Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Contest Alert

So, we've been nominated for Healthline's 2017 Most Loved Health Blogs contest (we're a previous award winner).

Voting begins next Tuesday (the 21st).

Details to follow.

Some Thoughts on ObamaComp

Although I'm no longer actively working in this market, I do get the various carrier updates and contractual changes. Yesterday's mail brought this from Evolent (to which I'm connected via what used to be Premier Health Insurance):

"On behalf of Premier Health Plan, Evolent Health would like to thank you for your relationship ... it is necessary to amend [your contract]."

Regular readers already know where this is heading, but I think this may be instructive as to why I received a particular phone call yesterday:

 
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I would estimate that it takes at least a good hour (likely more, plus service time after the sale) to do a decent job for a client, even when there are so few choices still left. And of course, there's overhead and the like, so that $5 is quickly eaten up.

And once again I would ask: will their rates be lowered to reflect the decreased comp?

(Spoiler Alert: Not likely)

Oh, about that phone call?

Well, I was the third or fourth agent she'd contacted about health insurance for her son and daughter-in-law. They're currently with CareSource (which is primarily a Medicaid carrier, but has branched out into the "commercial" arena, as well). The county in which they live currently has these health insurance choices: CareSource. Since they don't use agents, there's no incentive for anyone to sell them. Which is why the poor lady was so frustrated.

And who can blame her?

Oh, did I mention the almost 100% rate decrease increase?

Insult and injury, ObamaCare is thy name.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

This Picture: What's Wrong With It?

NAILBA - the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies - is currently in the midst of its 36th annual convention, and by all accounts a fine time is being had by all. Which is, of course, great, but also provides an excellent illustration of the disconnect between trade groups such as this (and of course, they're far from unique in this regard) and how the public perceives those of us in the field.

Several years ago, I noted the irony inherent in a continuing education course on ethics:

"My fellow participants couldn't understand why I was giggling about an "Ethics" course given - for free! - to agents who'd received a "goody bag" full of tschochkes (chip clips, staplers, etc)."

Well, apparently the folks sponsoring that class were pikers:


ExamOne is a vendor agents and carriers use for medical exams for insurance applicants.

So much for those Ethics CE requirements....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Another Government-run Health Care Success Story

Words fail:

"A veteran committed suicide by setting himself on fire in front of a New Jersey VA clinic after staff at the clinic repeatedly failed to ensure he received adequate mental health care"

Charles Ingram, a 51 year old Gulf War vet, was actually cleared for treatment at a non-VA facility, but the bureauweenies in charge failed to follow through.

But sure, let's go all-in on state-run health "care."


[Hat Tip: FoIB NARNfan]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sad news

We've just learned of the passing of Dr Uwe Reinhardt earlier today. His was a voice of reason and thoughtfulness, and he had a unique talent for making complex health care policy understandable.

We first noted the great work of Dr Reinhardt in this post by co-blogger Bob back in 2009:

"The insurance industry is congenitally weak in bargaining with supply side of the American health sector,” explained Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt on a recent NPR Money Planet segment. Reinhardt believes that insurers largely dance to the fiscal tune whistled by hospitals and physicians."

A little over a year later, co-blogger Mike quoted another great example of Dr Reinhardt's insight:

"Thus, after blushing over miserly fee updates, taxpayers might go on to ask physicians why an average annual compound increase of 5.4 percent in spending per Medicare beneficiary was not enough to give the nation’s elderly good medical care."

Ouch.

He will be missed.

Monday, November 13, 2017

From the P&C Files: Foreign General Liability

Regular readers know our friends at Global Underwriters for their wide array of travel medical options, but they also work the other side of the insurance fence: since a lot of their business comes from employers with substantial international exposure, GU has an interesting product called Foreign General Liability (FGL) coverage. I'll let GU's Peter Schulteis explain:

"Today, thriving companies aren't just operating globally. They're sourcing, producing, recruiting, and genuinely "thinking" in global terms. However, most domestic General liability policies only cover lawsuits brought within US borders. This leaves US companies, schools, churches, non-profits, etc. and their international operations without a legal or financial safety net if taken to court abroad."

Okay, so what is Foreign General Liability coverage?

"FGL primarily consists of 3 main benefits:

International Commercial General Liability: The first line of defense against costly legal actions arising from events occurring outside US borders.

Typical Coverages: Bodily Injury and Property Damage, Employee Benefits Liability, Personal and Advertising Injury Liability, and Medical Payments.

Employer's Responsibility/Worker's Compensation: Outside the US, nothing quite compares to our nation's own worker's compensation system for comprehensive coverage [ed: as we've seen before].

Typical Coverages: Foreign Voluntary Worker's Compensation (Statutory worker's comp benefits for US and Non-US employee's), Employer's Liability - Bodily injury coverage to employee's for accident or endemic illness contracted outside the US.

Foreign Auto Liability: Each country and jurisdiction around the world has its own rules and regulations concerning automobile liability - from who would be at fault if an accident were to occur to how an automobile liability claim should be handled.

Typical Coverages: Applies to any auto of the insured, including owned, hired, and non-owned vehicles, Auto Bodily Injury/Property Damage Liability
."

Nice. What are typical coverage amounts?

"FGL limits are typically $1 - $2 Million, with the possibility of increasing benefit limits to $5 Million, if desired."

Thanks, Peter!

If you (or someone you know) would like additional details (or even a quote), be sure to stop by Global Underwriters'
site.

Friday, November 10, 2017

It's a Holly Jolly Friday LinkFest

(All links courtesy FoIB Holly R)

Britain's Much Vaunted National Health System© continues to prove that gummint-run health "care" #Fails at reining in costs:

"[T]hree highly influential health think-tanks - the King's Fund, the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation - published a joint report calling for an extra £4bn to be given to health next year."

Heh.

"Every Hour, Prostate Cancer Kills 45 Men. This Foundation Has Raised $769 Million to Fight it"

And yet, unlike mammograms, prostate exams aren't considered Essential Health Benefits (so they aren't first dollar).

Men's Health Matters (but not to ACA proponents).

And now for some good news:

"In world first, Israeli hospital employs MRI designed for infants"

MRI's have become almost as ubiquitous as X-Ray machines and EKG's, but one of the challenges is that patients need to stay very still while being scanned, which is a problem when dealing with infants. The generally accepted solution seems to have been anesthesia, but that poses its own set of risks in ones so small and vulnerable. This device seems to have solved the problem.

Yasher koach (that's Hebrew for "Kudos")!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The ACA is Working - and Better than Expected!

Given that the explicit goal has always been single-payer:


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Health Wonk Review - Notable Quotables edition

Our good friend (and favorite health care economist) Jason Shafrin hosts this week's fun, uniquely designed roundup of health care fun and policy.