Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Nov 09, 2012 After the Storm: Your Homeowner’s Claim (Your Money)
QUOTE: Many victims of Hurricane Sandy are novices when it comes to catastrophic insurance claims. So to see what sort of resistance they should expect shortly, I turned to the lawyers and adjusters-for-hire who do nothing but negotiate with insurance companies all day long.
New York Times Feb 10, 2012 N.Y. Law on Contraceptives Already in Place, and Catholic Institutions Comply
QUOTE: Some New York Catholic institutions...chose to self-insure rather than pay for contraception after New York State adopted a requirement in 2002 that any insurance policy with a prescription drug benefit provide coverage for birth control. The requirement has a narrow exemption that applies to policies provided by houses of worship, but not to most other religiously affiliated employers. But some Catholic institutions now offer health insurance plans that include contraceptive drugs among the services they cover for employees and students, though with caveats.
New York Times Jan 30, 2012 Lower-Income Families May Pay More for Auto Insurance
QUOTE: Many low-income families cannot afford car insurance, at least in part because insurers price their policies in ways that cost them more...
New York Times Jun 08, 2011 Judges Weigh Limits of Health Law’s Powers
QUOTE: The law, the Affordable Care Act, enacted in March 2010, aims to insure 32 million Americans by mandating that most people obtain health insurance, subsidizing policies for the poor and requiring that insurers accept even those with pre-existing health problems....Among 31 separate legal challenges to the law, five cases have yielded decisions on the merits from lower-level district court judges.
New York Times Apr 21, 2011 Not All Homeowners’ Policies Are Alike
QUOTE: The upshot, he said, was that such changes were “an indication that insurers are writing policies so they can deny claims whenever they want…” The National Association of Insurance Commissioners… has formed a working group to propose ways to make insurance contracts more transparent for consumers.
New York Times Feb 02, 2011 Senate Rejects Repeal of Health Care Law
QUOTE: "Senate Democrats on Wednesday defeated a bid by Republicans to repeal last year’s sweeping health care overhaul, as they successfully mounted a party-line defense of President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement."
New York Times Dec 13, 2010 Judge Voids Key Element of Obama Health Care Law
QUOTE: The judge, Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond, said the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance exceeded the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause... “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”
New York Times Jun 25, 2010 Natural Disasters Happen. Will Your Home Be Ready?
QUOTE: Getting out of your home safely is the priority in a storm. But from a financial point of view, homeowners should focus on protecting their property long before a storm is bearing down.
New York Times Jun 16, 2010 Negotiators in Congress to Discuss Rule for Brokers
QUOTE: On the surface, both the brokerage and the financial planning industries appear to agree that advisers of all stripes should be subject to a consistent fiduciary standard. But behind the scenes, the groups are divided on how exactly it will work, while the insurance industry has been opposed to the standard.
New York Times Jun 10, 2010 Bringing Comparison Shopping to the Doctor’s Office
QUOTE: there has been no easy way for consumers to shop for the best deal on a colonoscopy or blood test. A start-up financed by prominent venture capitalists and the Cleveland Clinic, Castlight Health, aims to change that by building a search engine for health care prices.
New York Times May 22, 2010 No criminal charges for executives in troubled AIG subsidiary
QUOTE: The Justice Department has closed its high-profile investigation into current and former executives of an American International Group subsidiary that was linked to the insurance giant's near collapse, sources familiar with the probe said Friday evening.
Washington Post Oct 09, 2009 Legislation targets those who bet on death: Some investors pay seniors for the right to take out life policies on them. Proposed bill in California has some industry support.
QUOTE: New efforts are underway in Sacramento to regulate how investors buy and sell existing life insurance policies, a practice that critics contend allows speculators to make money by wagering on when a person will die.
Los Angeles Times Sep 05, 2009 New Exotic Investments Emerging on Wall Street
QUOTE: some are dismayed by Wall Street’s quick return to its old ways, chasing profits with complicated new product
New York Times Sep 02, 2009 The Fix Is In: The hidden public-private cartel that sets health care prices.
QUOTE: Fundamentally, the entire payment model of American health care drives medical centers, doctors, and hospital managers to push for more fancy procedures at the expense of primary care doctors.
Slate Aug 01, 2009 Talk Radio Campaign Frightening Seniors: Provision for End-of-Life Counseling Is Described by Right as 'Death Care'
QUOTE: A campaign on conservative talk radio has sparked fear among senior citizens that the health-care bill moving through Congress will lead to end-of-life "rationing" and even "euthanasia."....But on right-leaning radio programs, religious e-mail lists and Internet blogs, the proposal has been described as "guiding you in how to die," "an ORDER from the Government to end your life," promoting "death care" and, in the words of antiabortion leader Randall Terry, an attempt to "kill Granny."
Washington Post Jul 17, 2009 Pay-as-you-drive insurance, privacy, and government mandates
QUOTE: California's new pay-as-you-drive plan has all kinds of consumer and environmental benefits, but privacy advocates like the EFF are concerned that drivers will end up forced into allowing Orwellian tracking of location and driving styles. What kind of balance should be struck between privacy and efficiency?
Ars Technica Jun 26, 2009 Getting Insurance for One’s Frailest Years
QUOTE: Long-term care insurance, something that wasn’t so common back when my dad could have bought it, seems like one solution. These policies are offered as a way to pay for a nursing home, assisted living, home health care and other costs associated with growing older. But where to begin?
New York Times Dec 18, 2008 Psychiatrists Revise the Book of Human Troubles
QUOTE: Is compulsive shopping a mental problem? Do children who continually recoil from sights and sounds suffer from sensory problems — or just need extra attention? Should a fetish be considered a mental disorder, as many now are? Panels of psychiatrists are hashing out just such questions, and their answers — to be published in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — will have consequences for insurance reimbursement, research and individuals’ psychological identity for years to come.
New York Times Nov 14, 2008 What Happens When Your Insurer Goes Under? (Your Money)
QUOTE: If you’re looking to switch insurance companies, start with a top-rated one, but also keep an eye out for too-good-to-be-true terms or brand new riders or features. They may not be truly battle-tested. Also, don’t stop paying premiums on your old policy until the new one is up and running.
New York Times Oct 29, 2008 Solutions to the health care problem
QUOTE: Is health care a right or a responsibility? During the third presidential debate, Barack Obama declared it to be a right, while John McCain called it a responsibility.
Bankrate.com Aug 28, 2008 Medical Bills You Shouldn't Pay: In a controversial practice known as "balance billing," health-care providers are going after patients for money they don't owe
QUOTE: As health-care costs continue to soar, millions of confused consumers are paying medical bills they don't actually owe. Typically this occurs when an insurance plan covers less than what a doctor, hospital, or lab service wants to be paid. The health-care provider demands the balance from the patient....this common practice, known as balance billing, often is illegal.
BusinessWeek Jul 03, 2008 Georgia Bars Insurance Firm Over Violations
QUOTE: Regulators in Georgia have barred a California company from doing business in their state, saying it violated rules adopted in 2007 to prevent the sale of misleading or unsuitable life insurance policies to military personnel.
New York Times May 07, 2008 Identity thieves prey on patients' medical records
QUOTE: Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, an advocacy group, says "sophisticated crime rings" often can make more money by stealing medical identities than by going after individuals' bank accounts or credit cards. "If you steal someone's medical identity, then multiply that by 100 or 1,000" other thefts "and do fake billings, you can make hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars," Dixon says.
USA TODAY Apr 23, 2008 High court: Do health insurance plans have conflict of interest? MetLife withdrew the long-term disability benefits of an Ohio woman after she got better.
QUOTE: On Wednesday, the justices are set to examine how judges should approach policyholder disputes involving companies that both evaluate and pay medical disability claims administered under a federal retirement income law. Do such companies operate in a conflict of interest between caring for their policyholders and enriching their shareholders? If such a conflict exists, how rigorously should federal judges examine decisions to deny benefits?
Christian Science Monitor Mar 18, 2008 Amid Brokers' Woes, Investor Accounts Are Mostly Protected
QUOTE: ...Bear's situation raises concerns about what could happen to individual investors if a major brokerage firm goes under. Fortunately, the system of regulatory rules in place should protect most investors.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Nov 23, 2007 Insurers Shift Cost Burdens to Homeowners
QUOTE: Yet some industry experts and consumer advocates say that efforts by the insurers to increase profits, after years of taking losses on home insurance, are shifting more of the burden of repairs and reconstruction to homeowners. The cutbacks in coverage, consumer advocates say, have contributed to the slow recovery of the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina and will most likely hamper recovery from the recent wildfires in California.
New York Times Oct 25, 2007 Firefighters Get Control as Questions Rise
QUOTE: The fires of October 2007 have sharpened questions about the costs of protecting the increasing numbers of people who live in remote and highly flammable areas, reawakened old jealousies that simmer across Southern California and forced new examination of the tension between the need for local emergency services and the willingness to pay for them.
New York Times Oct 23, 2007 The next battle for wildfire victims: Insurance: Consumers could get stiffed on reimbursement for razed homes, and even get dropped by their insurance companies, consumer advocates warn.
QUOTE: Consumer advocates warn that insurance firms could take a hard line with their policyholders in the wake of the wildfire disaster, by skimping on claim payments or going so far as to refuse to write new policies altogether.
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 17, 2007 Children’s Health Bill Dispute Turns to Income Limits
QUOTE: When the House votes Thursday on whether to override the veto, Republicans will insist that the answer is yes. They will express outrage that rich children could get coverage from the government while hundreds of thousands of poor children still go uninsured. Democrats say it is a total distortion for Mr. Bush and his Republican allies to say that the bill allows coverage with family incomes up to $83,000 a year.
New York Times Oct 16, 2007 Home Insurers Canceling in East
QUOTE: In the last three years, more than three million homeowners have received letters like the Grays’ as insurance companies, determined to avoid another $40 billion Katrina bill, have essentially begun to redraw the outline of the eastern United States somewhere west of the Appalachian Trail.
New York Times Oct 07, 2007 Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans
QUOTE: Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration...
New York Times Oct 01, 2007 Insurers fight law on punitive payouts
QUOTE: Insurance giants like Allstate, State Farm, Safeco and Farmers have poured more than $8 million into the referendum battle. Their goal is to convince voters to reject a law passed earlier this year that could force insurers to pay up to triple damages and lawyer fees if they fail to pay a legitimate claim and then lose in court.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 03, 2007 Insurers Bear Brunt of Anger in New Orleans
QUOTE: Insurance companies may have paid out $11 billion to Louisianians in the two years since Hurricane Katrina, but they have also become a new villain in the tales people tell about the slow recovery here. Every neighborhood is full of horror stories about companies that reneged on their promises, offered only pennies on the dollar in settlements, dribbled out payments, deliberately underestimated the costs of repairs, dropped longtime customers and sharply increased the price of coverage.
New York Times Jul 20, 2007 Senate Panel Investigates How Insurers Sell to Elderly
QUOTE: A Congressional committee has opened an investigation into companies that train sales agents to market themselves to older consumers through impressive-sounding credentials and controversial tactics.
New York Times Jul 18, 2007 Ground Zero Workers Seek Insurance Funds
QUOTE: Ailing rescue workers from the World Trade Center site filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that a $1 billion insurance fund set up after Sept. 11, 2001, violated a congressional mandate to pay their injury claims and instead spent millions of dollars fighting those claims.
Washington Post Jul 13, 2007 Micro coverage a big help for Mexico's poor: A new plan to promote microinsurance could have a ripple effect in the region.
QUOTE: Once just a safeguard for the middle and upper classes, insurance is finding its way to all sectors of Mexico. For the poorest, microinsurance policies...are giving protection to those Mexicans who work in the informal economy, often don't have bank accounts, and never dreamed of the luxury of having a Plan B.
Christian Science Monitor Jun 13, 2007 Moore Lobbies Sacramento For Healing: Filmmaker, Health Care Activists Promote ‘Sicko’ While Demanding Reforms in Industry
QUOTE: In the days before Moore’s film “Sicko” opens...the director will be the centerpiece of a campaign that melds activism, policy, politics and Hollywood into a media force like no other widely released film. .... both filmmaker and activists believe, the public could ultimately receive better, less expensive health care if they’re successful.
San Francisco Chronicle May 23, 2007 Physicians Argue Proposed Federal Settlement Could Kill Separate Case Against Blue Cross
QUOTE: The federal case centers on class action claims by doctors that the Blue Cross plans violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by conspiring to systematically minimize or reject claims for medically necessary services. That resulted in doctors getting paid less or not at all by the HMOs, the doctors claimed.
Law.com Apr 12, 2007 The High Price of Free Insurance: Deals that fund, then buy out, big life policies may shortchange seniors
QUOTE: The transactions often work like this: Insurance brokers, attorneys, and other promoters arrange for high-net-worth seniors to apply for multimillion-dollar life insurance policies paid for with loans from the promoters and other lenders. A senior isn't typically required to put up any cash or collateral aside from the policy itself. If the insured dies in the policy's first two years, the heirs are entitled to keep the death benefit so long as they repay the loan and interest. Otherwise, when the loan comes due, the policyholder must pay it off from personal funds or sell the policy to investors. If a sale generates more than what's needed to retire the loan, the senior can pocket the excess. If a sale won't cover the loan, the senior simply signs the policy over to the lender and walks away.
BusinessWeek Mar 26, 2007 Aged, Frail and Denied Care by Their Insurers
QUOTE: Tens of thousands of elderly Americans have received life-prolonging care as a result of their long-term-care policies. With more than eight million customers, such insurance is one of the many products that companies are pitching to older Americans reaching retirement. Yet thousands of policyholders say they have received only excuses about why insurers will not pay... some long-term-care insurers have developed procedures that make it difficult — if not impossible — for policyholders to get paid.
New York Times Feb 27, 2007 Insurers Prepare a Battle Strategy to Protect a Key Exemption
QUOTE: The exemption can operate only if states regulate the insurers, and lately a growing number of lawmakers have complained that some states have failed to do so. Hence the legislation -- and its companion bill in the House -- which would repeal the exemption and impose regulation by the consumer-focused Federal Trade Commission.
Washington Post Feb 15, 2007 Economic Scene: A Health Care Plan So Simple, Even Stephen Colbert Couldn’t Simplify It
QUOTE: As health economists have long known, market incentives induce private insurers to spend vast sums to avoid people who may actually require health care. This problem is mitigated (though not eliminated) by employer-provided group policies. Because Mr. Bush’s proposal would steer people toward individual policies, it would actually strengthen the incentive to shun unhealthy people.
New York Times Feb 09, 2007 Auto insurers play hardball in minor-crash claims
QUOTE: ...after a review of more than 6,000 company documents and court records, interviews with a dozen people nationwide, including former company insiders, and conversations with accident victims, the picture is clear: If you challenge the offer by some insurance companies you will be left with no option but to go to court, where you will be dragged through the wringer.
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 26, 2007 Bush Touts Health-Care Plan as Cost Control
QUOTE: "With his new health-care proposals receiving a frosty reception from Democrats on Capitol Hill, President Bush ventured here Thursday to make the case that his ideas offer the best remedy for the nation's health insurance crisis."
Washington Post Dec 01, 2006 Is the security of long-term care insurance worth the expense? Here’s what you need to know.
QUOTE: 1. The best policies are flexible, allowing you to use your benefits for a range of services.... 4. Don't use a national cost average to determine the coverage you need
AARP Nov 08, 2006 Insurer Sued for Refusing to Pay Costs of Anorexia
QUOTE: Insurers have balked at covering mental illnesses that they say do not have a proven physiological basis.
New York Times Nov 01, 2006 Update your insurance coverage
QUOTE: Insurance experts say now is the perfect time to begin reevaluating your family's financial needs. The following are some of the best bets for insurance in 2007.
Bankrate.com Oct 30, 2006 Who should insure against terrorism? Terrorism insurance promotes economic stability. But some disagree on the government's role.
QUOTE: the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) - was temporary. And while the law has been extended once, it will expire at the end of 2007. Now an ideologically charged debate has sparked about whether the federal government should have a permanent role in the terrorism insurance business. The debate comes down to who should provide such insurance: the private marketplace or a public-private partnership?
Christian Science Monitor Oct 29, 2006 Title Insurance: Shop Around for Prices
QUOTE: Insurance commissioners in states including Washington, California and Colorado advise consumers to shop around for title insurance the way they'd shop for auto insurance or other coverage. While many home buyers defer to the expert advice of a broker or lender, the commissioners warn that the advice can be biased.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Oct 17, 2006 Young and healthy? You need disability insurance
QUOTE: Employers usually provide short-term disability or sick leave. But fewer offer long-term disability for non-work-related injuries or problems, and you could be on your own if you don’t get better quickly. (Workman’s compensation, which employers are required to provide, only applies to work-related injuries. Social Security also offers a long-term disability benefit, but most financial planners say it is barely sufficient to cover basic expenses.)
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