November 19, 2013 |
"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...
November 19, 2013 |
Step forward, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)! You've won the prize for cynical attacks on Obamacare. In fact, keep the trophy -- you've retired it! We're talking, of course, about your proposal to repeal the provisions of the Affordable Care Act providing for "risk corridors. " As we explained last month , risk corridors are a feature of the law designed to protect insurers that end up with a disproportionate share of sicker, costlier customers. In effect, they get a subsidy from the government to cover those patients; the law also requires firms that land more than their share of healthy, inexpensive patients to rebate some premium dollars back to the government.
October 28, 2013 |
Consumer Reports dumped some its favorite vehicles -- Toyota's Camry, RAV4 and Prius V -- from its list of recommended cars Monday because the vehicles scored poorly in an insurance industry crash test. The influential magazine said it looked at the results of what is known as the small overlap crash test in making the decision to revoke its endorsement for the vehicles. The Camry is the bestselling passenger car in the United States, and the RAV4 is one of the most popular compact sport utilities.
June 27, 2013 |
California cities lead the list of the nation's hot spots for auto theft. Eight of the top 10 metropolitan areas for car theft are in California, with Modesto ranking as the worst in the nation, according to an analysis of 2012 FBI crime data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Fresno was the second worst nationally, followed by Bakersfield and then Stockton. Yakima, Wash., was fifth. Spokane, another Washington city, was the only other city not in California to break into the top 10 list, ranking ninth.
June 18, 2013 |
Desiree Tibbets' mother died in 1995. Her father passed away four years later. Yet Tibbets, 39, never knew -- and was never informed by her parents' life insurer, Prudential -- that she was the sole beneficiary for their policies. "This is really upsetting," the Ontario resident said. "I would have thought they had an obligation to get the money to me. " At the very least, Prudential was required by California law to hand over the money to state officials three years after Tibbets' parents' account was deemed inactive.
April 3, 2013 |
What's most impressive about our highly dysfunctional heathcare system is that we're always finding clever new ways to make it worse. The latest such move comes on the Medicare front, where lawmakers had been trying to rein in costs by modestly lowering the amount that large insurers would be paid for managing Medicare Advantage plans, which are a private-sector version of the government program. The Obama administration had proposed a 2.3% reduction in payment for the plans, arguing that insurers were making plenty of profit as it was. But after the insurance industry unleashed its lobbyists and started throwing its considerable political muscle around, it ended up not with a pay cut from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but a 3.3% increase . I have no idea what the correct reimbursement rate should be. But I do know that, as the baby boomers age, Medicare represents a cash cow for insurers with Medicare Advantage plans.