Uncategorized

Health plans should expect record ACA enrollments in 2022 — thanks ARP!

Back in April we promised to follow up on the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP’s) impact on the health insurance market. As you may recall, the ARP offered larger premium tax credits to a greater number of people who obtain coverage through Affordable Care Act health plans. It also created an extended special enrollment period (SEP) that’s slated to end on August 15th.   Here’s the good news from the ARP’s impact on 2021 enrollments: CMS reports that over 1.2 million Americans signed up for health insurance under the extended SEP as of June 1st.   3 million consumers reduced their monthly health insurance rates by applying for additional premium tax credits.   State-based marketplaces and healthcare.gov helped spur additional enrollments by promoting the SEP along with health plans. This included CMS teaming up with Stride’s Portable Benefits platform to help independent contractors enroll in an ACA health plan during a “Gig Workers Week of...

Continue Reading

American Rescue Plan equates to huge opportunities for insurers

Here at Direct Choice, we’re capitalizing on a new wave of marketing opportunities for our health insurance clients brought on by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). That’s the self-aggrandizing title for what you may more readily recognize as the most recent COVID-19 stimulus/relief package. Signed into law on March 11, 2021, Biden’s $1.2 trillion package includes direct stimulus payments, extended unemployment benefits, expanded child tax credits and other safety nets for struggling Americans.   One of the less publicized aspects of the plan includes a big win for people without employer-provided health insurance, including middle-income folks. Here’s a breakdown of how the new law is expanding access to affordable health insurance for Americans in 2021 and 2022:   Larger premium tax credits According to HHS.gov, monthly premiums will decrease by an average of $50 per person after credits. Four out of five enrollees (up from 69% pre-ARP) will be able to find a plan for...

Continue Reading

One year into the pandemic … thoughts from Direct Choice

It goes without saying that we are eager to put the pandemic in the rear-view. Up ahead but not yet in clear view, we anticipate our return to the office, vacation spots, concerts, sporting events, etc.   Before getting too far ahead ourselves, we felt it would be remiss not to look back on the past year and consider the impact of such a sudden shock to our daily lives. With that in mind, we put together a few quick questions for our staff. See how your answers align with ours…   What was the hero of the pandemic for you — i.e. something that made life easier throughout the past year?   Nick: From a serious perspective, the hero(es) of the pandemic are the front-line healthcare workers — many risking their lives every day to save lives, as well as having to keep a distance from their families when they returned home from their shifts. ...

Continue Reading

Why it was good to see some Big Brands sit out the Super Bowl

For marketers, the Super Bowl traditionally begins in the summer when budgets and creative ideas are set in motion. This year was anything but traditional. Although all 256 regular season games were played, some advertisers chose to sit out the Super Bowl. In fact, it was the first Super Bowl in 37 years without Budweiser airing a spot during the game.   Clydesdales, Mr. Peanut, Korean cars, Mexican avocados and Coca Cola were all conspicuously absent. Whatever their PR people may have said before the game, we know it’s all because most big brands aren’t risk takers and couldn’t handle this year’s uncertainty — but that’s a good thing and below are three reasons why:   1) Budweiser, Kia and Planters diverted money to good causes.   According to Ad Age, Planters is shelling out (ha ha) $5 million to support unsung heroes this year while Kia plans to expand its giving to support America’s youth....

Continue Reading

Gettin’ GIFFY with it.

As a new year approaches, perhaps it’s time to update your stable of favorite GIFs. We’re talking GIFs used to spice up conversations with friends and colleagues, not GIFs for marketing your business.   We’ve pulled together some marketing and office life-related favs for you to share. Of course, you can always choose your own from GIPHY which is now owned by Facebook. That’s right, back in May the social media empire paid a reported $400 million for GIPHY. Apparently we can’t get enough of these charming little loops.   First up, some marketing-jargon gems from Schitt’s Creek:   via GIPHY via GIPHY via GIPHY     And when you need to remind someone that you’re still working from home:   via GIPHY via GIPHY     When you’re back in the office and someone books a tiny conference room for a big strategy meeting (but there’s still no vaccine):   via GIPHY via GIPHY     Or, you’re working with someone who clearly needs a little caffeine:   via GIPHY via GIPHY     And when we’re all...

Continue Reading

Learning from the pandemic: 5 direct marketing survival facts

While the term “new normal” has become a cliché, it’s an apt description for the pandemic’s impact on daily life. We are resilient creatures and we’ve quickly adapted to living with COVID-19 in ways that will forever change the way we think and act. Looking ahead, marketers need to recognize that much of the new normal is here to stay. Consider how these 5 facts and trends may affect your marketing plans:   1) The value of E-commerce cannot be overstated. This comes as no surprise but it’s important to note that the lockdown has forced traditional brick-and-mortar retail shoppers to become more comfortable with online shopping. At the height of the lockdown, there was a 66% spike in global daily e-commerce sales. If you sell directly to the consumer via your website, now is a critical moment to ensure that your shopping experience is optimized.   2) Technology’s role in customer relationships is...

Continue Reading

5 hot blogs & news sites for insurance professionals

With professional organizations putting conferences and meetings on hold for now, staying abreast of hot topics within your industry takes a little extra effort. Fortunately, we have some great recommendations for those of you working in the world of insurance.   The Triple I Blog (property and casualty focus): Brought to you by the Insurance Information Institute, this blog provides professionally written articles on everything from insurance fraud to catastrophes. Whatever’s trending in the industry, you’ll find it here.   org (for consumers and professionals): While the website is aimed at educating consumers, their blog called The Scoop focuses on providing the latest news on health insurance and health reform. Each edition has several easy-to-digest news bites covering the entire nation.   America’s Health Insurance Plans (trade association blog): If you work for a health plan, this blog should be on your reading list. You’ll get the inside scoop on current issues and...

Continue Reading

Take Five: Choose your must-have summer reads

Everyone enjoys a good book. Here's a variety of this summer's favorites:   For a new perspective: My Vanishing Country A Memoir by Bakari Sellers. Unless you grew up in a rural, black, working-class town in the deep south, you need this book as a window into what has become a forgotten and neglected part of our country. Penned by a lawyer who became the youngest African American elected official in the country at age 22 and has served as an analyst for CNN, it’s an American success story wrapped in the struggles of the rural south. It’s no wonder that My Vanishing Country has become a New York Times Bestseller and a #1 New Release on Amazon.com.   For the kids: The World Needs More Purple People by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart. Full disclosure, this writer has had a thing for Kristen Bell ever since binge-watching The Good Place and all of her Funny...

Continue Reading

Recalling office life in 1995 as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary!

As your hand searches for the snooze button on your clock radio, you hesitate upon hearing an update from the O.J. Simpson trial. There’s an incriminating bloody glove but the defense insists a dirty cop has planted the evidence. Intrigued by this update, you are compelled to learn more. You decide to buy a newspaper along with the obligatory cup of coffee on your way to the office. Regular or decaf are your only options. No Italian dark roast, organic breakfast blend or mochaccino to be found.   Arriving at the office, you boot up Windows 95, marvel at the colorful new interface and wait for email to load. There’s no social media, no text messages and no app notifications to distract you from getting right to work. That’s a good thing for Nick Lanzi. He needs all of the time in the world to manage the duties of his full-time gig while starting a side-hustle...

Continue Reading

No-cost virtual doctor visits for Seniors during the coronavirus outbreak

Direct Choice Inc. has recently engaged in some pro-bono communications for the Medicare Telehealth Hotline, a service which we feel could benefit our friends and family. By now, we are all well aware that our nation’s 44 million Medicare recipients face the greatest risk from the Coronavirus pandemic. Along with having the highest mortality among COVID-19 patients, seniors are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to get access to the care they need for many other chronic health conditions. In light of this health crisis, the Medicare Telehealth Hotline is providing Medicare recipients with no-cost doctor visits from the comfort of their homes.   How the Medicare Telehealth Hotline works:   Patients with Original Medicare (with or without private supplemental insurance) who cannot reach their primary doctor can simply call 1-888-392-8889 (7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET) or visit https://medicaretelehealthhotline.org/   The Medicare Telehealth Hotline connects patients with appropriate board-certified doctors who can address...

Continue Reading