Covered Cal Says New Policies Worked

Covered California announced that 418,052 people had newly selected a health plan for 2020 during the most recent open-enrollment period. The total is more than 122,000, or 41 percent, higher than last year’s figure of 295,980. The increase comes after the state of California instituted two key policies designed to encourage more people to become insured: reinstituting a penalty for those going without coverage, which had been lowered to zero by federal action in 2019, and adding state subsidies to build on and go beyond the Affordable Care Act’s financial help. Watch this video for comments by Covered Cal’s Peter Lee.

DMHC Is Extending Invitations — Be There or Be Square

We just received an invitation from DMHC that reads like this:

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) invites you to a public meeting on large group aggregate rates as required by Senate Bill (SB) 546 (Leno, Chapter 801, Statutes of 2015) and on prescription drug cost transparency pursuant to SB 17 (Hernandez, Chapter 603, Statutes of 2017).

Who could refuse such a charming invite, right?  You can even preview the agenda for the meeting.

What to Watch

Nothing is better than a TedTalk when you don’t want to work (but want to seem like you are –sort of): 10 TED Talks Advisors Recommend. Thank you, Ginger Szala from ThinkAdvisor.

FACC Announces Support of NAIC Model Reg

The Fixed Annuity Consumer Choice Campaign (FACC), which previously resisted a best interest standard for annuity sales, announced it will support amendments to the Suitability in Annuity Transactions model regulation formally passed last week by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).  The NAIC executive and plenary committees met in joint session on recently incorporate a best interest standard into existing model suitability laws. The new regulations require agents to act in the best interest of consumers by satisfying specific obligations categorized as care, disclosure, conflict of interest, and documentation.  The regulations establish criteria for compliance with each obligation including creation of a new template for disclosure of information such as agent relationship and source of compensation.  The regulations specify insurers are responsible for supervision.


Anthem Blue Cross Investments to Create a Healthier California Exceed $400 Million

Anthem Blue Cross informed us of an important milestone:

Since 2005, Anthem has been directing funds through the Investment in a Healthy California Program (IHCP) to assist rural and urban healthcare facilities across the state to secure capital for construction, renovation and sustainability projects that strengthen their ability to support vulnerable communities.

Anthem’s investment totaled over $34 million in 2019, bringing its level of support for the program to more than $400 million.

Thank you, Anthem!

UnitedHealthcare Helps Confront the Opioid Epidemic  with New Oral Health Public Toolkit

UnitedHealthcare announced it has expanded its efforts to help address the connection between dental care and the opioid epidemic. UnitedHealthcare introduced a public toolkit with information to help support oral health care professionals and patients, especially after wisdom-teeth removal for teens and young adults. The toolkit available here provides information for oral health professionals and all consumers, including an educational flyer with commonly asked questions related to opioids and a checklist to help people better understand pain-management options before and after wisdom-teeth removal. The toolkit builds upon a companywide approach to address the epidemic from all angles, including dental care. This comprehensive approach includes a pharmacy policy, outreach to dental health professionals and plan participants, along with TV and radio public service announcements (PSAs). Taken together, the company says these efforts to date have resulted in an 89% reduction in opioid prescriptions above federal guidelines written by network dental health professionals for UnitedHealthcare dental plan participants age 19 and under. More info here about what UnitedHealthcare is doing to address the opioid epidemic.


Trusted American Insurance Agency Offers Websites to All Medicare Agents

Take notice, Medicare agents! California-based Trusted American Insurance Agency announced it is offering professional website services to all independent agents who specialize in Medicare health insurance. Trusted American says its offering their professional services to any Medicare market broker in need of establishing an online presence. More info here.


LOMA Announces Board

The LOMA Life Insurers Council  announced that Susan A. Thomas, president and CEO of Texas Service Life Insurance Company, will serve as the new Board of Directors Chair for 2020. Thomas joined the LIC Board of Directors in 2017. She succeeds Mark Singleton, president and CEO of Armed Forces Benefit Association/5Star Life Insurance Company, who will continue on the LIC Board as Immediate Past Chair. Byron Allen, president and CEO of American Savings Life Insurance Company was elected as LIC Vice Chair and Francois Duguay, FCIA, FSA, senior vice president of risk management and chief actuary of Optimum Re, as LIC Secretary for 2020.

Two new members joined the LIC Board of Directors:

  • Alan Jahde, JD, LL.M, CEO, Investors Preferred Life Insurance Company
  • Greg Temple, president and CEO, Catholic Order of Foresters

Continuing LIC Board members are:

  • Dan Acker, president, Equitable Life and Casualty Insurance Company
  • Peter Hennessey IV, FLMI, LLIF, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Government Personnel Mutual Life Insurance Company
  • Steven S. Lobell, CLU, chairman, president and CEO, American Home Life Insurance Company
  • Tony Mravle, CEO, KSKJ Life, American Slovenian Catholic Union
  • Brad Phillips, president, Liberty Bankers Insurance Group
  • Tammy Schultz, FLMI, executive vice president and president of Global Preneed Business, American Memorial Life/Assurant
  • Steve Shaffer, president and CEO, Homesteaders Life Company

Effective Health Systems Appoints Leal Chief Product Officer

Effective Health Systems  announced the appointment of Fanny Leal as chief product officer. Leal has over a decade of progressive experience in healthcare, government and financial services.


  • OCAHU 8th Annual Business Development Summit– We’ll see you here!
    February 28, DoubleTree by Hilton-Anaheim/Orange County,  info here.
    or contact: Gail James Clarke (714) 441-8951, ext.3, email:
  • The 29th Annual IEAHU Symposium, March 10, Riverside Convention Center– We’ll see you here!
    Email Inland Empire Association of Health Underwriters for more info:
  • Employee Benefits Planning Association, 2020 Employee Benefits Summit, March 13, Omni Los Angeles, more info here.


  • SIIA Self-Insured Health Plan Executive Forum
    March 16-18, Charleston, SC. More info here.
  • CAHU Women’s Leadership Conference,
    March 25-27
    JW Marriott Resort&Spa, Las Vegas- We’ll see you here!
    More info at
  • April 6-7
    The Notary Hotel, Autograph Collection
    Philadelphia, PA
  • The Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) Business Expo, Wednesday, April 15, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Citrus Heights Community Center. To buy tickets, contact  For information, go here.
  • SIIA Washington, DC Fly-In (Meet Your Members of Congress)
    April 21-22,
    Washington, DC
  • LAAHU Annual Symposium- We’ll see you here!
    April 22, Skirball Center, Los Angeles, info and registration here.
  • Golden Gate Association of Health Underwriters (GGAHU) Annual Sales Symposium, April 23, Crowne Plaza Concord/Walnut Creek, info and registration here.
  • Desert Cities Association of Health Underwriters (DCAHU), May 14, Palm Valley Country Club, info and registration here.

  • The 16th Annual BenefitsPRO Broker Expo
    May 18-20 Hilton Austin in Austin, TX.
  • NorCal Medicare Senior Summit– August date and more info soon!
  • SIIA National Conference & Expo
    October 11-13
    JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
    Phoenix, AZ
    Registration will be open in April
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