Daily Insurance Report    Walt Bernard Podgurski
Daily Insurance Report  
Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com

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Editorial Mission Statement: The goal of this publication is to provide readers a broad selection of what is being written about the insurance industry and related issues. Some articles may have a “tilt” towards a particular perspective one way or another. Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of any views or content; but report the various and differing views appearing in media.
  Daily Insurance ReportMonday, 07/3027/18
www.DailyInsuranceReport.com 






Labor Dept. Health Rule Faces Legal Challenge From 12 States
By Madison Alder / Bloomberg
The Labor Department violated federal rulemaking procedures when it expanded small business access to group health insurance, 12 state attorneys general allege in a challenge to the agency’s regulation.
New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who lead the coalition of attorneys general, filed the complaint July 26 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The final rule also violates the Affordable Care Act and federal employee benefits law, they allege.
They say it is an attempt by the Trump administration to dismantle the ACA.
The lawsuit comes a month after the DOL published its final regulation for association health plans. The regulation changed the definition of “employer” to allow more small employers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, to band together in associations by industry or geography and create large group health plans.
The rule sped through the rulemaking process after President Donald Trump requested the agency explore opening access to the plans in an October 2017 executive order.
The Labor Department, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and the U.S. are all named defendants.


Life after the individual mandate
Repealing the worst part of 'Obamacare' has unleashed a wave of health care reform
Iowans are quickly finding out about health care in a post-Obamacare world.
Federal and state governments have chipped away at the 2010 law for years, with the pace picking up in 2017 when Republicans took full control of the federal government. President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing agencies to wind down the Obama-era regulations, and Congress passed a bill repealing some portions of the Affordable Care Act.
Supporters of the reforms say they will give health care consumers more options, while critics say they will make it more difficult to provide care for the neediest Americans. They both may be right.
Iowa is at the forefront in part of the movement to sidestep the ACA. Lawmakers passed legislation this year to allow the Farm Bureau to offer limited health plans with fewer benefits. Such services are sold outside the regulatory structure imposed by the Obama administration.
A report published this month by the left-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities singled out Iowa for what it calls “skimpy health plans” targeted at uninsured farmers, which the group says are “inadequate and unaffordable.”
The Trump administration is also easing restrictions on other health coverage products, like short-term plans and association health plans, which do not adhere to ACA standards.
And perhaps most important of all, Congress repealed the individual mandate as part of the tax cut package Trump signed into law at the end of 2017. That part of the ACA required all Americans to have health insurance or face a steep tax penalty. Architects of the ACA said it was crucial, since their plan relied on mandating everyone to participate in the government-regulated health insurance system.


What the ACA means for today’s advisers and employers
By Perry Braun / Employee Benefit Adviser
We all know that advisers and employers do not like uncertainty in their business plans. It makes it hard to develop a strategy and run any business.
Since 2010 with the full-throated implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) it is apparent that the one constant during the summer months is that advisers and employers spend a tremendous amount of time and energy attempting to understand how to adjust to the future. As advisers and employers begin their process of planning, budgeting, and forecasting employee benefit program costs for the remainder of 2018 and 2019, it appears we are yet again filled with uncertainty.
There appears to be yet another legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA. With the recent addition of three Midwestern states signing on to Texas’s challenge this now results in 20 states challenging the constitutionality of the law. At issue is the Individual Mandate Penalty. The theory is that implementation of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the penalty associated with the Individual Mandate. With the elimination of the Individual Mandate, the Supreme Court decided on a 5-4 basis that the penalty tax is not applicable.
What does this mean for the remaining elements of the ACA? What does this mean to employers? It means that the potential exists for another round of legal challenges, and this creates uncertainty, which creates challenges for employers to plan in the future.


A single-payer system will cause the health care sector to implode
Jonathan Yates, Iowa View contributor / Des Moines Register
A single-payer system will cause the health care sector to implode, with profound implications for Iowa, the United States and the world's economy.
Health care is the largest component of the American economy, about one-sixth of gross domestic product. Forcing the health care system in the United States, the best in the history of the world, to be socialized will have profound implications. The government will immediately be put in a position of having higher expenses and less revenues. With health insurance companies gone, so will the tens of billions in tax dollars paid to local, state, and federal government from these entities.
This will most certainly not be compensated for by reduced government spending. Rarely in history has a government program reduced spending, especially in health care.
In addition to wrecking the government budget, a single-payer system would destroy the stock, bond and commercial real estate markets. Insurance firms are major investors in the financial markets. Taking away the insurance companies would eviscerate the financial markets.
The same would happen with salaries for health care professionals such as doctors and nurses. Doctors in Canada, England and France make a fraction of those in America..


Willis Towers Watson fails to win temporary restraining order in Alliant feud
Gavin Souter / BUSINESS INSURANCE
Willis Towers Watson Agents & Brokers Construction Employment Practices General liability
A federal judge Thursday denied a Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. unit’s petition for a temporary restraining order against Brent Hartman, a construction insurance broker, and rival Alliant Insurance Services Inc., which Mr. Hartman joined last week.
The ruling is part of a growing legal fight between the two brokerage firms that was sparked when Alliant swooped in to recruit several construction brokers earlier this month.
A judge in Georgia is due to hold a separate hearing in a related case next week.
In a filing in U.S. District Court in Florida on Wednesday, Willis Towers Watson sought unspecified compensatory damages and a temporary restraining order barring Mr. Hartman and Alliant from soliciting Willis Towers Watson clients and from Mr. Hartman working for Alliant until he had served out a 15-day notice period.
The complaint, filed by Willis Towers Watson unit Willis Insurance Services of Georgia Inc., alleges that Newport Beach, California-based Alliant is attempting “to decimate at a nationwide level Willis’s construction industry practice group.”


Alliant Acquires CLS Partners
Texas-based employee benefits and risk management consultant infuses new innovation into Alliant’s growing national platform
(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alliant has added one of Texas’ foremost names in employee benefits and risk management consulting to its growing national platform with the acquisition of CLS Partners. The Austin-based firm brings a proven track record of innovation and a talented team of more than 50 professionals to Alliant, bolstering the firm’s presence in the Lone Star State and continuing its national expansion.


‘I wouldn’t have been homeless if I had benefits.’ Gig economy workers demand better protections
BY MONICA NICKELSBURG / GeekWire
Of the six workers who gathered to share their experiences in the gig economy at a Seattle event last week, two had experienced homelessness in the past few years. They agreed it might have been avoidable if they had more protection from the on-demand services they worked for.
The panelists shared their stories at “Gig Workers Speak Out,” an event organized by the labor advocacy group Working Washington. The concerns they raised highlight broader questions about the gig economy and worker protection as conditional work is on the rise and traditional, full-time employment is far from guaranteed.


Trump Celebrates ‘Record’ Sales of Nonexistent Health Insurance Policies
The “incredible health care plans” he’s so excited about won’t even be available to buy until September.
By Jeffrey Young / Huffington Post
During an event Thursday at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Trump was very excited to report that “incredible” numbers of people were signing up for association health plans, a form of coverage his administration is making easier to buy. He’s right about one thing: That truly is incredible, in that it’s the opposite of credible.
Trump didn’t use the term ”association health plans” in his remarks, but he did repeatedly praise Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor, whose department published the regulations governing these policies last month, so it’s clear what Trump is referring to.
“I hear it’s like record business that they’re doing,” Trump said. “We just opened about two months ago, and I’m hearing that the numbers are incredible. Numbers of people that are getting really, really good health care instead of Obamacare, which is a disaster.”
To recap: zero people have actually enrolled in this insurance because it is literally impossible to do so until Sept. 1 at the earliest.


Private equity is piling into health care
The Economist
High prices and stiff competition mean investors must think creatively
LAST month KKR, a private-equity firm, announced that it would buy Envision Healthcare, one of America’s largest providers of doctors to hospitals. The deal was valued at $9.9bn, including debt. If shareholders agree to the sale, it will be the largest in a string of health-care investments by KKR, including an ambulance service, a company that helps treat children with autism and a maker of medical devices.
“Ten years ago only a few private-equity houses had dedicated health-care teams,” says Dmitry Podpolny of McKinsey, a consultancy. “Today nearly everyone does.” Last year saw a frenzy of deal activity, the highest by value since the go-go year of 2007.
Private-equity funds are not the only ones keen on the industry. Institutional investors, tech-focused funds, generalist asset managers and corporate buyers are sniffing around, too. As they chase a limited number of targets, they are pushing up prices. Not high enough to dampen interest, however: health care is loved by investors for its resilience in downturns. It held up in 2000, when the dotcom bubble burst, and in 2008, during the financial crisis. People who need medical care rarely wait for an economic recovery. “Particularly late in the cycle, or if you’re leveraged, the sector can offer stability,” says Jim Momtazee of KKR.


New network launched to upgrade insurance industry
By BV Swagath / COMPELO
An insurance network dubbed Internet of Insurance, which is owned by its members, has been officially launched with an aim to upgrade the insurance industry.
Its founders, a group of agents, carriers, and technology companies, recognized that there are two different types of carriers and agencies in the insurance industry, a situation which has created fundamental conflicts that are holding the industry back.
Members represent more than $30B in premium across the country. The Internet of Insurance is designed by its members to accelerate the modernization of the insurance industry by removing technology constraints, creating alignment, and developing shared resources for its members including:
A digital risk syndication network
A behavioral economics laboratory including an incentive fund governed by an agency and carrier council
Open source technology, including standards and data privacy agreements to address GDPR and CCPR compliance
A key component of the Internet of Insurance is the regulatory council and cooperation with regulators to help them use technology to protect and benefit consumers.

   
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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com