Lara Tells Insurers They Owe Consumers a Refund

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has issued a notice to health insurance and specialized health insurance companies, urging that they issue refunds back to their policy holders because consumers largely refrained from seeking medical care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting “stay-at-home” orders by state and local public health officers. Savings from the months’ long deferral of medical care and treatment for ailments unrelated to COVID-19 has resulted in record net profits this year for health insurance companies and specialized health insurance companies, such as dental insurance plans.

The commissioner’s notice asks health insurance companies to provide premium refunds on either the November 2020 or December 2020 consumer statements in the form of a refund, credit, premium reduction, or other adjustment. Specialized health insurance policies, such as dental insurance, that have a maximum annual benefit may also comply with this request by increasing the 2021 annual benefit by a percentage equal to the period during which covered services were not available during 2020. For example, as dental practices were essentially closed for a quarter of calendar year 2020, the 2021 maximum benefit would be increased by at least 25 percent.

HEALTH

Anthem Blue Cross Introduces New Option for Bay Area Consumers and Employer Groups

Anthem announced its introducing Blue Connection, a new health plan option designed specifically to meet the evolving healthcare needs of Bay Area businesses and their employees. Designed with the member-provider experience in mind, the new health plan option offers a suite of comprehensive digital services including a user-friendly interface to help select a primary care physician, online timely appointment scheduling for office visits, and follow-up care with specialists both digitally and telephonically. For employers, Blue Connection offers up to 25 percent savings compared to Anthem’s standard PPO. In addition to cost savings, Blue Connection offers integrated pharmacy benefits through IngenioRx and access to Sydney Health, Anthem’s new artificial intelligence personal health assistant app. Offered as an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO), Blue Connection includes direct access to more than 3,500 high-quality doctors and healthcare professionals across the Bay Area, including more than 2,500 behavioral health providers. Anthem has joined forces with leading providers including Hill Physicians, Dignity Health, John Muir Health, MarinHealth, and Santa Clara County IPA.

NAHU Has a New Power Hour!

National Association of Health Underwriters has started a virtual social event that will happen monthly on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 4pm Pacific.  It’s called NAHU Power Hour. We heard the first one had a great turnout!  NAHU organizers hope this virtual event can be a way for members and nonmembers to connect and get a feel for what NAHU does for the industry. It’s also a great way to network with folks across the country.

COVID

Survey: 4 IN 5 Still Experiencing COVID Financial Stress

According to a new survey released today by the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®), over four in five (84 percent) Americans say the COVID-19 outbreak is causing stress on their personal finances right now. Although slightly down from 88 percent when NEFE first issued the survey in April, many Americans express little to no relief on the amount of financial stress they are currently experiencing. More than half (55 percent) of Americans say among the top five things causing the most financial stress right now is not having enough saved (e.g., emergency savings, retirement, college savings), while almost half (46 percent) of Americans say their ability to pay bills (e.g., housing, utilities, health care) are among their top financial stressors.

Three in 10 (30 percent) Americans say one of their top financial stressors is paying down/paying off debt (e.g., credit cards, loans), 24 percent say income fluctuations and 20 percent are stressed about financial market volatility. The survey suggests Americans are feeling less financial stress about job security than debt or the amount of savings that they have. One third (33 percent) of employed Americans say job security is among their top financial stressors, down from 39 percent in the April release of the survey.

NAAIA Offers 3-Part COVID Series

The National African American Insurance Association is offering a three-part series. COVID-19: Where do we go from here? (Great question, we might add!). The series begins October 20.

Register for the P&C presentation here.

Register for employee benefits presentation here.

Register for the worker’s comp presentation here.

 

MEDICARE

Latest Data Reveals What Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Seniors Are Buying

A new report reveals Medicare Supplement insurance choices being made by seniors turning age 65.  Our pals at American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance sent us the study by CSG Actuarial.  According to the CSG Actuarial analysis of 2020 sales, Medigap Plan G is the overwhelming choice.  Some 66% of individuals turning 65 and becoming eligible for Medicare benefits chose this option.  Plan N was the second most-popular plan choice with 18% of new applicants. Plans A & B by two (2) percent with the balance allocated among other available choices and options. The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance (AAMSI) makes available a free online directory of local Medicare insurance agents.  The resource can be accessed at www.medicaresupp.org/agents.

LIFE

Leaders to Talk About Diversity and Inclusion at LIMRA’s 2020 Virtual Annual Conference

LIMRA, calling diversity and inclusion business imperatives for every industry, is hosting an executive panel titled, Diversity and Inclusion: Leading the Change at its 2020 Virtual Annual Conference on Oct. 26-28.

Moderated by Michael Hyter, chief diversity officer at Korn Ferry, this panel will address racial and gender diversity in the financial services industry. Lorraine Hariton, president and chief executive officer, Catalyst; George Nichols, president and chief executive officer, The American College of Financial Services; and Tim Ryan, U.S. chair and senior partner, PwC, will discuss why diversity matters in today’s business environment. More info here.

EVENTS

  • LAAHU’s Zoom Happy Hour is the first Wednesday of the month from 4-5p.m. Members and nonmembers welcome. Register here.
  • NAHU Power Hour, 4th Wednesday of the month from 4-5p.m. Pacific. Members and nonmembers welcome. Register here.
  • IICF Foundation Women in Insurance Regional Forums Rescheduled

Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation has rescheduled the Women in Insurance Regional Forums:

Chicago: October 14
New York: October 26

Los Angeles: October 30
Dallas: November 17
More info at IICF’s website.

  • IICF Inclusion in Insurance Forum, Virtual, October 27 – 29

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation will convene insurance professionals, C-Suite executives, D&I leaders and other innovators for the IICF Inclusion in Insurance Forum, an action-oriented program with a focus on the future of work in the insurance industry. Gain insights and plans for acting on inclusion, diversity and innovation initiatives from respected leaders representing the industry, academia and other areas of business. Each virtual session will run approximately 2-1/2 hours, starting at 9a.m. Pacific.Register here.

  • NAIC Fall National Meeting, Virtual, Dec 3-9

The agenda for the 2020 NAIC Fall National Meeting is now available. The schedule includes interactive sessions, as well as a special session that will be held by The Center for Insurance Policy and Research (CIPR). Meeting registration opened September 25, and the registration fee is $495. As a reminder, unused registration fee credits received from the cancelled 2020 Spring National Meeting may be applied to the registration fees for the 2020 Fall National Meeting. Register here.

  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit will now be April 7-9, 2021!

The latest news from CAHU’s WLS committee is that the CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit will now take place April 7 –9, 2021, at Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas. Questions should be emailed to info@cahu.org.