Newsom Launches ‘California for All’; Signs Exec Order on Rx Drugs

California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, began his term this week with a lot of insurance talk and some action. The state’s 40th governor signed a letter asking the federal government’s permission to mingle state and federal dollars (such as funding for Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health benefits) into a single-payer system, replacing the various public and private insurance programs with one run by Sacramento. In response, The Los Angeles Times editorial board said the “chances of the Trump administration signing on to such a plan seem more remote than the most distant star in the Milky Way.”

Newsom, however, forged on with his “California for All” agenda. He signed an executive order to establish a state-run, single-purchaser for drugs and he says he’ll establish a California surgeon general post.

The new governor also promised that the following provisions will make their way to his budget proposal:

Expanded access to health insurance premium subsidies. Newsom wants to make subsidies available to residents earning up to 600 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s $72,840 for an individual and $150,600 for a family of four.

A state “individual shared responsibility” provision. This would require people to have major medical coverage or pay a penalty.

Access to Medicaid coverage to undocumented young adults. The state Medicaid coverage for undocumented children would be extended to residents ages 19 to 26.


Have You Heard?

In our January print issue, editorial advisory board member David Fear weighs in on what’s ahead for 2019. Elizabeth Halkos makes predictions for voluntary benefits and edit board members Jesse Slome and Louis Brownstone talk about the future of LTC. And those are just a few stories.

February’s print magazine is our millennial issue. Look forward to lots of great content on the nation’s largest generation! Advertisers can still contact for rates.


Don’t Miss CAHU Webinar Jan 16!

What else can you expect as we move into 2019? What are Governor Newsom’s priorities?
CAHU’s best and brightest will answer these questions and more on January 16 at 3p.m. Vice president of legislation, Jim Morrison, and legislative advocate, Faith Borges, will discuss how the elections and other actions will impact healthcare policy in California.

To register for the webinar go here. 

House Resolution Seeks to Allow Counsel to Fight Texas ACA Battle; DOJ Asks for a Pause Due to Shutdown

Congressman Colin Allred of Texas announced a standalone resolution to affirm that the U.S. House Counsel can intervene in the Texas v. United States lawsuit to defend the Affordable Care Act and protections for pre-existing conditions. The resolution was slated for floor debate and a House vote today, but at press time hadn’t yet made it. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that the Department of Justice is actually asking a federal judge to pause all briefings related to the Texas ACA battle, saying they cannot complete their work properly due to the government shutdown.


GIA Unveils 2019 Cohort

The Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA), an organization that fosters insurance industry innovation, announced its 2019 cohort. GIA will welcome members of 10 InsurTech companies to Des Moines, Iowa, January 15, to begin the program. This year’s GIA cohort teams are developing and delivering new products and business models for buying insurance, cyber risk protection, underwriting automation, advisor services, digital transformation, claims resolution, pension planning, and employee benefit management. The teams include:

  • BriteBee enables consumers to shop for trusted insurance agents in an online marketplace.
  • Cowbell simplifies and expedites the process of obtaining accurate cyber insurance coverage for businesses by mapping insurable threats to the type of exposures.
  • ebbie specializes in e-application development and underwriting automation for life and health insurance companies.
  • everyday life makes purchasing the right life insurance policy easier using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality advisor services and personalized recommendations.
  • Friendly digitizes and structures documents and notes to enable automation of time-consuming, mundane tasks, such as data entry, document indexing, and adjudication for simple products.
  • Liscena automates the decisions and interactions between policyholders and insurance companies with AI-powered claims adjusters.
  • Micruity supports entities looking to synergize employee benefits with human resources (HR) strategy by enabling the addition of financial-focused insurance products, such as deferred annuities, to the company pension plan.
  • Predictive Health Partners leverages real-time predictive analytics that is personalized and conveniently delivered thru a mobile app to help employees be better consumers and managers of health care.
  • Prosper eDNA increases accuracy and planning for insurance companies working in life, long-term care and annuities by making accurate lifespan predictions, and enabling personalized epigenetic (not genetic) monitoring.
  • The Sentence Data Refinery assists insurance companies by reading and interpreting sentence data related to events and activities in claim and underwriting files with speed and accuracy.

The GIA’s 100-day program consists of one-on-one meetings with insurance professionals, site visits to insurer offices, networking events, discussions with seasoned InsurTech founders, education sessions, investor introductions and much more. The program concludes with final presentations at the Global Insurance Symposium on April 24 in Des Moines.

Smart Harbor Develops Interface with Agency Matrix

Smart Harbor, a digital solutions provider for insurance agents, announced it has developed a new seamless interface with Agency Matrix, a 100 percent cloud-based agency management solution provider. The new partnership enables agencies to pass all sales prospect and customer information generated from Smart Harbor’s website, email marketing, SEO and mobile services to the Agency Matrix management system. Smart Harbor says the integration is one element of the company’s strategy to develop a digital ecosystem of agency solution providers that unify the customer journey.


Colonial Life, EaseCentral Expand Partnership

Colonial Life and EaseCentral announced an expanded partnership to better serve mutual customers through a new benefits enrollment solution. The companies have successfully partnered to bring benefits enrollment solutions to the small to mid-size business market for more than two years. Their expanded partnership offers a new system upgrade that supports Colonial Life agent-assisted enrollments with secure two-factor authentication that protects employee information while allowing Colonial Life representatives to provide one-to-one employee benefits counseling. Self-enroll and call center enrollment methods also are supported by the platform for maximum enrollment flexibility.  Company reps say the expanded partnership takes advantage of the ideal combination of people and technology to deliver results and maintain service excellence.


NAFA Appoints New President

The National Association for Fixed Annuities announced that Charles J. “Chuck” DiVencenzo will assume the role of President & CEO effective April 1. NAFA says DiVencenzo will oversee the daily operations while working to actively execute the Board of Directors’ strategic vision for the organization, enhance membership experience and advocate for the value of fixed annuities and their role in American retirement planning. Prior to joining NAFA, DiVencenzo was vice president of advanced sales development for Allianz Life of North America.

MetLife Announces Leadership Change

MetLife announced that Michel Khalaf, the current president of U.S. business, will become the company’s president and chief executive officer effective May 1. Khalaf will take over for outgoing president/CEO Steven Kandarian. Glenn Hubbard, MetLife’s independent lead director and a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, has been appointed MetLife’s chairman.

Gould Joins Fiduciary Counselors

Fiduciary Counselors Inc., an independent fiduciary for employee benefit plans, announced Scott Gould has joined as senior vice president.  Prior to joining Fiduciary Counselors, Gould spent 18 years at MetLife.


VCAHU Charity 5k Walk/Run

Event is Saturday, January 12, 2019, Ventura

$40 registration, register before Jan. 10 4:59pm.  Register here.

VCAHU is extremely excited to bring the community together in an effort to raise a goal of $10,000 in order to have a Children’s Dream Racer built for Ventura County Medical Center’s Pediatric Unit / PICU. Children’s Dream Racer is a child-sized version of a real NASCAR race car. Built by retired NASCAR builder and founder of CDR, Mark “Smitty” Smith. These cars are built from the same materials used to fabricate a real NASCAR. Smitty’s mission is to place a Children’s Dream Racer in hospitals and cancer centers all across the U.S. so that children going through treatment have a chance to escape the worries of their circumstances for even a few moments out of their day. Proceeds generated from the 5k will go toward the build and delivery of the Children’s Dream Racer.

LAAHU Breakfast Meeting- Employment Law Update

January 17, 2019, 8-10 a.m.

Monterey At Encino, 16821 Burbank Blvd, Encino, CA 91436. Register here.

Marilyn A. Monahan, owner of the Monahan Law Office in Marina del Rey, will present on new employment laws. Marilyn focuses her practice on advising employers and consultants on compliance with employee benefit and insurance laws, including ACA, ERISA, HIPAA, and COBRA. Her volunteer activities include serving as Secretary of the Employee Benefit Planning Association (EBPA). Marilyn has also served on the Board of Directors of the Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) (2008-2018).

PIMA’s 2019 Industry Insights Conference

January 24-27, 2019, Margaritaville Beach Resort, Hollywood, Florida

Registration is now open for the Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA) Industry Insights Conference. The conference will host expert speakers from leading companies around the country including Facebook, Forrester and Action Surge. Conference promises to explore new product and distribution trends; emerging markets that harness growth in new areas; social marketing to drive insurance business; marketing to Millennials and Gen Z; and an insurance industry overview of blockchain. Early bird registration and housing deadline is December 14, 2018. Visit PIMA’s conference page for more details and to register or call 817-569-7462 (PIMA).

BenefitsPRO Broker Expo

April 2-4, 2019, Hyatt Regency, Miami, FL

A leading educational and networking event for employee benefits brokers and agents. Cultivate important relationships and obtain the most practical industry education for positioning your business for sustainable growth. More info here.

LAAHU Annual Conference

April 17, 2019, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. Register here.  Exhibitor info here.  Sponsorship info here.

LAAHU’s Annual Conference is the largest in the state and includes updates from D.C., breakout sessions for IFP, small group, large group, medicare and more!

IICF Horizon Award GALA and IICF Global Conference –Save the dates!

March 21, 2019, Downtown Los Angeles

June 12-14, 2019, New York City


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