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Jan
9

Friday catch-up

The first week back from a couple of pretty slow weeks is always hectic – here’s a brief recap of what happened while we all were working.

The big news in the comp world is Congress passed the TRIA extension.  The President will certainly sign it, and we all can relax just a bit.  The six-year extension, which passed with overwhelming support in both Houses, includes a higher deductible and lower Federal cost-share in each of the next five years. The result will be more risk especially for smaller insurers who have less ability to cover potential claims from a major incident.

That said, the 9/11 attacks were just about the worst-case scenario, and the industry was able to absorb the financial hit without too much difficulty.

actually, that wasn’t the biggest news.

That was yet another announcement that the employment market is accelerating ; a quarter-million MORE jobs were added last month, lowering the unemployment rate to 5.6 percent. That bodes well for the insurance industry; the recent evidence that wages are improving is more good news.  Consumers’ energy costs down are dramatically, effectively increasing the average person’s annual wages by about $1000.

Expect consumer spending to increase; if moves to reduce the cost of housing bear fruit, that will help the construction and durable goods industries as well.

Here’s hoping our politicians don’t screw this up…

Thanks to Rob McCarthy for the heads-up on an op-ed piece by Ezekiel Emanuel recommending we skip that annual physical – they cost billions but there’s little evidence they have a positive impact on health or cost. Here’s the conundrum; from a societal perspective Dr Emanuel’s prescription makes sense, but as individuals we make decisions based on our own perceptions of risk and value...

A devastating piece about what it’s really like to be poor is making the viral rounds.  If you have ever blamed someone for being poor, having “too many kids” by “too many fathers”, for not using Medicaid or a free clinic, for smoking or not doing anything else you think they shouldn’t do, and not doing the things they should, read it. The whole thing. As one who is guilty far too often of these judgments, it was a virtual ice bucket in the face. 


2 thoughts on “Friday catch-up”

  1. The most important part of this piece was the final paragraph, Joe. Thank you for sharing with those of us who hadn’t seen it previously. Something we all need to know.

  2. I think the data that was absorbed later on Friday was that wages in fact are going down, not up. Too many people stuck in part-time, low wage jobs.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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