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BUSINESS
August 23, 2013 | By Lisa Zamosky
After an outpatient procedure last summer, Sidney Fallender was expecting to go straight home. But when two nurses tried to get the 93-year-old Sherman Oaks resident on his feet, they discovered he was unable to walk on his own. "The doctor told her assistant to call the paramedics," Fallender recalled. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by ambulance, less than a mile from his doctor's office, for possible emergency surgery. "A couple of weeks later I got a bill for the ambulance service in the amount of almost $1,000," he says.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
April 9, 2014
Re "Is Obamacare too big to fail?," Opinion, April 6 The effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act became fantasy with the first few sign-ups, hesitant and difficult as they were. Like every sort of entitlement program, once you have any beneficiaries, getting rid of the program is political kryptonite. People continue to kick and scream about the law, about the website, about the cost of premiums, about the coverage, about finding doctors and more, but the only thing they will hate more is being told they have to start all over again with some new program.
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NATIONAL
November 30, 2012 | By Joseph Serna
In a bid to expedite money to Superstorm Sandy victims, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order tightening rules on insurance companies and relaxing rules for homeowner advocates. According to the executive order, 24 insurance companies in the state must start investigating claims filed by families affected by Sandy within six days instead of the standard 15. Companies are also prohibited from canceling policies of homeowners and small businesses in stricken areas through Dec. 15, according to the Department of Financial Services.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2014 | By Paige St. John and Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Federal corruption charges against state Sen. Leland Yee, accused of soliciting campaign donations from undercover agents who sought political favors in return, put new light on donations he received while voting on legislation affecting his contributors. California allows lawmakers to accept political donations while the Legislature is in session, so it is not unusual for money and votes to coincide. Yee has said his votes reflected his conscience, not his campaign accounts.
BUSINESS
June 5, 1985 | DEBRA WHITEFIELD, Times Staff Writer
Unocal, fresh from its battle with Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens Jr., on Tuesday sued four insurance companies for allegedly canceling liability insurance policies on Unocal's directors the day after Pickens disclosed his 7.9% interest in the Los Angeles-based oil company. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Unocal claims that the insurance companies' actions were illegal and fraudulent.
BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - State pharmacy regulators have opened an investigation into reports that CVS Caremark Corp. refilled prescriptions and billed insurance companies without patients' consent. Virginia Herold, executive officer of the California Board of Pharmacy, said Tuesday that investigators were probing complaints about the refill practices of the country's largest drugstore chain after Walgreen Co. Herold said the complaints concerning "CVS and refills" were similar to allegations raised in four Los Angeles Times reports published in the last three months.
BUSINESS
September 8, 2012 | By Lisa Zamosky, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is changing the way insurers do business. A few years from now, you may see your health plan in a different light. You might even decide you like it - even if it's not that much more affordable. But it's not all good news: Future employers are also expected to shift more costs to employees, and consumers will generally take on more of their healthcare expenses. "A greater role in cost sharing is really forcing consumers to take a hard look at the care they access," said Robin Gelburd, president of Fair Health, a New York City nonprofit that provides healthcare cost information.
OPINION
November 19, 2013 | By Harvey Rosenfield
"We didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law," an apologetic President Obama said this month, shortly after millions of Americans got notices from their health insurance companies that their current policies were going to be canceled because the policies didn't comply with the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. Worse, the federal website where people were supposed to be able to buy replacement coverage was still barely...
NATIONAL
June 28, 2012 | By David Horsey
The Supreme Court is shaking up the political chessboard today by ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - a.k.a. "Obamacare" - and there is one player who will win no matter what the decision may be: the insurance industry. When Congress was debating healthcare three years ago, health insurers were no fans of reform. They were making gobs of money with the system just as it was. For years, their lobbyists managed to kill any attempt to tinker with the status quo, and major tinkering, like instituting a Canadian-style single-payer scheme, was out of the question because it would cut them out of the healthcare equation.  Also, for sensible business reasons, insurers had never been especially keen on being forced to offer coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions or to pay for preventative care or various other benefits the Democrats and President Obama wanted as part of a healthcare reform package.
NATIONAL
December 5, 2012 | Noam N. Levey
Consumers saved nearly $1.5 billion in 2011 as a result of rules in President Obama's healthcare law that limit what insurance companies can spend on expenses unrelated to medical care, including profit, a new analysis shows. Much of those savings -- an estimated $1.1 billion -- came in rebates to consumers required because insurers had exceeded the required limits. The study by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund also suggests that the Affordable Care Act forced insurers to become more efficient by limiting their administrative expenses, a key goal of the 2010 law. In some cases, insurers passed savings on to consumers in the form of lower premiums and higher spending on medical care, the researchers found.
OPINION
March 27, 2014
Re “Couple shocked by 90% rate hikes,” Column, March 25 Change the names from “Mike and Judy Holtzman” to “Norm and Susan Zareski” and from “John Hancock” to “CalPERS,” and my wife and I could have been the subjects of David Lazarus' column on long-term care insurance and the shocking price increases. In our case, the projected increase by 2015 is 85%. This comes after several smaller increases over the last five to 10 years. What's going on here? Norm Zareski Palos Verdes Estates I felt like I was reading a bit of personal history in this column.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Kim Christensen
Scores of small businesses burned in a payroll-tax scam got some welcome news late last week when an insurance company said it would cover $3 million of their total losses. "We won't get all of our money back, but at least it looks like we will get a good chunk," said Melissa Meltzer, who with her husband, Robert, owns a Los Angeles children's fitness franchise that lost about $55,000. The Meltzers are among about 150 mostly Southern California restaurateurs, dentists, hairstylists and others who learned around Christmas that money they had deposited with LA Payroll for state and federal taxes had disappeared - as had the company's owner, Tovmas Grigoryan.
SCIENCE
March 13, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected. Please see below for details.
When the Food & Drug Administration last November ordered the Mountain View, Calif.-based firm 23andMe to stop marketing its health-related genetic test kit to consumers, the ensuing debate took on a "rage against the machine" tenor. Entrepreneurs, patients' rights advocates and genetics geeks across the country argued that the plodding, risk-averse regulators of the FDA had neither the right nor the expertise to insert themselves between people wishing to own whatever mysteries their genes contained, and a company that promised to deliver such information.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A protracted political battle over California's medical malpractice law may be coming to a new front: the voting booth. For decades, trial lawyers and consumer groups have railed against limits on certain damages in malpractice cases, arguing that such restrictions deny victims fair compensation for grisly medical mistakes. Insurance companies, doctors and other healthcare providers have been equally vigorous in defending the law, saying it is crucial to controlling costs and maintaining the availability of care.
NEWS
February 13, 2014 | By David Lauter
A Democratic candidate who has explicitly defended Obamacare holds a slight lead in a special congressional election in Florida that both parties are eyeing as a test of the political impact of the healthcare law. A poll released Thursday by the Tampa Bay Times shows Democrat Alex Sink leading her Republican opponent, David Jolly, 42% to 35% among people considered likely to vote in the March 11 special election. Another 14% of respondents said they were undecided in the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
OPINION
February 9, 2014 | By Jonathan Gruber
The recent Congressional Budget Office report on healthcare reform has lots of good news. Insurance premiums are lower than anticipated, the Affordable Care Act will cost $9 billion less than previously estimated and the provision designed to buffer insurance companies from risk will actually raise revenue, not function as any sort of federal government bailout. But the good news has not gotten much attention because the CBO also projected that, within the next several years, healthcare reform may reduce employment and worker hours by the equivalent of about 2 million full-time positions.
OPINION
December 17, 2013 | Jonah Goldberg
When will the insurers revolt? It's a question that's popping up more and more. On the surface, the question answers itself. We're talking about pinstriped insurance company executives, not Hell's Angels. One doesn't want to paint with too broad a brush, but if you were going to guess which vocations lend themselves least to revolutionary zeal, the actuary sciences rank slightly behind embalmers. Still, it's hard not to wonder how much more these people are willing to take. Even an obedient dog will bite if you kick it enough.
OPINION
February 9, 2014 | By Jonathan Gruber
The recent Congressional Budget Office report on healthcare reform has lots of good news. Insurance premiums are lower than anticipated, the Affordable Care Act will cost $9 billion less than previously estimated and the provision designed to buffer insurance companies from risk will actually raise revenue, not function as any sort of federal government bailout. But the good news has not gotten much attention because the CBO also projected that, within the next several years, healthcare reform may reduce employment and worker hours by the equivalent of about 2 million full-time positions.
BUSINESS
February 5, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher and Salvador Rodriguez
SACRAMENTO - A deadly accident involving a California ride-sharing driver has brought to light a potential downside to this new high-tech carpooling: Who pays when something goes wrong? Companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have long insisted that the insurance they provide their drivers is sufficient to cover accidents. But a recent tragedy shows the murky legal terrain in which these new taxi-like services operate. On New Year's Eve, an Uber driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl who was crossing a San Francisco street with her family.
NATIONAL
February 4, 2014 | By David Lauter
WASHINGTON - President Obama's healthcare law will reduce the ranks of the uninsured by about 13 million this year and 25 million once it is fully phased in, but will prompt some people to work less because of the availability of insurance subsidies, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The latest projections by the nonpartisan budget analysts inspired new talking points for both sides in the deeply polarized debate over the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
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