It’s All About the Drugs


President Joe Biden says he wants federal health officials to drive down prescription drug prices by working with states to come up with plans to import medicines from Canada. Biden says he’ll also press the FTC to do something about pharmaceutical manufacturers that pay their generic counterparts to delay lower-price versions of medications into the market. These ideas aren’t new, of course. But they do align with Biden’s campaign promises. Read more here.

And speaking of drugs, we’ve been featuring some great stories by Rick Sutherland at RxBenefits. Look for the August issue of Cal Broker coming soon for Rick’s latest story: “What History Tells Us About Pharmacy Benefits and Why HR Leaders Have Been Forced to Make Wrong Decisions.”  In the July issue, Rick wrote about the new drug pipeline and how it should make you rethink pharmacy benefits management strategies. Read that story here.


CVS Sees Bright Signs Post-Pandemic

The 2021 Health Care Insights Study by CVS Health®, released this week, reveals some interesting trends.

The study found people are starting to seek new avenues of care, using the last year as an opportunity to work on health goals and reexamine priorities. In fact, 77% of people said the COVID-19 pandemic has led them to pay more attention to their health in general, and 50% indicated previous stay-at-home orders helped them achieve their health goals.

Even as access to health insurance coverage (55%) and location of care (43%) remain among the top factors that influence consumer health care decisions, more people are exploring different avenues of care. For example, the study reveals shifts in the way people prefer to receive routine care, with a slight movement away from primary care providers (PCPs) to other health care resources. Routine care from PCPs has dropped since last year (56% versus 62% in 2020), and the use of online resources (19% versus 12% in 2020), community health centers (19% versus 15% in 2020), and local pharmacies (17% versus 11% in 2020) have all grown in preference.

The 2021 Health Care Insights Study surveyed 1,000 consumers and 400 providers for their thoughts on the state of health care and how they are navigating the evolving landscape. Other results from the study reveal people’s changing viewpoints toward their own health as well as generational and gender preferences in how they would like their health care delivered. More here.


Ready For a $653B Industry?

If you can believe it, the global health & medical insurance market is expected to reach $653.4 billion in 2025. Wow.

Right now, according to the Health and Medical Insurance Global Market Report 2021, the market will go from $385.24 billion in 2020 to $390.54 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.4%. This growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact.

The health and medical insurance market consists of sales of health and medical insurance by entities (organizations, sole traders, and partnerships) that are engaged in directly underwriting health and medical insurance policies.


Verikai’s Marketplace Promises to Be Quicker, Easier

San Francisco-based insurance technology startup Verikai has launched a new product called Marketplace. Here’s the skinny: Verikai uses machine learning models to give insurance providers a deeper view of risk, using extensive clinical and behavioral data. With Marketplace, brokers will now be able to run group reports through Verikai’s established system and immediately get matched with underwriters who are willing to write the group.  The company says they’ll take the stress away for brokers, while opening doors to new carrier contacts and avoiding the need for previous claims data or individual health questionnaires. Brokers and carriers can communicate entirely through the Marketplace platform, from initial report submission to RFP approvals, and finally to quote binding. More info right here.


Absence and Disability Made Fun

The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) virtual conference is coming up. There will be  five days of live (but virtual) education (August 3, 5, 11, 18 and 25) featuring legal and industry experts, dynamic networking opportunities and on-demand access to all educational sessions. Plus we have a coupon code for you to save $100! Furthermore, if you register by July 16 you will receive a welcome box full of goodies. From the folks at DMEC:

Each welcome box includes a variety of items, including a coloring book with colored pencils and a pop-it fidget toy to de-stress, a water bottle and sanitizer to stay hydrated and healthy, and items to document key conference takeaways. Use your earbuds to listen to artist and rapper, Harry Mack, at the Virtual Opening Welcome Reception. Enjoy a cup of coffee from your box while viewing a custom coffee brewing demo. And on the final day, indulge in your craft chocolate kit during the interactive chocolate tasting.

Sounds like a great deal. Register for the 2021 DMEC Virtual Annual Conference with the coupon code AC21_EXCLUSIVE.


Happy Bday to Us

We’re about to celebrate a birthday! California Broker magazine will be celebrating its 40th anniversary and we’ll be toasting (and drawing for a $500 winner for those who answered our reader survey) at the Welcome Back Happy Hour during the 9th Annual Senior Summit at Pechanga Resort on August 31. See below for information on registering for the Senior Summit — as well as the virtual Medicare Expo!


Must-do Medicare Events

Don’t forget Medicare events on the horizon! Two separate events — one in person and the other virtual. Of course, we think you should do both.

In person —

  • 9th Annual Senior Summit: Chart Your Course and Navigate Into the Future, in person at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, August 31-September 2. Online registration is open through August 19. Register here.

Virtual —

  • California State Medicare Expo: Unmasking Medicare – August 26-27. Register here.


ThinkAdvisor Gives Us Another List

You have to check out ThinkAdvisor’s list of the 12 Worst States for Retirement. We will just tell you right now that — strangely!– California isn’t on the list. But what is on the list is pretty surprising, including Idaho and Montana.


Epright Joins LIMRA LOMA as CFO

LL Global, parent organization for LIMRA, LOMA and Secure Retirement Institute®, announced Janine Epright joined the company as chief financial officer.

Etchison Joins AmeriLife as Vice President, Medicare Supplement and Specialty Health

AmeriLife Group  announced that Greg Etchison has joined the organization as vice president, Medicare Supplement and Specialty Health.


  • NAIFA Zoom Happy Hour, Thursday, July 15, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.”SUCCESSFUL PARTNERING=POWER PARTNERING” Register here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, in person in San Diego, August 16-18. Save 15% with promo code RIGHTPLAN. Agenda here, register here.
  • 9th Annual Senior Summit: Chart Your Course and Navigate Into the Future, in person at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, August 31-September 2. Online registration is open through August 19. Register here.
  • California State Medicare Expo: Unmasking Medicare, virtual, August 26-27. Register here.
  • American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, National Medicare Supplement Insurance Industry Summit, Sept 8-10, in person at Schaumburg Convention Center, Chicago area. Info here.
  • SIIA 41st Annual National Educational Conference & Expo, In-Person & Virtual, October 3 – 5, JW Marriott, Austin, TX. Info here.


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