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October 14, 2011
Nearly 2 million Blue Shield of California policyholders will get back a total of $450 million in excess profits earned this year. That amounts to a 7% decrease in annual premiums. Of the total, $167 million was announced last summer and was included in October bills and $283 million announced Thursday will be distributed as credits on December bills. Individual policyholders will see their December premiums reduced by an average of $135. A family of four will get an average credit of $420, but the reductions could be as much as $700.
April 27, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
Arlette Lozano came to this country 18 years ago from Mexico at age 8 when her mother sent her and her 3-year-old brother across the border with the help of a coyote - someone paid to smuggle people across the border. There wasn't enough money for their mother to travel with them, so the children came alone to meet an aunt living in East Los Angeles. "It was very scary," Lozano recalls. "I remember my mom telling me not to fall asleep because they can kidnap us. " Lozano, now a 26-year-old student at UCLA with a double major in global studies and anthropology, grew up in Fullerton with her brother and mother, who eventually made her way to the U.S. Despite distant memories of the dangerous trek she and her brother took years ago, she says she knows no other life than the one she's lived here in America.
August 5, 1992 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Plan to Bail Out Policyholders Filed: The New Jersey Insurance Department has filed a plan to bail out policyholders of insolvent Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. As expected, policyholders of the Newark-based company will be protected in full by state guaranty associations and a group of insurance companies, led by Prudential Insurance Co. of America and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. The plan is now before a state court judge in Trenton awaiting approval.
April 25, 2014 | By Maria L. La Ganga
DURHAM, Ore. - Oregon officials voted unanimously Friday to jettison the state's disastrous health insurance exchange and switch to the federal system, admitting disappointment and defeat in an arena where the state had been a trailblazer. With its 7-0 vote, the board of directors for Cover Oregon acknowledged that the state exchange was too expensive and too troubled to fix. Although the state has spent an estimated $248 million to get the operation up and running, it never enrolled a single private insurance customer online.
November 29, 2012
Re "Anthem plans average rate hike of 18%," Business, Nov. 28 Anthem Blue Cross' spokesman may blame his company's rising costs on the economic downturn, which he says causes people to avoid buying insurance. But as a longtime Anthem policyholder, that's not the reason I've thought about dropping coverage. Plain and simple, it's Anthem's double-digit rate increases. Nothing else I purchase increases in cost this much. Not too long ago, I received a tiny refund check because Anthem failed to meet the minimum requirement that 80% of premiums go toward medical costs.
February 15, 2010 | Brendan Borrell, Los Angeles Times
Should the government force everyone to purchase health insurance? Few topics in the healthcare debate are more controversial than the so-called individual mandate, which would fine citizens without insurance and lies at the heart of the now-stalled healthcare bills in Congress. President Barack Obama has said that a major goal of healthcare reform is to reduce the number of legal residents who are uninsured (currently estimated at 17% of adults). One strategy is for the government to require insurance to be sold at a fixed price regardless of preexisting conditions, but in that case, many people might wait until they get sick before they purchased insurance, which could bankrupt the system.
November 19, 2013 | By David Lazarus
Lu has been receiving pitches for gas-line insurance for her home. She wants to know if it's worth it. Many homeowners receive such solicitations. Sometimes they look like they were sent by a utility. Sometimes they're more straightforward about being from a private company. The nuts and bolts are usually the same. You pay a monthly fee and you'll be covered in case there's any problem with your gas line. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions But there are catches.
June 21, 2012
Re "A health mandate that is already a burden," June 19 The article on emergency room costs is right on point. Despite conservatives' angst over healthcare reform's individual mandate, the fact is that we already have a major healthcare mandate: the requirement that taxpayers and the insured pay for the uninsured, many of whom are - as Mitt Romney once said - irresponsible free riders. They don't buy insurance, but they expect others to pay for their healthcare needs.
April 23, 2014 | By David Lazarus
Kathleen says the cost of her health insurance has soared. She wants to know why -- and who she can complain to. Kathleen isn't alone. A lot of people have seen their health-insurance premiums rise in recent months, and there's a reason for this. Obamacare. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions That's not to say all such rate hikes are unjustified. In most cases, the costs are rising because the quality of the coverage is improving. The Affordable Care Act requires that all health insurance meets certain standards, and some plans are going up in cost for the simple reason that they're complying with the law. For more, plus who's taking complaints about such things, check out today's Ask Laz video.
April 22, 2014
Re "Patients lose in insurers' games," Column, April 18 David Lazarus tells of the ordeal a young female patient and her doctors went through to have breast reduction surgery covered by insurance, only to be denied. In the 1980s, I worked in a unit that reviewed appeals of medical claims denied under the group policies issued by my company. Many of the denied claims were for breast reduction. We reviewed these appeals carefully, as we recognized that the term "illness" included physical pain or limitation caused by something other than disease or injury.
April 21, 2014 | By Roger Vincent
Farmers Insurance has sold its longtime Wilshire Boulevard headquarters in Los Angeles as part of its plan to relocate to the Woodland Hills area in the San Fernando Valley. The new owner of Farmers' three-building, 10-acre campus in Mid-Wilshire is Los Angeles developer and landlord CIM Group. Farmers will lease space from CIM Group as it gradually moves to its new quarters. The phased transition began last year with the move of several employees to the new Farmers Plaza location at Warner Center.
April 19, 2014 | By Hector Becerra
A controversy-riddled water district involved in a federal corruption investigation is in danger of losing its insurance, a political black eye that could have implications for the agency and its 2 million customers. The Assn. of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority has recommended to its board that it drop the employment liability insurance for Central Basin Municipal Water District, citing the circus-like atmosphere at the agency. The authority insures hundreds of water districts across the state, and this would be only the second time in its 35-year history that it canceled coverage for a water district.
April 17, 2014 | By Howard Blume
An embattled South Bay school district leader, under investigation for his high compensation, now has a new issue to deal with: insurance premiums that should have been counted as taxable income, but were not. The Centinela Valley Union High School District is being investigated by federal and state authorities for paying Supt. Jose Fernandez $674,559 last year - a figure derived from Fernandez's own calculations. Now, it turns out that he mistakenly understated his taxable earnings.
April 17, 2014 | David Lazarus
Dr. Theodore Corwin, a plastic surgeon in Thousand Oaks for the last 30 years, has had run-ins with insurers before, but never one so aggravating - and pointless - as this. A 26-year-old woman recently came to his office complaining of back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as numbness in her hands and arms, resulting from her unusually ample bust. She's 5-foot-6, not overweight, Corwin said. She wanted a breast reduction. "There seemed to be no question that her pain and numbness was caused by her carrying this excessive weight," Corwin told me. "It seemed like a straightforward diagnosis.
April 16, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act ended this week with roughly 7.5 million people obtaining policies through the new state insurance exchanges, including more than 1.3 million at Covered California. That's an amazing and welcome result, considering how badly many of the exchanges stumbled when sign-ups began in October. Nevertheless, it's far too early to judge the success or failure of the healthcare law, given that key tests of the program's sustainability have yet to be passed.
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