December 17, 2009 |
Proposals before Congress to allow insurance companies to market and sell healthcare policies nationwide are coming under attack from proponents of the current system of state-by-state oversight. A key but lesser-known facet of the healthcare bills in the House and Senate would allow insurers to register in one state but sell policies in many other states as well. That could allow insurers to ignore insurance laws in all but their home state and make it impossible for regulators in states with tough consumer protection laws to enforce them, a group of Democratic lawmakers says in a letter obtained by The Times.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 13, 2009 |
Growing old, particularly in this economy, is not for sissies. Just ask Bob and Roselee Packham of Santa Monica. Bob, 63, recently lost his job with a company that does audiovisual work at conferences and meetings. That left them with the small salary Roselee, also 63, earns in a part-time position at their synagogue. Bob continues his search for work. Light a candle for them and others like them, if you're so inclined. Not that the Packhams are broke, or anywhere near the edge of the cliff.
December 8, 2009 |
Racing to complete work on healthcare legislation before Christmas, Senate Democrats worked on a compromise Monday that could leave their bill without a new government insurance plan. Instead, Democratic lawmakers are exploring an alternative that would authorize the federal government to contract with a commercial insurer to offer benefits to millions of Americans who do not get coverage through employers. The compromise could include an expansion of Medicare that would allow some Americans as young as 55 to buy into the program, according to lawmakers and others involved in the discussions.
December 2, 2009 |
California insurance companies that own stock in some multinational companies that operate in Iran soon may have to sell their holdings or face penalties. In June, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a Republican running for governor next year, ordered 1,300 California-licensed insurers to give him information about indirect investments in Iran's nuclear, oil, defense and banking sectors. About 1,100 replied, and 200 didn't. Now, Poizner, at a news conference scheduled for this morning at Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance, is expected to detail how the insurers would be required to divest themselves of stock that he estimates is worth at least $6 billion.
November 19, 2009
Re "State health laws at risk," Nov. 16 I am glad to see an article on the damaging effects of interstate health insurance. GOP congressmen have insisted that allowing people to buy across state lines should take care of the high cost of insurance: People could "shop around." These congressmen never point out that it's the insurance industry that would benefit most from this change. Delaware became the credit card corporate center of the U.S. because it allowed high interest rate charges.
November 9, 2009 |
Under the healthcare proposals now before Congress, insurance companies would no longer be able to charge higher prices to policyholders who had diabetes or cancer, became pregnant or were severely overweight. But the far-reaching clampdown on insurers leaves one highly controversial element untouched: the issue of charging higher premiums to older policyholders than to younger, presumably healthier consumers who are less likely to file costly claims. Under the provisions of the bill passed by the House on Saturday, as well as in the probable Senate version, insurers will be able to charge middle-aged consumers at least twice as much as they do younger customers.
October 27, 2009 |
A tactic used by insurance companies to deny expensive behavioral therapy to autistic children has been deemed illegal by a Los Angeles judge. In a preliminary ruling, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant found that Kaiser Permanente's refusal to pay for a child's autism treatment because the provider was not licensed by the state runs counter to California's Mental Health Parity Act. That act requires insurers to cover care...
October 26, 2009 |
As President Obama's push for a healthcare overhaul moves toward its final act, the oft-vilified health insurance industry is on the verge of seeing a plan enacted that largely protects its financial interests. That achievement, should it stand up in the final legislation, would be the capstone of a sophisticated lobbying and strategic campaign that began even before Obama was elected president. The specifics of the healthcare legislation are still being hashed out on Capitol Hill, and key details will evolve in the days ahead.
October 19, 2009 |
The White House will not commit to healthcare legislation that would cap insurance premiums or tax benefits, taking a wait-and-see approach as congressional negotiators seek a deal, advisors said Sunday. President Obama will not demand that a final bill include a government-run plan as a way of driving down costs through competition, though that's his preference, they said. "There will be compromise. There will be legislation, and it will achieve our goals: helping people who have insurance get more security, more accountability for the insurance industry, helping people who don't have insurance get insurance they can afford, and lowering the overall cost of the system," senior advisor David Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week."
October 19, 2009 |
Despite growing frustration with the way health insurers deny medical treatments, major healthcare bills pending in Congress would give patients little new power to challenge those sometimes life-and-death decisions. "Right now, the deck is stacked against patients," said Bryan Liang, director of the Institute of Health Law Studies at California Western Law School in San Diego. "Healthcare reform is not going to change the ball game." Yet a patient's ability to fight insurers' coverage decisions could be more important than ever because Congress, in promoting cost containment and price competition, may actually add to the pressure on insurers to deny requests for treatment.