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Posts Tagged ‘long-term’

13 Employee Benefits You Should Consider Offering

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

The Libertarian Replublic reports:

“It can be a real challenge for a small business to keep employees interested in sticking around for the long haul. Larger companies always seem to have the upper hand, especially when it comes to offering enticing employee benefits. For a small business to remain competitive, you have to be sure that the employee package is enticing enough to keep them interested.


As Sanders Officially Revives Medicare-For-All, Plan B For Democrats Gains Traction

Monday, April 15th, 2019

Kaiser Health News reports:

“As Democratic presidential primary candidates try to walk a political tightrope between the party’s progressive and center-left wings, they face increasing pressure to outline the details of their health reform proposals.

On Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reaffirmed his stance by reintroducing a “Medicare-for-all” bill, the idea that fueled his 2016 presidential run.


Can Health Savings Accounts Be a Bulwark Against Long-Term Care Costs?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

Morningstar reports:

“Many retirement accumulators take pains to dot the i’s and cross the t’s of their retirement plans. They noodle over their portfolios’ asset allocations, carefully calibrate when they’ll begin claiming Social Security benefits, and think hard about withdrawal rates.

But many such painstaking retirement planners don’t give another major variable more than the periodic anxious thought: how to pay for long-term care. And is it any wonder so many people are in denial? For one thing, it’s a flip of the coin as to whether you’ll need long-term care: 52% of people turning 65 are expected to have a long-term care need during their lifetimes, and another 48% will not. The prospect of needing long-term care is inherently unpleasant, and that care can also be ruinously expensive, running upward of $100,000 per year in urban areas.

‘Breakthrough’ Leukemia Drug Also Portends ‘Quantum Leap’ In Cost

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Kaiser Health News reports:

“When doctors talk about a new leukemia drug from Novartis, they ooze enthusiasm, using words like “breakthrough,” “revolutionary” and “a watershed moment.”

But when they think about how much the therapy is likely to cost, their tone turns alarmist.


7 Healthcare Expenses Medicare Won’t Pay For — The Motley Fool

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Yahoo Beauty reports:

“If you’re looking forward to getting Medicare because you think this health insurance for seniors will provide comprehensive coverage, you may end up disappointed. Studies have shown seniors with high-prescription drug needs could incur as much as $350,000 in out-of-pocket spending on healthcare during retirement, even with both Medicare and a supplementary Medigap policy.


Is Blue Cross’ parent company too big, or not big enough?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

“In health insurance, as in so many businesses, it helps to be big.

Larger insurers enjoy many advantages over smaller rivals. They have more clout in pricing negotiations with doctors and hospitals, greater economies of scale in back—office operations, broader customer bases that limit risk. “The bigger you are, the better off you are,” says analyst Vishnu Lekraj, who follows the health insurance industry at Chicago-based Morningstar.

Size has paid off for Health Care Service Corp. of Chicago. The owner of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas is the nation’s sixth-biggest health insurer by market share. With dominant positions in all its markets, HCSC books more than $20 billion in revenue annually. HCSC’s deep pockets have helped it absorb cost pressures under Obamacare and capitalize on expansion opportunities created by health care reform.

Trouble is, “big” is a relative concept that changes over time. A company that’s large by today’s standards may not seem so big tomorrow.

Industry consolidation can raise the bar quickly, creating giants of unprecedented scale. Megamergers magnify the benefits of size to the detriment of companies that don’t keep pace. Goliaths are forming in the consumer products, technology and telecommunications industries, to name just a few. Sure, we’ve seen some corporate bust-ups, but many of the companies created in those transactions already have been scooped up by larger entities.

Now health insurance appears poised for consolidation: No. 5 Humana is looking for a buyer. A Humana acquisition could lead to more health insurance tie-ups, Lekraj says. If so, HCSC’s base of 15 million customers could start looking smaller.

The extent to which consolidation shifts the competitive balance against HCSC would depend on how much strength expanding rivals gain in local markets. Despite its enormous size, health care remains a largely local and regional business. Few hospital networks and doctors groups operate nationally.

This makes health insurance a local game, too. HCSC has played it exceptionally well, competing effectively with rivals more than twice its size. HCSC plans control anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their individual markets.

Humana wouldn’t give a buyer the heft to match HCSC in any of those markets. Still, cost pressures have unleashed a consolidation trend that may eventually jump local boundaries. Hospital networks already are expanding across broader geographic areas, which eventually could lead to the formation of national chains. In the process, they’re acquiring physicians groups.

Leemore Dafny, an economist at Northwestern University who studies health care markets, says product capabilities matter, too. Humana, for example, is strong in Medicare Advantage plans, a sector that’s growing as more baby boomers qualify for Medicare. Dafny says an acquisition “could possibly create a more robust competitor to HCSC in the Medicare Advantage space.”

Of course, HCSC could respond with deals of its own. With an accumulated surplus of more than $10 billion, it has plenty of coin. And CEO Patricia Hemingway Hall has shown an appetite for acquisitions—she picked up Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Montana in 2013. A spokesman says HCSC doesn’t comment on possible deals.

Another advantage for HCSC is its status as a private company owned by policyholders. Unlike publicly traded competitors, it’s not subject to pressure from Wall Street analysts and activist investors who often push companies into mergers.

So Hall has plenty of options and can take her time. But the long-term imperative is clear: Keep HCSC big.

Benefits Selling’s 2014 Employer Survey

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Benefits Pro reports:

“The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has made most employers “rethink” their employee benefit offerings, including increasing employees’ share of cost even more via consumer-driven plans.

According to Benefits Selling’s 2014 Employer Survey, 70 percent of employers said PPACA has made them rethink their employee benefit offerings, compared to 30 percent who said the health care reform law hadn’t had any impact on their offerings.


Long-Term Care Policies Ditch Solo Role For Supporting Act

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Insurance News Net reports:

“The stand-alone long-term care insurance market may be dormant as buyers shy away from high premiums and the relative inefficiency of long-term care coverage, but the combination insurance product market is hot.

Combination products, otherwise known as hybrid insurance, pair long-term care coverage with an annuity or life insurance. In return for one or more premium payments at retirement, a life care annuity pays fixed, periodic payments. In the event of a disability, the coverage provides additional payment to help cover the costs associated with long-term care.


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