Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the current administration is changing tacks when it comes to vaccine distribution. The new guidance coming from the top is that states that are acting quickly to get shots in arms and states that have more people over age 65 will be prioritized. Furthermore, Azar says the administration is now changing strategies when it comes to who should be eligible to get vaccinated. The latest news is that they want anyone age 65 and older, regardless of underlying health conditions, as well as anyone under age 65 with an underlying condition to be immediately eligible. The administration will also release second doses of the vaccines it had been holding in reserve, in an effort to double the number of doses available. Azar said states have two weeks to prepare for the change, though he noted that his team has not spoken about the change with the incoming Biden Administration. State and local officials are already struggling to implement previous strategy and it’s unclear whether or not changes will ease burdens or add more confusion.
What Are Insurers Covering?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act from March 2020 meant insurers had to offer free coronavirus testing to Medicaid beneficiaries and group health members. But many insurers went further by eliminating cost-sharing for testing and treatment for all plan participants for a specific time period. If you want an update on what Aetna, Blue Cross and Cigna say they are doing now, read this story from Health Payer.
California Dentists Can Help with COVID-19 Vaccines
The Department of Consumer Affairs recently approved a public health emergency waiver that will allow our state’s 36,000 dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines to people age 16 and older. This would most likely occur at hospital settings, clinics and vaccination sites that are expected to be set up to meet the demand for the vaccine. The California Dental Association applauded the move and says California dentists are ready to go. Dentists are already trained to provide injections in objectively more complex areas of the mouth that commonly have gag reflexes, major blood vessels, nerves and a moving tongue, according to the CDA. The recent DCA waiver establishes the necessary training dentists must complete through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is specific to vaccine administration, contraindications and adverse reactions.
Jan. 6 Impact
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association announced that its political action committee will suspend contributions to lawmakers who voted to challenge the U.S. presidential Electoral College results. Now America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) says it will be rethinking how it handles contributions to political candidates in light of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Read more at Think Advisor. By the way, guess who will incur the cost of the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol? If you said taxpayers, you’re correct. That’s because, experts point out, federal property is self-insured.
LAAHU MLK Diversity & Inclusion Event
LAAHU is having a special breakfast hour of power on January 19 in the spirit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event is from 8:30-10 a.m. via Zoom. Register here. Scroll to the bottom of this e-newsletter for more events!
Aflac Now Offers Dental and Vision Insurance
Aflac announced the national launch of Aflac Dental and Vision Insurance, the company’s expansion into offering products based on a provider network. The national expansion into network dental and vision means Aflac is offering employers and consumers an expanded value proposition, while also providing associates and broker partners the tools they need to bring the most comprehensive set of products to a very competitive marketplace, says Aflac President of Group Benefits Rich Williams. The new dental and vision coverage, available for businesses with as few as three employees in many locations, features a streamlined underwriting process, more than 100 easy-to-understand and fully customizable plans, and upfront rates. Aflac Dental and Aflac Vision are both available in California. More info at Aflac.com/NetworkDental and Aflac.com/NetworkVision.
Answer 3 Questions and Get a Free E-Book!
You’d really be helping out OCAHU member Phil Calhoun if you’d answer this three-question survey about commissions. Phil is writing about protecting, growing and selling commissions for Cal Broker this year and he’s planning to offer CE courses and boot camps for brokers. You can remain anonymous with the survey or you can share your email and receive a link for a free e-book. You may also be included in a drawing to receive a copy of “The Health Brokers Guide to: Protect, Grow and Sell Commissions” by Phil Calhoun. Go here for the survey. Thanks!
- 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.
- LAAHU’s Luncheon Webinar – Breaking through the vaccine barrier: everything you need to know about vaccine availability in L.A. County, Virtual, Jan 21, noon-1:30pm. Register here.
- ASCEND 2021, Join NextGen Benefits advisers, solution experts & peers, Virtual, Jan. 20-22. Register here.
- NAIFA-Los Angeles 68th Annual Will G. Farrell Award & Leadership Recognition Event, Virtual, Feb. 18. More info here.
- CAHU Women’s Leadership Summit, Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas, April 7-9. Email questions to email@example.com.