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August 7, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
California signed contracts with 12 health insurers for its new state-run marketplace, but the Ventura County Health Care Plan unexpectedly dropped out. Covered California, which is implementing the federal healthcare law in the state, said it supported Ventura County's decision to opt out next year and that it welcomes a subsequent bid for 2015. The exchange said it will now provide three health plans -- Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California -- to Ventura County residents.
August 1, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- California's small businesses next year will have a range of competitively priced options offered by a state government health insurance exchange. The agency, Covered California , unveiled its portfolio of coverages Thursday afternoon. They include both health maintenance organizations and preferred provider networks and will be available in all parts of the state as of Jan. 1. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can buy the insurance but are not required to do so under the new federal Affordable Care Act. Californians who are not covered by employer or government programs, however, will be hit with financial penalties if they fail to obtain health insurance.
July 19, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
Half of small businesses said they would cut full-time employee's hours or replace them with part-time workers in order to avoid paying for health insurance under President Obama's healthcare law, according to a recent survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Despite the Obama Administration's one-year delay of the employer mandate to 2015, small businesses said it would negatively affect their staff, and only 30% said they were prepared for its implementation. Because of the healthcare law, about 27% intend to cut hours to reduce full-time employees, 24% plan to reduce hiring and 23% expect to reduce full-time staffers with part-time workers to avoid having to comply with the mandate.
July 19, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Let's get this out of the way right up front: I feel like a guy who's continually making excuses for a friend who repeatedly messes up. For supporters (such as myself) of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, Friday presented another occasion to make excuses. This time it was the stunning news that Anthem Blue Cross will not offer group plans to small employers through a new, subsidized marketplace being set up by Covered California -- at least not in the exchange's first year.
July 19, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross said it won't participate in California's new insurance market for small businesses. Anthem, a unit of WellPoint Inc., is California's largest insurer for small employers. This surprising move could hamper the state's ability to enroll businesses in its new exchange called Covered California that opens Jan. 1 as part of the federal healthcare law. Instead, Anthem said it will keep selling coverage to small firms outside the exchange in direct competition with the state-run market.
July 16, 2013 | By Maeve Reston and Alejandro Lazo
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making his first foray into the private sector, taking a post as a strategic advisor at the Banc of California - an aggressively expanding community bank led by specialists in high finance. Villaraigosa's part-time position advising the bank's chief executive, Steven Sugarman, as well as its board, will allow him to continue pursuing speaking engagements, an affiliation with a university or think tank, and a potential run for governor when Gov. Jerry Brown steps aside . The former mayor declined to reveal his salary or how his compensation would be structured.
July 9, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
Small-business optimism fell in June, a turnaround from a slight increase in May, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business. The group's economic index fell to 93.5, from 94.4 in May, which was its second-highest reading since the recession started. Job-creation plans increased slightly in June, the group reported, but expectations for improved business conditions remained negative. “The economy remains 'bifurcated,' with the big firms producing most of the GDP growth with little help from small business,” Bill Dunkelberg, the group's chief economist, said in a statement.
July 3, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
Despite making progress, the federal government fell short of its 2012 small-business contracting goals, according to figures released Tuesday. U.S. agencies awarded 22.25% of federal contracts to small firms, just shy of the goal of 23%, the Small Business Administration said. But it was an increase from 21.65% in 2011. The government did exceed its contract goals for small businesses owned by people of color and disabled veterans. However, it missed its goals for small businesses owned by women and those in historically underserved business zones.
July 1, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Less than two years after Congress enacted a long-awaited overhaul of patent law, President Obama is pushing lawmakers to address more problems in the patent system. This time the target is "patent trolls," companies that exist solely to buy obscure patents and then collect money from manufacturers, retailers and even consumers for allegedly infringing them. The challenge is how to stop the trolls without leaving small inventors at the mercy of big manufacturers. The U.S. patent system is almost as old as the republic, dating back to 1790.
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