time that we can evaluate their health effects. 

The 10 years long attempt to dramatically reduce mercury emissions has resulted in: Children born with exposure to mercury declined by half, the average mercury blood level in women declined by over a third, and the measurable mercury levels in lakes, rivers, streams and the land have declined appreciably — all this from an 85 percent reduction in environmental mercury from coal-fired power plants alone. 

According to Coty Perry of Fishing News, coal-fired power plants are the main place we should look to reduce mercury emissions, simply because they are the origin of most of the mercury emitted in the United States.

At the very least, any products in your home such as batteries, thermometers and thermostats which might contain mercury need to be disposed of properly and not just thrown out with the rest of the trash.

Read more

REBRANDING

NAHU’s votes on name change at 2022 Annual Convention
June 25-28 in Austin. Look for more on the results here

The name/tagline that will be voted on at the 2022 Annual Convention is:

National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals “Shaping the Future of Healthcare”

We believe this name/tagline is both inclusive and a far more accurate reflection of who we are than “Health Underwriters.” Our hope is that you agree and vote with us at the Annual Convention in June.

Read more.

EVENTS

  • Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) Inclusion in Insurance Forum: Advancing Ideas into Action. In person: New York, June 9 • Los Angeles, June 16 • Chicago, June 20 • Dallas, June 22. Registration info here.
  • National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA) 2022 Annuity Leadership Forum, in person, June 13-14, Washington, DC. Info here.
  • National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA) Juneteenth Event, June 16.  Info here.
  • iSolved Webinar – Debunking the Top ACA Myths June 21, 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST. Register here
  • NAHU Power Hour: A moment with Mordo, June 22 3:30 p.m. PST / 6:30 p.m. EST with Employee Benefits Advisor Jolene Bryant and David Mordo, senior compliance officer at BenefitMall. Register here
  • NAHU 2022 Annual Convention: The Power of Story, in person: June 25-28, Austin, Texas. Info here.
  • CAHIP Engage, Statewide Leadership Conference, July 18 & 19, 2022, Universal City, CA. Register here.
  • IEAHU, OCAHU & SDAHU Senior Summit, Aug 23-25, in person, Pechanga resort, Temecula. 
    For more Information about the Summit:  https://theseniorsummit.net/
    Register for the Summit:  https://guestli.st/706287