January 15, 2021
AHIP Agents & Brokers SmartBrief
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Best Business Practices
Repeat business is extremely important for financial advisors, which is why they need to focus on serving existing clients, writes Bryce Sanders of Perceptive Business Solutions. Among Sanders' suggestions are having fair pricing, treating existing clients with respect and engaging on their terms.
Full Story: Financial Advisor online (1/12) 
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Prospects, Products and Market Trends
An updated report by the CDC indicates that the total number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed as of Jan. 14 has reached 30,628,175 doses, while the number of first doses administered now stands at 11,148,991.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14) 
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Dollar General is one of the first US companies to incentivize employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The retailer will offer four hours of pay to employees who verify that they have received the vaccine, and employees who have adverse reactions to the vaccine will receive paid time off, the retailer said.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (1/13) 
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Policy and the Health Care Landscape
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday proposed a plan to provide $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief, which would include $20 billion in funding for a national vaccine program, $350 billion for state and local governments, $50 billion for COVID-19 testing, and $170 billion for K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The American Rescue Plan would also provide $1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, boost federal unemployment benefits to $400 per week, raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and extend the eviction and foreclosure bans until the end of September.
Full Story: CNN (1/15),  The New York Times (1/15),  CNBC (1/14) 
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The CMS released its final annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for Affordable Care Act plans for the 2022 coverage year, lowering the user fee for plans sold on the federal exchange to 2.25% of premiums and 1.75% for plans sold on state exchanges using the federal platform. The rule also includes a provision that encourages states to collaborate with private firms to create next-generation exchanges.
Full Story: Healthcare Finance (1/14),  FierceHealthcare (1/14) 
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Little has been accomplished as far as legislation to reduce drug prices despite bipartisan support, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., indicated he might push for legislation without Republican support using budget reconciliation.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/14) 
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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted Thursday to recommend raising Medicare payment rates to acute-care and long-term care hospitals by 2% next year. The commission also plans to recommend that Congress retain the current payment rate for physicians and lower payments to home health firms and inpatient rehabilitation centers by 5%.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital CFO Report (1/14) 
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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the central bank has no intention of tightening US monetary policy or paring back its bond-buying program any time soon. Powell said that now is "not the time" to think about ending central bank support for the economy given that inflation and employment are tracking below target.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14),  MarketWatch (tiered subscription model) (1/14),  Financial Times (subscription required) (1/14) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
Solutions Provider News
AHIP News
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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Wisdom isn't about accumulating more facts; it's about understanding big truths in a deeper way.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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