How the Industry Does Social Distancing

Last week, the CAHU Women Leadership Summit folks hosted a Facebook Live event, which was a lot of fun! We’re hearing of other groups doing Zoom conferences, chats, Skype sessions and more. We’re even thinking of hosting a Cal Broker power hour soon. So stay tuned for that. Today, though, the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters will kick off its Wednesday Zoom happy hour from 4-5 p.m. The event is free for members and $10 for nonmembers. Register here.

AM Best to Host Webinar on COVID-19 Implications for U.S. Insurance and Reinsurance Markets

Get up early Thursday, April 9 to watch AM Best’s complimentary webinar on the COVID-19 implications for the U.S. Insurance and Reinsurance Markets. At 7 a.m. Pacific, experts will review the changing impact of COVID-19 on AM Best’s U.S. insurance sector and global reinsurance outlooks and discuss additional rating considerations.

Panelists will include:

· Stefan Holzberger (moderator), chief rating officer, AM Best;

· Carlos Wong-Fupuy, senior director, AM Best;

· Sally Rosen, senior director, AM Best;

· John Andrew, managing director, AM Best; and

· Ken Johnson, managing director, AM Best.

Attendees can submit questions during registration or by emailing webinars@ambest.com. The event will be streamed in video and audio formats, and playback will be available to registered viewers shortly after the event. Register here.

Note: Due to the extremely high interest in this webinar, AM Best has added an additional viewing option. Go here to access the webinar in streaming video format. No special registration or software required.

UnitedHealth Group Accelerates Nearly $2 Billion in Payments and Support to Health Care Providers

UnitedHealth Group has announced it’s stepping up in light of the COVID-19 emergency. The company is acceleratating payments and other financial support to health care providers in the U.S. to help address the short-term financial pressure caused by the crisis. UnitedHealth Group’s move to accelerate claim payments to medical and behavioral care providers applies to UnitedHealthcare’s fully insured commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid businesses. Other financial support currently includes the provision for up to $125 million in small business loans to clinical operators with whom OptumHealth is partnered. This most recent decision to accelerate claims and incentive payments builds on previously adopted measures taken by the company to streamline processes for health care professionals and facilities, as well as to help members more easily access the care they need, including:

  • Suspension of prior authorization requirements to a post-acute care setting
  • Suspension of prior authorization requirements when a member transfers to a new provider
  • Extension of timely filing deadlines for claims during the COVID-19 public health emergency period for Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and Individual and Group Market health plans
  • Implementation of provisional credentialing to make it easier for out-of-network care providers who are licensed independent practitioners to participate in one or more of our networks

Providers can go to www.UHCprovider.com for specifics.

Anthem Waives Cost Share for COVID-19 Treatment

Anthem announced it will expand coverage, effective April 1, for members in its affiliated health plans undergoing treatment related to a COVID-19 diagnosis. The expansion covers the waiver of cost share for COVID-19 treatment received through May 31, 2020. Anthem will reimburse health care providers at in-network rates or Medicare rates for Anthem’s affiliated health plan fully insured, Individual, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage members. Anthem is strongly encouraging participation by its self-funded employers and will work with them to ensure their employees’ needs are met. These employers will, however, still have the option to opt out of participation. Anthem will also provide post-discharge support to Medicare members with complex care needs who may need additional assistance as they transition back to home following hospitalization. The company says its care managers can help provide coordination of medications and home health needs, scheduling follow up appointments and transportation, and arranging for post-discharge meal delivery.

Humana Announces Streamlined Claims and More
Humana announced it is streamlining the claims review process in individual and group Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid plans and employer-sponsored plans to ensure health care providers are reimbursed quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Humana is also suspending prior authorization and referral requirements for in- and out-of-network care related to COVID-19 and suspending prior authorization for most in-network care unrelated to COVID-19, with 24 hours’ notice requested.

IICF Organizes Industry-Wide Response to COVID-19 for Children

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation is determined to remain focused on supporting the people most in need. To this end, IICF has opened the COVID-19 Crisis: IICF Children’s Relief Fund. Funds raised through the campaign will support children at risk of food insecurity, educational disruption, family homelessness and other circumstances exacerbated by the crisis.

MEDICARE

SCAN Health Plan Expands COVID-19 Member and Community Support

SCAN Health Plan® announced its support for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.” campaign, which launched Tuesday. Aimed at combatting social isolation and food insecurity among those 65 and older, the effort calls on all Californians to check in on older neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock. SCAN is also offering the following initiatives:

For SCAN Health Plan members

  • Member Outreach – SCAN has launched an employee “all hands” effort, proactively calling members to make sure they have what they need to stay healthy at home, focusing first on those who are:
    • High-risk, such as those on oxygen or who are homebound
    • Socially isolated, because they live alone or don’t have a support system
  • SCAN Senior Advocates – Remaining safely on the job from home, SCAN Senior Advocates (SCAN members who are also employees) are listening for unmet needs during their regular birthday and welcome calls to SCAN members. Should there be a necessity for meals, medication or something else, SCAN taps into member benefits, when applicable, or arranges for community services

For seniors and caregivers in the community

  • Emergency Funding for Nonprofits – Beyond its quarterly grants, SCAN is providing emergency funding for nonprofits serving seniors, including, to date, an additional $330,000 to 14 organizations—most of which are delivering meals and other necessary supplies
  • SCAN Friendly “Visitor” Program – This program, through which volunteers typically make in-person visits to seniors’ homes, has shifted to a “friendly caller” program, helping ensure the safety of community clients while also offering the benefit of social interaction
  • Independence at Home Resource and Referral Line – The resource and referral line supported by Independence at Home, a SCAN community service, remains fully staffed and is a go-to source of information for seniors and caregiver

More info at scanhealthplan.com or facebook.com/scanhealthplan or follow SCAN Health Plan on Twitter @scanhealthplan.

COVID’s Impact on Medicare Sales

The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance recently asked Medicare insurance agents how much COVID-19 has impacted their sales. About 60% said business is down, 10% said it is up and 30% experienced no change. More info here.

TRAVEL

Insurance.com Weighs in on COVID-19 Travel Insurance Info

Insurance.com has published a guide to travel insurance in light of COVID-19. Check out their best advice on where travel insurance benefits can be obtained for those impacted by coronavirus for upcoming trips. For example, certain medical expenses, food and lodging may be covered for travelers impacted by coronavirus. The guide also explains what travel generally covers, likely exemptions, typical travel insurance costs and how to file claims. In addition, the report discusses benefits from credit card travel insurance and where that may be limited in today’s environment. Here’s a link to the report:  Travel insurance: What you need to know.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Employers Grappling with Cornona

EBN reports that coronavirus-related paid employer leave could exceed $23 billion.  Read the whole story here.

GOOD TO KNOW

Simple Mask Anyone Can Make

We already tried this and it works!

via GIPHY

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

How will COVID Impact Prescription Drug Spends?

Adam Fein over at Drug Channels has a post up about drug spending and how COVID-19 will impact it. From Fein:

The coronavirus is upending our healthcare system and putting enormous pressure on hospitals. Despite increased costs of treatment, I expect that spending will be lower than the CMS projections.

Well, at least that’s not bad news.

INSURTECH

Vitech Announces Strategic Partnership with Innovation Underwriters

Vitech Systems Group announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Innovation Underwriters (IU), a not-for-profit collaborative focused on promoting innovation within the insurance industry. IU supports Insurtech venture development and promotes innovation as a growth strategy for insurance leaders. Its ecosystem spans insurtech experts, startups, corporations, governments, academic institutions, and others. In addition to Vitech, IU has partnered with the Cambridge Innovation Center, MIT Sloan Executive Education, leading insurance companies, and a growing number of Insurtechs. As a strategic launch partner, Vitech will aid IU in bringing insurance leaders together to collaborate, innovate, and solve industry challenges. IU creates opportunities for collaboration by producing events, working groups, and leadership forums to generate new ideas and solutions, and amplifies them to the industry. Vitech will help drive the conversation in IU’s ecosystem, ultimately aiming to help to strengthen relationships in the insurtech community and develop solutions for the marketplace.

EVENTS

  • National Medicare Supplement Insurance Industry Summit Rescheduled to 2021

The 2020 National Medicare Supplement Insurance Summit set to take place May 13-15, 2020, in Chicago will now be held June 2-4, 2021, according to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance the conference organizers. The conference will take place at the Schaumburg Convention Center just outside of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. The 2021 conference will include its free day for insurance agents who market Medicare and other senior insurance products. Go here for more info.

  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit Rescheduled to August

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit has been postponed from March to August 5-7, 2020, at the same location, the JW Marriott in Las Vegas. We are hopeful that all current participants, and those who were recently forced to cancel, will be able to join us in August. CAHU will automatically transfer event registrations to the new dates. If for some reason you can no longer attend, please contact Korey Platt by email for additional options.If you have any questions or concerns contact info@cahu.org.

  • LAAHU 2020 April Annual Sales Symposium Rescheduled to July

LAAHU will postpone the April 22 Sales Symposium, AdapTech until Friday, July 17, 2020. The event will take place at Skirball Center. More info at laahu.org.

  • Self-Fund SoCal April 16 Event Postponed

The Self-Fund SoCal 2020 April 16 event at the Woodland Hills Marriott has been postponed. A new date hasn’t been announced.

  • Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation Women in Insurance Regional Forums Rescheduled

IICF has rescheduled the Women in Insurance Regional Forums due to the crisis:

Chicago: October 14
New York: October 26 

Los Angeles: October 30
Dallas: November 17

 

  • 16th Annual BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2020 will be August 20-22

BenefitsPRO Broker Expo 2020 has been postponed to August 20-22 in Austin, Texas.  More info here.