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HEALTH
December 19, 2011 | By Lisa Zamosky, Special to the Los Angeles Times
I just received a letter from my cardiologist's medical group saying they will be charging a $350 annual fee for administrative costs. This is the first time I've seen a medical group charging an annual fee to its patients. Is this what the bad economy has come to? The fee appears exorbitant and discriminatory against less wealthy individuals. Though charging for administrative services isn't yet widely common, the practice is growing, says James Doherty, an attorney who works with physician practices in Columbia, Md. There are a variety of reasons why, adds Dr. Glen Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians: the bad economy, a downward trend in physician reimbursement and a growing list of administrative tasks heaped onto physician practices by insurance companies.
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HEALTH
August 23, 2013 | By Karen Ravn
Victoria Barzilai opened her mouth wide so the doctor could look at her sore throat. Not exactly a remarkable event, except that Barzilai was at home and the doctor was hundreds of miles away. Feeling too sick to drag herself to the school health center, the third-year UC Davis student had opted for a cyber-doctor visit, the 21st century version of a house call. A number of websites offer face-to-face consultations of the virtual kind to anyone with a credit card and access to a webcam-equipped computer.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 31, 1990
The supporters of Proposition 103 were foolish to believe that any action short of recalling insurance commissioner Roxani Gillespie would provide relief from rising insurance companies. Her lame-duck actions reveal that the system doesn't have checks and balances, rather it favors the checks that don't bounce and large insurance companies' account balances. J. BRIAN AMSTER, Newport Beach
BUSINESS
July 13, 1991 | Associated Press
New York state is investigating auto insurance companies for failing to give required discounts to consumers who have safety and anti-theft devices on their cars, officials said Friday. Attorney General Robert Abrams said car owners have been cheated out of as much as $30 million in New York--and more nationally--by insurance companies that advertise discounts and then don't give them.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 19, 1988
Isn't it time for our government to start an InsureCare program so that, in addition to health care, people can buy automobile, household and other insurance at a reasonable, affordable price? If the government made only half the profit made by the insurance companies, it would go a long way toward paying off the deficit. So let the insurance companies in the private sector move to Siberia! MONROE RUBINGER Beverly Hills
OPINION
August 17, 2012 | By Alain Enthoven
The California Health Benefits Exchange, established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to offer subsidized private coverage to most of the uninsured, represents an excellent opportunity to improve the quality and cost of healthcare in this state. The exchange, which expects to start enrolling Californians in October 2013 with coverage to take effect in January 2014, creates a market in which informed consumers can choose the healthcare system that suits them best, and in which competing health plans have a strong incentive to improve value for money spent by consumers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 10, 2012 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
The state of California is likely to receive tens of millions of dollars more from insurance companies to clean up the Stringfellow Acid Pits toxic waste dump as a result of a ruling Thursday by the California Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the high court said consecutive insurance policies by various companies required each to pay up to their policy limits for damage caused by the Riverside County waste site. The companies wanted to restrict liability to just a share of the damage that occurred during the time each insurer's policy was in effect.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2004
Former financier Martin Frankel was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for bilking seven insurance companies out of more than $200 million. Frankel, 50, had pleaded guilty in New Haven, Conn., to 24 federal charges of fraud and racketeering. He admitted plotting to loot seven insurance companies in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee that mostly sold funeral policies to the poor.
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