Murray and Alexander (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced a deal to stabilize the individual insurance market by funding cost-sharing reduction payments through 2019, giving states more flexibility to skirt certain Affordable Care Act requirements, allowing consumers over age 30 to purchase copper plans, and providing $106 million to support ACA enrollment. However, the proposal garnered mixed messages from President Donald Trump, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not said whether he will allow a vote, and some Republicans said they oppose it.
UnitedHealth Group, the country's largest health insurance company, expressed interest in selling short-term policies and association plans, which President Donald Trump has said are options to supplant Affordable Care Act coverage. "We will be engaging with policymakers as the regulatory frameworks in these areas are developed," UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann said during a call with investors.
In a study conducted for the Insured Retirement Institute, 90% of investors surveyed said they liked the idea of having guaranteed lifetime income in retirement, even if it meant losing control of principal and paying higher costs for products that provide it. Among advisors surveyed, 84% said that in the past year at least one client has asked about annuities, which the study authors note are the only product that can offer guaranteed lifetime income.
Retiree optimism about the stock market rose 20 points in the 2017 Wells Fargo Retirement Study. Half of respondents said their health care costs are higher than expected, however, and more than one-third said their standard of living dropped after going into retirement, the study found.
The Task Force on Low-Value Care says health care costs for procedures that might be unneeded amounts to $25 billion per year. These procedures include the use of brand-name drugs instead of generics and diagnostic imaging and testing prior to low-risk surgery, according to the task force.
People planning for retirement should be prepared for an eventual end to the current bull market. One way to weather a downturn is to divide retirement savings into three accounts: one for cash and short-term investments and the other two for longer-term investments.
5 Cures for Business Growing Pains A growing business is a successful business, but it comes with its own set of complications. Growing pains can arise from new employees, added roles and responsibilities, and a premium on office space. Read this informative e-book for five practical tips to managing your growing office space.
Insurance agents have taken to online industry message boards to express concern that Medicare help lines and insurance-related call centers may be stepping into areas of work that have traditionally been theirs, such as signing consumers up for Medicare coverage. Agents say that this trend raises compliance issues, as the call center workers are not licensed, as well as privacy and confidentiality worries.
Research from property and casualty insurer Chubb shows the way advisors word their conversations can make a difference in their clients' reactions. Among the findings, the research indicates that conversations with affluent clients are better received when they focus on the clients' achievements rather than their wealth.
Nearly three-quarters of US businesses think their organizations are highly protected from attempts by outsiders to gain access to their systems and data, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson. A similar proportion of organizations, 79%, maintain they have the right processes in place to adequately respond to privacy and security threats. Read more at the Advisor Today Blog.