Large Group Health – Do You Have Your Survey In?

The deadline is fast approaching to participate in the Large Group View From the Top. Contact Thora Madden immediately if you need a deadline extension or if you have any questions: By the way, did you see that the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the number of companies offering health insurance has ticked up for the first time since 2008? Read more here. 


Self-Insurance Surprises
About 60 percent of people with employer-paid health benefits are covered by self-insured plans. Of course, you know how a client’s plan is structured, but be aware that many of their employees don’t understand it. One problem is that certain state protections – laws against balance billing and surprise bills, for example—don’t include self insured plans because the plans are regulated by federal rather than state law. Kaiser Health News has an article up about how a teacher in Austin found out the hard way.

Get Ready for Millennial Rule
By 2019, millennials will number 73 million, and will have taken over the boomers as America’s largest living generation. Meanwhile, in 2016 millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force and will soon eclipse boomers as comprising the majority of the U.S. electorate. Yes, millennials are about to rule. That’s why Cake & Arrow, a customer experience design agency that designs and builds digital products for the insurance industry, recently published Insurance & Millennials: A Coming of Age, a white paper based upon the results of a survey of over 300 millennials exploring the mindsets, values and behaviors of millennials– using Pew Research’s definition of those born between the years 1981 and 1996. You can download a free copy of the paper here. 


A 1980s Invention –LTC Hospitals—Under Fire
A National Bureau of Economic Research study released Monday found that despite being reimbursed at much higher rates than skilled nursing facilities and home healthcare providers, long-term care hospitals don’t produce better outcomes in three important areas: They don’t reduce mortality or length of stay and they leave patients with higher out-of-pocket costs. That’s why a trio of economists says we need to get rid of higher payments to long-term care hospitals. The suggested change, written about this week in Modern Healthcare, should save taxpayers about $4.6 billion per year. More than 70 percent of long-term care hospitals are for-profit, and the report said the largest such providers — Kindred Healthcare and Select Medical — have reported profit margins between 16 percent and 29 percent. Meanwhile, folks in the hospital business says the study is flawed.


Lower Drug Prices Easy as 1-2-3
Ever wonder how we’re going to get prescription drug costs under control? Well, bloggers for the Commonwealth Fund have it all figured out!  It boils down to a three-step plan based on an international approach:

  1. Other developed countries build market power by aggregating their purchasing to gain negotiating leverage with drug companies
  2. Second, other countries use an authoritative group of experts to systematically assess the value of individual drugs, using the best available information on benefits and expenses.
  3. With value assessments in hand, other countries enter a negotiating process and stand behind it.

Read the whole post at The Commonwealth Fund.


Life Insurance Owners Are Optimists – And Other Fun Facts
Life insurance awareness month kicks off in a couple of days. Just in time for some good ol’ life insurance consumer research. Now this may be counterintuitive, but nonetheless interesting: new research from AIG reveals that 56 percent of life insurance owners are optimists, while only 48 percent of people who don’t have life insurance are optimists. For purposes of the research, optimists were identified by their level of agreement with a battery of statements such as “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best,” “I’m always optimistic about my future,” and “Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.” Sound like optimists to us. Unfortunately, AIG also found that only 53 percent of U.S. consumers ages 21-64 own life insurance.

Other life insurance fun facts from AIG research:

  • Among consumers who do not participate in a group retirement plan, those who own an individual retirement plan, such as an IRA, are most likely to own life insurance. Of these consumers with individual retirement plans, 64 percent also own life insurance, while only 37 percent of consumers who do not own individual retirement plans own life insurance.
  • Life insurance owners are older and more affluent than non-owners. The median age of life insurance owners is 43, versus 39 for non-owners, and the median annual income of life insurance owners is $88,000, versus $70,000 for non-owners.
  • Also, life insurance owners are more likely than non-owners to work full time (71 percent versus 60 percent), be homeowners (76 percent versus 64 percent) and be married (64 percent versus 53 percent).

What does this mean for you? Younger, less affluent consumers are underserved when it comes to life insurance. Of course.

And In Case You Haven’t Had Enough…
LendEDU also recently released a life insurance survey. Here are a few key findings from that research:

  • Among insurance policy holders, 33 percent indicated that they don’t fully understand their life insurance policy.
  • Amongst policy-holders, 38 percent have a term-life policy, 41 percent have a whole-life, and 20 percent are not sure which policy they have.
  • Amongst respondents that were also repaying student loan debt, 65 percent would rather have their employer provide an equally valuable monthly student loan payment, while 30 percent opted for the equally valuable free life insurance policy provided by their employer

More insights here.


Ruff Named SVP at Aflac
Aflac Incorporated announced today that Robert R. Ruff has been named senior vice president of Strategic Growth, reporting to Richard L. Williams Jr., executive vice president and chief distribution officer. In this new role, Ruff is responsible for executing on growth initiatives including product strategies, business development and market development, as well as leading key management activities and collaboration within U.S. operations.

Ruff brings more than a decade of leadership experience in the employee benefits industry to Aflac. For the past three years, he served as vice president of Core Market Underwriting at Unum.

California Broker’s Zdroik Joins Dickerson
This is the last week for Cal Broker’s beloved art and digital director Steve Zdroik. After a couple of decades dealing with the CB crew, Steve will be joining L.A.’s Dickerson Insurance Services as a marketing director. Oh, Dickerson, you are so lucky to have him!


Oscar Broker Events

September 6 (Costa Mesa),7 (Warner Center, Woodland Hills) & 13 (Skirball Center, L.A.)

In June, Oscar launched small group products. For Q4, the company is positioned for growth. Also, Oscar is committed to serving and growing the individual market. Learn what the company is doing to help you grow your IFP business, on and off-exchange.  Ask your small group GA, or register here for one of the three dates.

CAHU Foundation Gala
September 14, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego
Please join CAHU for a Masquerade Gala to revitalize the CAHU Foundation. Festivities begin at 5:30pm at the famous Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Formal attire is requested.  Gala tickets and hotel reservations can be purchased here. Or call (800) 322-5934.  More info at the CAHU Foundation website. 

DCAHU 2nd annual Medicare Summit

Thursday, September 20, 8:30am – 2:30pm

Villa Portofino Clubhouse, 4001 Via Portofino, Palm Desert

Hear Ryan Dorigan from Applied General Agency at 11:30am speak on working with providers and medical groups and Margaret Stedt at 1pm discuss helping your senior clients maximize their drug plan and options. 2 CEs available.

Advance tickets $30 or $60 at the door. More info and registration here.

LAAHU and VCAHU Medicare Summit
September 20-21, Pickwick Gardens Conference Center, Burbank
September 20- certifications and product training (including SCAN)
September 21- C.E. Courses and breakout sessions! Theme is “Get Ready to Rock and Roll with Medicare.” Click here to register.

IICF Week of Giving 2018: October 13-20
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation announced the 2018 Week of Giving will be October 13-20. Registration for nonprofits and volunteers is now open. Check out IICF Week of Giving for more info. 

November 1-3, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
Detailed information about NAILBA 37 will be available soon. Exhibit hall and sponsorship opportunities available here.  Or contact for more info.


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