Leaders Need Self Care, Too!

Well Being, Curiosity and Openness Essential to Inspire Others

Taking care of yourself gives you more energy to lead others. Makes sense ­— right? If you need evidence, take a quick look at a post from leadership experts Dennis O’Neil and Greg Hiebert. Once you take the first step to address improving your physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual wellbeing, they say, an upward spiral is inevitable, enabling you to do all the things that great leaders must do.

“What activities in your life elicit positive emotion? What two-minute activities could you do throughout the day that would help feed your positive energy? Whatever activities bring you happiness are the ones you should incorporate into your day.”

~ Dr. Dennis O’Neil & Greg Hiebert


How are you feeling? Hartford Study Shows Depressed Employees Affect Not Only Themselves, but Company Profits

The Hartford’s study reveals 71% of employers feel the deteriorating mental health of their workforce is having a negative financial impact on the company.

Compounding the situation, as employers’ productivity-related concerns grew, the number of employee assistance programs, wellness benefits and addiction treatment programs being offered by employers fell between 2020 to 2022.

“Our data shows an undeniable, direct correlation between employee mental well-being, mental health support, and the impact to a company’s bottom line,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift. “Employers who want a contemporary, inclusive workplace that supports its people should proactively invest in mental health, with an eye to empathy and equity. The need is real, and the time is now.”

Once Upon A Time There Was a Pandemic … How children continue to suffer

Brightline has seen a 640% increase in demand for their services in behavioral health coaching. They specialize in helping parents find more intensive mental health resources for their children. Naomi Allen, founder and CEO of Brightline, shares an update on pediatric mental health and the increasing support employees need for their kids.


It’s about time emphasis was on Simpler and AFFORDABLE in New ACA Rules

CMS released the final notice of benefit and payment standards for Affordable Care Act plans for the 2023 plan year. The rule helps simplify the consumer shopping experience by establishing standardized plan options for issuers offering qualified health plans.

All health insurance providers using state or federal ACA exchanges are REQUIRED to offer standardized plan options at every metal level, network type and service area starting next year to make it easier for consumers to compare plans.

ACA covers  record 35 million-plus Americans – can it last?

More Americans than ever before have health coverage — thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which is helping the nation’s uninsured rate reach near record lows. These gains could start dissolving as early as this summer if the nation’s public health emergency is not renewed again. States can resume disenrolling Medicaid beneficiaries who no longer qualify for coverage, a practice that was halted during the pandemic.

Also, the enhanced federal subsidies for Obamacare policies, which have drawn more Americans to the exchanges, are set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts.

Keeping People Covered is the Name of the ACA game…

When Health Emergency Ends, ACA Marketplaces Positioned to Keep People Covered

Up to 16 million people who stand to lose their Medicaid coverage will look to the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces to serve as a critical safety net once the federal government declares the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Many people are likely to fall through the cracks, potentially undoing some of the historic coverage gains achieved during the pandemic. Federal and state-run marketplaces can take steps to help preserve those gains.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, “there is considerable evidence that the time and effort required for consumers to apply for and select health plans serve as barriers to enrollment. The New England Journal of Medicine credits California’s SBM, Covered California, for preventing coverage loss with a soon to be rolled out a program to automatically enroll individuals who lose Medicaid coverage into zero-premium marketplace plans, with consent.


How Many Californians Will Need Long Term Care – and Who Will Foot the Bill?

The California Long Term Care Insurance Task Force has been meeting to sketch out a program that could involve a combination of government funding, enrollee premiums and private LTCI coverage. The Department of Insurance panel is trying to develop a new long-term care insurance program — without duplicating the problems that crippled Washington state’s LTCI program launch.


Are Your Medicare Clients Using Their Home Health Benefits?

Many people with long-term, debilitating conditions could be helped by Medicare’s home health benefit. Many services can help to improve, maintain, or slow health declines. Home health coverage is available even if services are expected to continue over a long period. Medicare law authorizes up to 28 to 35 hours per week of home health aide and nursing services combined, as well as therapies and medical social services.

Consumers misunderstanding what is covered, complicated by changes in Medicare payment and regulations that have greatly restricted use of the benefit. The Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Judith Stein and David Lipschutz discuss what the home health benefit offers, who is eligible, and why services are so underused.

Third-Party Marketing Org Rules Added to New Medicare Plan Regs

As reported by Thinkadvisor.com, all firms involved in lead generation, marketing sales and enrollment will all be considered Third-Party Marketing Organizations (TPMOs.)

In the new regulations, CMS defines any organization that is paid to “perform lead generation, marketing, sales and enrollment-related functions as a part of the chain of enrollment” in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan as a TPMO.

Are Medicare Advantage Plans Actually Denying Benefits? What’s the Advantage there??

A federal investigation reported by the New York Times found that Medicare Advantage plans often deny beneficiaries needed care. Greater oversight is of these private insurance plans is called for, which have seen increasing enrollment and now cover some 28 million Americans. The Commonwealth Fund partnered with Arnold Ventures to publish a series of blog posts taking stock of the Medicare Advantage program, including one that examined private plans’ use of prior authorization and other utilization management techniques.


Don’t Rush it! Without Resilient Safety Net, Pandemic Won’t End

“Having safety nets becomes really important,” says Celine Gounder, M.D., Senior Fellow and Editor-at-Large for Public Health at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Kaiser Health News. Measures like improved indoor air quality, paid sick and family medical leave, and better access to health insurance would help control the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic.

On The Dose podcast, Dr. Gounder, M.D., talks about why people without privilege — like those who are poor or uninsured and many people of color — will be hit the hardest if we rush to return to normal.


Health Care Sector Adds to Climate Crisis – I say, WHAT?

Most agree that climate change is a threat to physical and mental health. But how in the world does health care, a sector dedicated to improving people’s health, actually add to the problem?

The Commonwealth Fund did extensive research to answer that question.

According to the research, the health care sector worldwide is responsible for as much as 4.6 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Within the United States, it’s responsible for an even larger proportion — 8.5 percent.”


Brian Sullivan receives LAAHU 2022 Paladin Award

BenefitMall’s Market Director for Southern California Brian Sullivan, received the prestigious 2022 Paladin Award from the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters (LAAHU). The award recognizes leadership over time and service to the benefits industry. This is the first time the award has been presented since 2018.

The Paladin Award goes to the  member who most:
• Contributed “directly” to the Association
• Provided service or assistance to others within the Association and or industry
• Acted as a leader or coach who challenged others to aspire to a greater goal or understanding
• Provided leadership, coaching or assistance in more than one discipline (education, legislation, marketing, sales, etc.)
• Provided leadership over a period of time indicating a long term commitment

Changing of the Guard at California Broker 

It’s me – Linda Hubbard Lalande! I’m assuming the role of EDITOR in Victoria Alexander’s stead for Insider News Wednesday e-blast, and our monthly print magazine. Reach me at Linda.calbrokermag@gmail.com or 818-730-2943. Send in your events, personnel announcements, and story ideas – we are always looking for expert authors. Come say hello in person on May 10 at the Sacramento CAHIP Capital Summit.


  • NAIFA LA & WIFS host “What Is The EBSA And What Does It Do? Learn About This Agency” on Zoom, Thursday, May 5, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm PST. Register here.
  • CAHIP’s Capitol Summit, in person, May 9-11, Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, Sacramento. Registration info here.
  • CalCPA Invites NAIFA-Los Angeles to a Dodgers Game! Thursday May 12. Contact Cynthia.rodriguez@calcpa.org or 818-546-3554.
  • LIMRA/Society of Actuaries Secure Retirement Institute Retirement Industry Conference, in person, May 11-13, Boston. Info here.
  • GGAHU Annual Symposium‘Day on the Bay’, in person — on a boat!, May 12. Info here.
  • NAAIA Spring Career Fair, online, May 24, 11am-1:30pm Pacific. Info here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, in person, May 23-25, Austin, TX. Info here. Register here.
  • NAFA 2022 Annuity Leadership Forum, in person, June 13-14, Washington, DC. Info here.
  • IEAHU, OCAHU & SDAHU Senior Summit, in person, Aug 23-25, Pechanga resort, Temecula. Register here.