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Insurance Rates

BUSINESS
September 13, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles insurance executive George Joseph has raised the stakes in his years-long effort to change California's landmark automobile insurance law, Proposition 103, by putting millions of dollars into a ballot initiative that would give discounts to some motorists and likely raise rates for others. On Friday, Joseph, the chairman of insurer Mercury General Corp., personally contributed $8.1 million to an initiative campaign called the 2012 Auto Insurance Discount Act, which is gathering signatures from voters with the aim of making the June ballot.
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BUSINESS
September 6, 2011 | David Lazarus
Let's say your barber is increasing the cost of haircuts. Is it fair for other barbers to require that you disclose how much you were being asked to pay before they say how much they'll charge? That hypothetical example illustrates the situation many California businesses find themselves in when they go shopping for health insurance. By routinely having to reveal the size of a rate increase to other insurers, they all but guarantee that no one will provide coverage for much less.
BUSINESS
September 1, 2011 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
A bill that would allow California officials to regulate health insurance rates for millions of consumers has died in the Legislature after forceful lobbying campaigns by insurers, healthcare providers and other groups. Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) said he is pulling his measure, AB52, because he could not muster a majority of votes in the state Senate, the final stop in a months-long effort to increase state regulators' authority over health insurance premiums. Feuer said he is putting his bill on hold until next year, when it can be taken up again.
OPINION
May 31, 2011
Opponents of a bill that would allow state regulators to reject unreasonable increases in health insurance premiums are stepping up their attacks on the measure, contending that it would push premiums even higher and make healthcare less available. These arguments are a smokescreen, and lawmakers shouldn't lose sight of the need to give consumers of health insurance the same protection they have in auto and homeowners' policies. One allegation is that the bill — AB 52, sponsored by Rep. Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles)
OPINION
May 4, 2011
Always a Marine Re " 'Dark Horse' Marines saluted," April 30 You quote Lt. Col. Jason Morris as saying: "These Marines did what Marines always do. They took the fight to the enemy and they won. " Morris said it all. I enlisted in the Corps in 1942. I was pulling a handle in a factory, and I was bored. The Marines promised action, and that they gave me. I also wonder if the Corps molded ordinary men into extraordinary ones, or whether only special men joined?
BUSINESS
April 28, 2011 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
A third major California health insurer has agreed to scale back insurance rate hikes this year for thousands of customers after postponing the increases for 60 days at the request of the state's insurance commissioner. Health insurance rates for 65,000 Californians with individual policies from Aetna Inc. will rise an average of 12.2%, beginning July 1. The increases were trimmed back from an average of 17.9% after Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones raised concerns. The reduction will save Aetna policyholders $6.7 million in premiums, a company spokeswoman said.
BUSINESS
February 22, 2011 | David Lazarus
You can understand why Health Net is raising Paula Homan's monthly insurance rate by 37%, to $1,090 from $795. She just turned 60 and, statistically speaking, will be more prone to needing costly medical treatment. Health Net and all other private insurers would quickly go out of business if they didn't charge rates commensurate with higher risk. But Homan's story isn't simply about someone being slapped with higher rates as she gets older. It also illustrates why we have to do a better job spreading healthcare costs across the entire spectrum of the population.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2011 | David Lazarus
As of Jan. 1, California requires all individual health insurance policies to be sold on a "gender-neutral" basis ? that is, without any consideration for whether you're a man or woman. Some are meeting that requirement. Others, including Anthem Blue Cross, the state's largest provider of individual coverage, appear to be playing fast and loose with ending what regulators call a discriminatory practice. "The intent of the law was that insurers would end gender-based pricing as of Jan. 1," said Janice Rocco, the deputy state insurance commissioner for health policy.
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