July 25, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog and the father of two children killed by a drug-abusing driver have taken the first step toward waging an initiative campaign to raise limits on medical malpractice "pain and suffering" jury awards. The proposed law, which was submitted for title and summary to the attorney general's office Thursday, needs petitions with valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters. Supporters hope to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot.
July 24, 2013 |
WellPoint Inc., the country's second-largest insurer, beat Wall Street expectations with a second-quarter profit jump of 24% as lower medical costs partly helped the Indianapolis company post strong results. "We are pleased with our second-quarter results and encouraged by the positive momentum we have across the organization," said Joseph Swedish, WellPoint's chief executive since March. This was the second earnings report that has beat analyst expectations under Swedish. He took the helm after the company's previous chief executive, Angela Braly, was ousted last year.
July 14, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - A long-dormant conflict over medical malpractice is heating up again at the state Capitol. A coalition of consumer advocates, trial lawyers and the nurses union is preparing to gather signatures for a state ballot initiative to raise the state's cap on certain medical malpractice damages. The campaign wants voters to change a 38-year-old California law that puts a $250,000 cap on the amount of money that juries can award for non-economic "pain and suffering" damages.
May 24, 2013 |
California's health insurance rates for a new state-run marketplace came in lower than expected this week, but one downside for many consumers will be far fewer doctors and hospitals to choose from. People who want UCLA Medical Center and its doctors in their health plan network next year, for instance, may have only one choice in California's exchange: Anthem Blue Cross. Another major insurer in the state-run market, Blue Shield of California, said its exchange customers will be restricted to 36% of its regular physician network statewide.
April 18, 2013 |
UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurer, said its first-quarter profit dropped 14% as medical costs climbed higher. The Minnetonka, Minn., company said its health plan membership increased 18% in the quarter to 42 million people, boosted by international growth. But UnitedHealth's biggest expense, medical costs, shot up 13% in the quarter to $22.6 billion. Analysts expressed some surprise at the increase in medical costs since some hospital chains and other medical providers have reported weaker patient volume.
March 26, 2013 |
An average day in a U.S. hospital cost $4,287 last year. It was less than $1,000 in New Zealand, France, South Africa and Spain. That's one of several cost comparisons reported Tuesday in an annual report by the International Federation of Health Plans, an industry trade group. The London organization surveyed its member companies in 12 different countries to gauge the variation in medical prices. "With the cost and availability of healthcare being an important topic around the world, it's essential that we not only examine the disparities that exist, but also why and how certain gaps do exist," said Tom Sackville, the group's chief executive.