As it turns out, how you react to that price increase may affect your insurance rates . Simply pay the higher premium and your rates are likely to continue to climb. It’s the result of a data mining tool insurance companies use to achieve “price optimization” — charging higher premiums to consumers who are least likely to shop for a new policy in the face of a rate increase. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Center for Economic Justice (CEJ) are calling for such pricing techniques to cease, saying they violate state laws and result in customers paying higher premiums — even though they have the same risk profile as others consumers who get a better deal. “Price optimization is a new strategy to overcharge Americans who have to buy auto and home insurance policies,” said Bob Hunter, CFA’s director of insurance and former Texas insurance commissioner. “Despite the feigned innocence of the software developers and insurance executives behind these products, the tool is nothing less than an end-around critical consumer protection rules that are needed to ensure fair pricing of insurance products.” The groups claim insurers are using “price elasticity of demand” research, sophisticated market analysis to determine which customers are most likely to accept price increases and which customers are likely to shop around when notified of a premium increase.
Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, called it the “Kaiserfication” of the healthcare system, referring to the Kaiser Permanente consortium, which now combines a health insurance company with its hospitals and medical practices. Emanuel, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said “the end of insurance companies as we know them” is not too far away. And he warned that insurance companies “will have to get into the business of providing care” if they want to survive. Emanuel pointed out that Wellpoint recently bought a healthcare company in California in a move probably aimed at copying Kaiser’s game plan. “The wave of the future is integrated delivery systems integrating insurance with delivery functions,” said Emanuel. Dr. Kenneth Davis, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Health System, revealed at the forum that as of next year the hospital group will have its own Medicare Advantage plan, calling it “an entire reformulation of how we pay for services.” Health insurance premiums will be paid by patients directly to the hospital group rather than through insurance companies. “Inevitably, the large systems are going to move to take part of the premium dollar,” said Davis, who runs the largest healthcare system in New York state. Davis noted that the psychiatric department at its St. Luke’s Hospital in New York loses $4 million a year, reported the Times.
George financial consulting company FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRLog (Press Release) – Mar. 12, 2014 – ST. GEORGE, Utah — Brock and Associates, a pioneer in fee-based financial planning, announced that Amy Morgan has joined the firm to manage branch office administrative support. She will ensure that financial advisors and their clients receive timely support and communications. “We recently expanded our operations by opening a branch office in Las Vegas. As we add additional offices, we need to provide a top-notch support infrastructure. The addition of Amy to our staff is an important step in achieving that objective,” said Hank Brock, President, CEO, and founder of Brock and Associates. “Amy brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to our organization.” Morgan’s experience includes all aspects of back-office and administrative support, including customer communications, client retention, managing underwriting processes, training staff, and supporting agents. In addition, Morgan has experience in marketing and client development.
Detroit general obligations with insurance trade at 99 cents on the dollar, while those without it have fallen to about 20 cents, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The insurance protects you from all the downside risk from an impending restructuring that may or may not happen in Puerto Rico, said Robert DiMella, who oversees about $7.5 billion of local debt as co-head of MacKay Municipal Managers in Princeton, New Jersey. Its a very good way for investors to invest in Puerto Rico, and thats what were doing. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg Buildings stand in the skyline of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit general obligations with… Read More Buildings stand in the skyline of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit general obligations with insurance trade at 99 cents on the dollar, while those without it have fallen to about 20 cents, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Close Close Open Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg Buildings stand in the skyline of Detroit, Michigan.
Obamacare Self-Defense Strategies: A new guide to help small business owners
Healthplansny, a leading group benefits provider has just released a special report to help small business owners make smart decisions about providing group health insurance.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Mar. 24, 2014 – BREWSTER, N.Y. — Most small business owners want to provide health insurance to their employees because they know the important role a benefit such as employee health insurance plays in attracting and retaining quality employees. But as one anonymous business owner said, “If the Government is going to make it harder for me to provide health insurance to my employees, then I’ll just send them to the exchanges and let them buy their own insurance.”
The concerns of this one business owner seem to be universal among many business owners Nationwide. Small business owners are confused and intimidated by Health Care Reform or Obamacare.
The truth is Health Care Reform has far less impact on small businesses with less than 50 employees than it does on larger businesses, but small business owners are still struggling to find out what their obligations are as employers under the new Law.
Obamacare Self Defense Strategies focuses on common concerns that many small businesses have regarding their obligations under Health Care Reform and offers simple solutions to help protect business owners and prosper under the new Law. If you are interested in reading the special report, you can download it here: http://www.healthplansny.com/
Intended as a disaster relief program, the federal flood insurance scheme is really a land development policy. Our thinking about government supplied insurance for severe weather risks has been so powerfully shaped by post-storm relief instincts, that we overlook the distortions it causes in the location of homes. Even as a victim-relief policy, the subsidized insurance is hard to justify, moving funds from middle class tax payers living inland to upper-income owners of coastal homes (do the resident of Greenwich, located in Americas 11th wealthiest zip code, need an insurance subsidy from the federal government?). But its biggest harm is the encouragement to make long-term investments in the wrong sites.
House Republicans Not Feeling Any Pressure to Extend Unemployment Insurance
Senate Republicans brought up the latter point in rejecting an earlier unemployment-insurance bill. Republicans argue that if Democrats really want to extend the program, they’ll have to find real savings. “In a multitrillion budget, we could find tens of millions of dollars that we could probably agree on. I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” Cole argued. “We’ve worked hard to cut the budget deficit as much as we have. I don’t think we should be surrendering these gains for pie-in-the-sky plans coming out of the United States Senate.” “If they were remotely serious, if they were really concerned about these people, they’d help us find the savings,” Cole added. But there is also a large group of House Republicans who oppose extending the benefits at all, arguing that the economy is slowly recovering and that most unemployed individuals already receive 26 weeks worth of support before the federal emergency extensionwhich expired on Dec. 28kicks in. “We’re not talking about eliminating unemployment insurance. We’re talking about going back to a more normal length of time,” Cole said. Frustrated, House Democrats have stopped trying to negotiate with Boehner over the issue and are attempting to ratchet up pressure on the speaker to introduce his own plan.
Flood insurance rates on rise in South Dakota
LOZANO The Associated Press GALVESTON, Texas Zoila Navarro’s bakery in Galveston has persevered through tough times. It reopened after being flooded by Hurricane Ike in 2008, and stayed open after her husband was killed during a robbery last year. But the 60-year-old business owner isn’t sure it can withstand what might be its toughest challenge yet: flood insurance premiums that have gone up from about $2,600 annually to more than $11,000 following a 2012 law overhauling the federal government’s flood insurance program. “We are a small business. It’s too much. That amount frightens me,” Navarro said. President Barack Obama signed a law Friday offering much-needed relief for policyholders like Navarro by rolling back steep hikes that took effect almost overnight as a result of the 2012 reforms. But for many, the reprieve is temporary. The legislation still imposes mandatory price hikes of 25 percent every year on businesses and second homes, until the owners switch from a subsidized rate to one based on the real risk of flooding. Other homeowners face increases that are capped at 18 percent per year.
I dont know if any of them understand the predicament theyre in. In Fort Pierre alone, 30 percent of the flood insurance policies will be affected, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency data compiled by The Associated Press. The city that sits across the Missouri River from the state capital rests on two floodplains and was devastated by a flood in 2011. The taxpayer-subsidized National Flood Insurance Policy program is $24 billion in debt. Congress moved in 2012 to make policy prices for 1.1 million people across the country reflect actual risk. In response to an outcry over premium spikes, Congress backed off slightly from some provisions in a bill signed by Obama on Friday. But homeowners with subsidized policies can still expect annual rate increases of up to 18 percent. Its pretty hard for them to have their flood insurance rates go through the roof, Lawrence said. Watertown, in far eastern South Dakota, has the highest number of subsidized policies, 192, followed by Sioux Falls 152. In Fort Pierre, 32 policyholders could see an up to 18 percent increase until the property reaches risk-based levels, according to the FEMA data.