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VOL. 132 | NO. 136 | Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Daily Digest

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Memphis-Based Group Benefits Merges With Alera Group

Memphis-based employee benefits company Group Benefits LLC is merging into Alera Group, an independent national insurance brokerage and wealth management firm covering 15 states and 40 locations, the two companies announced Monday, July 10.

Neither company disclosed terms of the transaction.

Alera is a set of 24 firms. In the merger, Group Benefits will maintain its name and structure as a separate subsidiary.

Alera has more than 750 employees and 20,000 clients nationwide. It was founded in 2016 and offers expertise in employee benefits as well as property and casualty insurance, risk management and wealth management.

Group Benefits LLC was founded in 2009 to design and implement programs that provide financial security, health plan options and advice on increased productivity.

– Bill Dries

Memphis to Host 2019 AAC Men's Basketball Championship

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco announced on Monday, July 10, that FedExForum will serve as the host of the 2019 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, March 14-17. FedExForum last served as the host site in 2014.

All 12 American Athletic Conference schools will participate in the 2019 championship. The format calls for four first-round games on the first day, followed by four quarterfinal matchups, two semifinal contests and the championship game. The ESPN family of networks again will provide television and digital coverage of the tournament.

The Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, will be the site of the 2018 American Men’s Basketball Championship, March 8-11. The conference is expected to announce the sites of the 2020-22 championships in the coming weeks.

– Don Wade

Lifeblood: Blood Supplies At ‘Dangerously Low Levels’

Blood supplies across the country remain at what Lifeblood describes as “dangerously low levels” following a severe decline in blood donations leading up to and following the Fourth of July holiday.

In an effort to rebuild both local and national supplies and to be prepared for unexpected events, Lifeblood is calling on Memphis-area residents to come forward and give blood both this week and throughout the remainder of the summer.

Lifeblood tries to keep a three-day supply of every blood type on the shelf at all times to be able to meet the needs of patients at more than 20 hospitals. Donations from O-negative donors, the universal blood type, are especially important at this time of year due to increased accidents and trauma cases, but the current O-negative blood supply sits at an approximate two-day supply.

Platelet donations, which have a shelf life of only five days, are also in high demand after a slow holiday week. However, donors of all types are needed.

– Andy Meek

Cordova Shopping Center Sells for $2.3 Million

The Woodchase Center, located at 2075 N. Germantown Parkway, has a new owner.

Dr. Alan Werner purchased the 28,484-square-foot retail building from MAM Realty Holdings of Memphis LLC for $2.3 million. Brian Califf, executive vice president of NAI Saig, represented Werner, while Melanie Myers with the Gary Myers Co. represented MAM Realty Holdings.

The retail center, which is anchored by The Great American Sleep Shop, sits on a little more than 2 acres near the intersection of Germantown Parkway and Chimney Rock Boulevard.

The new owners are planning to hold on to the property as a long-term investment, according to Califf.

– Patrick Lantrip

Memphis Redbirds Roll Into All-Star Break

The Triple-A Memphis Redbirds defeated the Nashville Sounds on Sunday, July 9, in Nashville to head into the All-Star Break with a 56-33 record, their best first-half record in franchise history. They have won 10 of their last 12 games.

The win also gave the Redbirds a 19th-straight series win or split, which looked to be in jeopardy after the Sounds (42-48) won Friday’s three-game series opener. First-year manager Stubby Clapp and his club have not lost a series since losing three of four games at Colorado Springs April 18-21.

After the All-Star Break, which runs through Wednesday, July 12, the Redbirds return to AutoZone Park for four games against the Round Rock Express (Rangers) beginning on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

– Don Wade

Health Insurance Carriers Seek to Raise Tenn. Rates

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has released the insurance rates requested by carriers offering coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace ahead of open enrollment for 2018.

Only three carriers filed rates with the department: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cigna and Oscar Health. Cigna will be the only carrier covering Memphis, along with all of Shelby, Fayette, Tipton, Haywood and Lauderdale counties, according to a TDCI release.

Both Cigna and BCBST are requesting rate increases, while Oscar Health is covering Tennessee for the first time. Cigna’s average increase statewide will be 42.1 percent, with an increase range of between 12.2 percent and 182.2 percent.

The average premium prices that Cigna proposed to charge for 35-year-old individual purchasers in the Memphis region are $419.81 for a Bronze Plan, which covers 60 percent of medical costs; $683.02 for a Silver Plan, which covers 70 percent of costs; and $951.61 for a Gold Plan, which covers 80 percent of costs.

Compared with Cigna’s 2017 average rates for 35-year-olds in the Memphis region, that amounts to a 34.3 percent increase for Bronze Plans, a 64.5 percent increase for Silver Plans and an 84.7 percent increase for Gold Plans.

For Memphis-area 55-year-olds, meanwhile, Cigna’s proposed 2018 average rates are $766.11 for a Bronze Plan, $1,246.52 for a Silver Plan, and $1,736.57 for a Gold Plan. Comparable 2017 rates for 55-year-olds were not available through TDCI’s website.

BlueCross BlueShield, which pulled out of covering the Memphis area last year and won’t be covering it in fiscal 2018, is requesting an average rate increase of 21.4 percent, with a range between 4.6 percent and 44.5 percent higher.

All rates must be actuarially justified by TDCI and given final approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. TDCI will review the rate requests with its actuarial team and has until Aug. 16 to approve the policy forms and rates. CMS will also review the filings and, if approved, the carriers will have until Sept. 27 to sign agreements to participate in the marketplace.

Open enrollment is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

– Daily News staff

Memphis Children Selected For JDRF Delegation

Two Memphis-area youths have been chosen by JDRF, the leading global organization focused on Type 1 diabetes research, to join a delegation of children and celebrity advocates at the JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress July 24-26 in Washington, D.C.

Sarah James, age 16, and Claire Midha, age 7, will join nearly 160 other children from around the U.S. to lobby their members of Congress and remind them of the vital need to support Type 1 diabetes research that could reduce the burden of this disease and ultimately find a cure.

These children – which range from age 4 to 17, and represent all 50 states – will participate in a number of activities on the Hill, including a Congressional committee hearing to share personal testimonies that highlight the daily struggles of living with Type 1 diabetes and the need for continued funding for research projects such as the Special Diabetes Program.

Joining the U.S. delegates will be six international delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Together, the delegates will convey a clear message to the federal government that Type 1 diabetes is a global problem that requires a global effort.

“These children and their parents face the burden of Type 1 diabetes every day, and by sharing their stories, they become the most powerful advocates we have in fighting Type 1 diabetes,” said JDRF president and CEO Derek Rapp in a statement. “They represent millions of other families like mine who need the support of the government to help us end this disease.”

– Don Wade

PROPERTY SALES 97 418 8,253
MORTGAGES 112 508 9,293
BUILDING PERMITS 194 1,059 18,126
BANKRUPTCIES 46 208 5,367