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Archive for June, 2009

Who is NAHU?

National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) is the pulse of the healthcare industry to keep all of us up to date on the latest government policies and how will those laws affect us.  NAHU’s mission statement is to improve its members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirements needs.  Their website is www.nahu.org.   We are proud to be a member of this fine association.

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All officers of Trilogy Benefits are members of the Colorado Association of Health Underwriters and the National Association of Health Underwriters.  Two of us serve on boards as well within the state in local chapters.  Below is an updated article from NAHU’s newsletter that I thought was interesting and well worth sharing.  Jacquey Tabcum, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Trilogy Benefits, Inc. 

Private insurers press for individual mandate.

The Los Angeles Times (6/7, Girion) reported, “Some may find it hard to believe that the US health insurance industry supports making major changes to the nation’s healthcare system.” But, the industry “has good reason to support at least some change: It needs it. Private health insurance faces a bleak future if the proposal they champion most vigorously — a requirement that everyone buy medical coverage — is not adopted.” Insurers “do not embrace all of the healthcare restructuring proposals. But they are fighting hard for a purchase requirement, sweetened with taxpayer-funded subsidies for customers who can’t afford to buy it on their own, and enforced with fines. Such a so-called individual mandate amounts to a huge booster shot for health insurers, serving up millions of new customers almost overnight.”

        The New York Times (6/7, A20, Sack) reported that President Obama “has sought to reassure” the industry by “pointing to the three dozen states that offer their employees a choice between government-backed insurance options and a menu of commercial policies. But, health policy experts are deeply divided about whether the state employee plans bear any meaningful resemblance to the public plan options being considered in Washington. And that divide reinforces how little can really be known about how a government plan may fare in competition with private carriers, and whether it may eventually evolve into the country’s lone health insurer.”

        Reform seen as “bailout” for healthcare industry. In his Washington Post (6/8) column, E.J. Dionne, Jr. writes that the “health system is so unstable that even the drug industry and the insurance companies are worried that it will crash on top of them.” Healthcare reform “could bail out these interests by adding the currently uninsured — fast approaching 50 million people — to their customer base and by preventing more individuals and employers from dropping insurance altogether.” The “toughest behind-the-scenes battles will be about how much the insurance companies, the drug companies, and the providers are willing to give up to get a government bailout of the health system. That was the significance of a little-noticed line in President Obama’s letter last week to Kennedy and Baucus outlining his own goals in the bill.”

        Draft Senate bill would require employers to offer health insurance. The AP (6/5, Werner) reported, “Employers would be required to offer healthcare to employees or pay a penalty — and all Americans would be guaranteed health insurance — under a draft bill circulated Friday by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s health committee.” The bill “would provide subsidies to help poor people pay for care, guarantee patients the right to select any doctor they want and require everyone to purchase insurance, with exceptions for those who can’t afford to.” The Hill (6/5, Young) reported that the “draft measure’s language on an individual mandate” is “similar to what then Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) proposed during her presidential bid. President Obama spoke out against such a mandate last year, but has since softened his stance.” The Politico (6/5, Brown) reported, “Kennedy spokesman Anthony Coley said the 171-page bill was ‘a draft of a draft.'” Roll Call (6/5, Drucker) also reported on the draft measure.

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We subscribe to many different communications and publications concerning employee benefits as that is our specialty.  Recently, I’ve noticed the many different law suits between claimants and their past employers concerning e-mails and their content.  Unfortunately, it’s a great misunderstanding among American employees that there is any kind of privacy rights to e-mails they input at work or on company computers, laptops or hand-held devices (smart phones).  Remember, these are company owned and therefore, so is the information regardless of the subject.

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A recent case ruled in Federal court determined that personal e-mails sent via the company laptop (of a “tech” company no less) to his wife were not “personal”.  He described in his emails his drug use and how it damaged the company by his actions while under the influence.  A Federal judge ruled these e-mail messages could be used in his criminal trial.  

We recommend having a “communication” agreement with employees if they utilize company owned devices/computers.  This policy should be written explaining that ANY items input or transferred using company equipment are open for review and response although in the case noted above, they company did not have an agreement and the decision was based upon the ownership of the computer only. 

Jacquey Tabcum
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Trilogy Benefits, Inc.

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