CMS Medicare Ratings Out

 

Open enrollment also means CMS releases the Medicare star ratings.  Check out a lot about the star ratings and who ranked here. Keep in mind, however, that the star ratings have been criticized for being too lenient on carriers. So there are a lot of plans (90%) that earned 4-star+ ratings.

COVID

Cases Falling But CDC Keeping an Eye on ‘Delta Plus’

Good news: COVID cases keep falling! Not great news: The pandemic, though waning, doesn’t even need to be as bad as it is. Recent stats say 1,500 Americans continue to die each week of COVID because so many Americans have refused to get vaccinated:

The low vaccination rate in the U.S. matches up with polarized politics and high levels of socioeconomic inequality. According to the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, a mere 67% of U.S. adults without a four-year college degree have received a shot, compared with 82% of college graduates. Approximately 58% of self-identified Republicans are vaccinated, compared with 90% of Democrats.

Meanwhile, the CDC says there’s a new subvariant of the delta variant called ‘delta plus‘ that’s supposedly 10-15% more contagious than the delta variant. A case has been reported in California. Vaccinations are thought to be effective against delta plus and the CDC is monitoring this closely.

HEALTH

Anthem Blue Cross Offers Vivity Health Plan  in Los Angeles and Orange Counties

Anthem’s Vivity Heath Plan announced it will be expanding its health care offerings to small businesses (100 or fewer employees) in Los Angeles and Orange Counties beginning in 2022. Vivity is Anthem’s regionally focused health plan that includes reputed systems such as Cedars-Sinai, Huntington Hospital, MemorialCare Health System, Providence, PIH Health, Torrance Memorial Medical Center and UCLA Health. Anthem says that expanding Vivity as a high value offering to small businesses is part of their continuing efforts to simplify health care by giving employers and their employees access to care that is coordinated, affordable and helps improve their overall health and wellbeing.

NAIC

See You In San Diego!

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) announced recently that registration for its 2021 Fall National Meeting is now open. The meeting will be held in San Diego from December 11 – 16, and participants may attend either in person or virtually.

The Fall National Meeting registration fee, if received by Nov. 23, is $775 for in-person attendance. The fee for virtual only registration is $675. Both registrations include access to the meeting’s Event App, which allows registrants to have exclusive access to meeting recordings and meeting summaries. A tentative agenda is available and includes The Center for Insurance Policy and Research’s (CIPR) Fall Event: Emerging from a Crisis – Building a Construct for Lessons Learned for State Insurance Regulation. CIPR is scheduled to host this event, Tuesday, December 14, 2021.

In addition, meeting minute PDFs will be accessible to registrants within 10 business days after the conclusion of the National Meeting. For more info, visit the NAIC Meetings & Events site.

LONG-TERM CARE

Call for Speakers

Are you interested in speaking/presenting at the upcoming Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance Conference in Raleigh, NC, March 20-23, 2022? If you want to put your name into the hat, go here to fill out the form. Organizers would like to hear from you by Friday, October 29.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Advisors: We Don’t Like Plan to Tax Billionaires!

Financial advisors aren’t happy with the tax plan targeted at billionaires and other ultra-high income people that Democrats may be including in the Build Back Better budget bill. Democratic lawmakers have floated a plan that would tax billionaires and other ultra-high earners. This is after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s opposition to raising the rate on corporations sank a key funding component for their $2 trillion social spending package.

Here are a couple of the Tweets from financial folks that ThinkAdvisor published:

“This is lunacy!” tweeted Scott Salaske, an advisor and CEO of RIA Firstmetric. “First it’s billionaires, then eventually it’s millionaires and then finally everyone else. ‘Unrealized gains’ let’s get real. Is the IRS going to allow 100% of ‘unrealized’ capital losses to be written off each year since they will be taxing ‘unrealized gains’?”

In response, Michael Kitces, head of planning strategy at Buckingham Wealth Partners and co-founder of XY Planning Network, tweeted: “Given that capital losses are limited to $3,000 against ordinary income, & the rule would only apply to those w/ more than $100,000,000 of income, I’m not sure write-offs for unrealized capital losses would help much here? You’d simply have taxes if it’s up, and not if it’s not?”

We’ve checked out bank accounts and we’re pretty sure this doesn’t have much to do with us. Read the whole story, written by Jeff Berman, here.

DISABILITY

Vaccine Mandates, Remote Work and Accommodations 

November 4, 9am Pacific

Disability Management Employer Coalition is offering a very timely webinar!

Presenters are two experts from Sedgewick, which administers disability and related programs for thousands of private and public employers, including Fortune 500 firms. Extensive claims data can pinpoint trends on accommodations regarding vaccines, remote work and more.  In addition, presenters will outline the most up-to-date legal and regulatory requirements on vaccine and other accommodations.

More info and registration here.

MENTAL HEALTH

A Guide for What Nobody Really Wants to Think About!

BenefitsBro is offering a downloadable guide to help employers open up a much-needed mental health conversation! The guide covers the painful topic of suicide and how employers can prevent crises, support employees and improve mental health in their workplace.

CAL BROKER

Looking Forward to 2022

California Broker magazine’s 2022 editorial calendar is almost ready. Make sure your company takes part in our surveys, stays up-to-date on special issues and reserves advertising space. Contact our vp of marketing Devon Nuszer for all the info you need! Email Devon at devon@nustepinsurance.com

EVENTS

  • LIMRA 2021 Annual Conference, Virtual, Oct 26-28, Info and registration here.
  • SIIA Crowdsource Forum, In-Person, December 6 – 8, Charleston, SC, Info here.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit, March 14-16, 2022, Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, Info and registration here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, May 23-25, 2022, Austin, TX. Request more info here. Register here.