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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

US Government Extends insurance Enrollment deadline by 24 hours

The deadline for registration for health insurance coverage on healthcare.gov has been extended by the Obama Government by 1 day. The deadline used be 11:59 p.m. last Monday.

Times said that on Monday there's a huge traffic on Healthcare.gov and the Whitehouse wants to be sure that people who wants coverage can have one.

Monday, December 23 had been the deadline for selecting a plan, it will take effect on the 1st day of the new year 2014.

Penalty: Under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, you will have to pay $95 penalty or 1% of income in 2014 if you don't have health insurance coverage. It is set to rise to $695 or 2% of income by 2016.

To avoid the penalty, you will need to enroll in a plan by February 15 or qualify for an exemption from the penalty.






Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All!


insurance, finance, business, care, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Christmas, Joy, love, fun, Christmas season, logo, happy, Season Greetings

Christmas season is the time for Peace and love
I wish you a peaceful Christmas
Filled with love and joy
Merry Christmas To you

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Honda" Front Ranks the Insurance Industry 2014 Safety List

Honda Accord

Honda Motor Company got the first place on the yearly insurance industry ranking of the safest new vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released the ranking on Thursday December 19, 2013, they award 39 vehicles top safety ratings for 2014. It went down by 70%, last year they have 130 vehicles on the list.

This year the vehicles needed to top the crash test scores and to have a high level front crash prevention system like automatic braking for it to be able to receive the highest classification. It's rank either "Top Safety Pick" or "op Safety Pick +".

Of the 39 vehicles, 22 go the top classification while the 12 receive the classification just below it. 

Honda Motor Co got 8 vehicles on the list making them the automaker with the most vehicle on the list. 6 of their vehicles go the "Top Safety Pick +":

1. Honda Accord 2-door
2. Honda Accord 4-door
3. Honda Civic 4-door *hybrid version
4. Acura RL
5. Acura MDX
6. Honda Odyssey
7. Honda Civic 2-door
8. Acura TL


This is the list used by car shoppers who buy vehicles with high safety ratings. It is also use for advertising by the automakers.

The institute indicate that the "Top Safety Pick +" are those with optional front crash prevention systems, if they didn't get that rank they still met the Top Safety Pick criteria.

Here is the Full List:

2014 2014 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+
  1. Honda Civic 4-door *hybrid version
  2. Mazda 3 - built after October 2013
  3. Toyota Prius - built after November 2013
  4. Ford Fusion
  5. Honda Accord 2-door
  6. Honda Accord 4-door
  7. Mazda 6
  8. Subaru Legacy
  9. Subaru Outback
  10. Infiniti Q50
  11. Lincoln MKZ
  12. Volvo S60
  13. Acura RL
  14. Volvo S80
  15. Mazda CX-5 - built after October 2013
  16. Mitsubishi Outlander
  17. Subaru Forester
  18. Toyota Highlander
  19. Acura MDX
  20. Mercedes-Benz M-Class - built after August 2013
  21. Volvo XC60
  22. Honda Odyssey
2014 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK
  1. Chevrolet Spark
  2. Dodge Dart
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Honda Civic 2-door
  5. Hyundai Elantra
  6. Scion tC
  7. Subaru Impreza
  8. Subaru XV Crosstrek
  9. Chrysler 200 4-door
  10. Dodge Avenger
  11. Kia Optima
  12. Nissan Altima
  13. Toyota Camry - built after November 2013
  14. Volkswagen Passat
  15. Acura TL
  16. Mitsubushi Outlander Sport
  17. Volvo XC90
*Front crash prevention isn't available on nonhybrid versions of the Civic.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Obamacare Enrollment Stats

Obamacare enrollment statistics released last Wednesday showed that 364,682 people in the US have already signed up for private coverage as of November 30, 2013. It is still less than 1/3 of the 1.2 million people officials had originally projected would enroll nationwide by the end of November.

The Obama government also projected that 7 million consumers would sign up for coverage during the first year. The government and insurers targeting desperately healthy, young adults to convince them to enroll to pay for the costs of paying for older, sicker consumers. Obamacare is designed to get money from people who value their health. 

Critics says that "The president's health care law (Obamacare) has driven up costs, reduced choices and resulted in the cancellation of over 5 million health care plans that the president promised the American people they could keep," Rep. Congressman Jim Renacci said. "Though we know that problems with the president's health care law run far deeper than a broken website, it also is our responsibility to ensure that we reduce the negative effects of the law. It is time for the administration to update Congress and the American people on its efforts to correct serious back-end issues within its government-run health care system that could potentially be disastrous for insurers and Americans everywhere."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Small Businesses cancelling Health Insurance plans for Employees


The US government promised that HealthCare.gov will be ready and run without glitch by the end of this week. However, CBS News reports that employees form small businesses are losing their insurance coverage. 

The government estimated that millions of workers would be dropped from their work insurance under the Affordable Care Act, it's already happening now.

Nancy Clark owns a small business in New Hampshire, she was featured last year in a White House video blog, said that things are not right for her plan. She said that her insurer will increase her rates by 39: starting next year. Insurance that will cost her an additional $30,000.

Because of this she decided to terminate the insurance she's offered her 8 employees and turn to Obamacare, but there's been one problem after another.

“We’re experiencing technical difficulties. That's the nature of the beast,” said Clark.

Betsy Atkinson owns a business in Virginia Beach is also cancelling company insurance because her plan doesn't meet new Obamacare requirements and she can't afford to offer employees one that does.

“They’re going to have to go find their own insurance,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chao: Health Insurance Marketplace is Still Incomplete



Henry Chao the deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that the federal health insurance marketplace is not yet complete. He said that they are still building the “back office systems." 

“we still have to build the financial management aspects of the system, which includes our accounting system and payment system and reconciliation system,” he said. "This part is still being developed and will be tested."

He admitted Tuesday that up to 40 percent of IT systems supporting the exchange still need to be built.

The Obama government completed the online system which allowed consumers to apply for insurance, compare health plans and enroll however, many parts of the system were still being repaired and were not performing as well as they had hoped.

“It’s not that it’s not working,” Chao told lawmakers at an Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing. “It’s still being developed and tested.”

Financial management tools are not yet done, he said, particularly the process that will deliver payments to insurers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Goodbye Trans Fat?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said last Thursday it will phase out trans fats that
would eliminate artery-clogging from our diet. This will give manufacturers and restaurant some problems and may cause prices to shoot up but will be beneficial to our health.

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of FDA said that this move will prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year. But critics say that this is just a political move since the real threat to our health is not trans fat but the increased use of pesticides on our food and genetically engineered foods. Trans fats are identified and labeled on our food but in the case for genetically engineered foods and pesticide laden food no information are given to consumers.

Chris Shanahan of Frost & Sullivan market research firm said that if FDA bans trans fat "in the long term, prices of certain foods will increase and different foods will be discontinued."


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Check out my friends blog http://maverikmaven.blogspot.com/ the blog covers a variety of topics including consumer goods.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Will You Buy Twitter IPO shares?

New York Stock Exchange welcomes Twitter on Thursday November 7, 2013. They will have the symbol TWTR and their share is priced at $26 each to raise around $2.1 billion.

Twitter is part of our everyday life for most of us and it has a lot of media attention which is why there is a great demand for its shares. However, be very cautious remember Facebook? a lot of people were burned by it. The best thing to do is wait. There's no guarantee the stock will trade higher, and if you would look at several recent social media IPOs, the stocks actually dropped like facebook.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Infographics on Why Others Can't Keep Their Old Insurance Plans

Infographics, Obamacare, insurance, health insurance, Affordable Care Act

Infographics, Obamacare, insurance, health insurance, Affordable Care Act
Infographics, Obamacare, insurance, health insurance, Affordable Care Act

Check out the Infographics done by NYTimes, which explains why some people can't keep their insurance plans. It is very detailed and easy to comprehend. President Barrack Obama promised that people can keep their old insurance plan under the Obamacare, however the truth is most need to buy a new plan.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Obamacare website Utter Failure

Obamacare website, Obamacare website problems, Obamacare website fixed, Obamacare website bugs, healthcare.gov
Obamacare website has been a total disappointment from start. When healthcare.gov was opened to public on October 1, 2013 it crashed and the government blamed the overwhelming visitors of the site. It's now fixed, but there are new unresolved problems particularly in name registration, eligibility questions and in the most important step of buying insurance. It led users to cryptic error messages or enduring long waits when trying to sign up.

The number of Obamacare website problems since the website opened has been deeply embarrassing for the White House. The drawbacks have called into question whether the Obama administration is capable of implementing the complex policy they seems to be unaware of the scope of the problems when the exchange sites opened.

Even Obama acknowledges problems:

“Nobody is madder than me about the fact that the website is not working as well as it should, which means it’s gonna get fixed,” Obama said.

He even turn to an ex-adviser Jeffrey Zients, he is the former acting director of the White House budget office.

A person close to the project said that "No way it was properly tested before it went live" since the website is full of bugs and junk computer codes.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thousand of Users are Visiting Online insurance Exchanges

Online insurance Exchanges, Obamacare, affordable care act, health exchanges
FRANKFORT, KY. - More than 160,000 users have visited the kynect.ky.gov to check and review information about health insurance coverage. The online visitors also have viewed more than 2.6 million web pages on kynect since Kentucky launched the health benefit exchange last Tuesday.

Gov. Steve Beshear's office said in a news release Monday that more than 6,080 individuals and/or families are now enrolled in new affordable health care coverage that will go into effect on Jan. 1.

As of 4pm Monday, 142,242 people had completed the pre-screening process to determine if they qualify for subsidies and discounts for insurance policies or to determine if they qualify for Medicaid.

About 19,372 applications for health care coverage have been started and 12,955 are now completed.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchanges now Open



Insurance Marketplace or Exchanges is now open. Affordable Care Act or the Obamacare gives you only two choices pay a penalty or buy health insurance. The insurance marketplaces are for those who are not insured and those who buy their own insurance (not provided by the employer).

If you already have insurance from work or through Medicare you don't need this exchanges. The Open Enrollment is from October 1, 2013 and closes on March 31, 2014.

Here are the points to remember:

• the Coverage purchased through the marketplace starts as soon as January 1, 2014. Because many of ObamaCare's benefits, rights and protections will take effect on 2014.

• There are three types of cost assistance available through marketplaces: Advanced premium tax credits which lower your monthly premium costs, cost sharing subsidies which lower your out-of-pocket costs for copays, coinsurance and deductibles, and Medicaid. Learn more about ObamaCare Cost Assistance.

• Cost assistance through the marketplace is available to Americans who make less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level ($45,960 for an individual $94,200 for a family of four).

• The 2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines are used to determine cost assistance on the marketplace.

• Young adults can now stay on their parents health insurance plans until they are 26.

• Plans are presented in four categories – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum – to make comparing them easier.

The Insurance plans that are in the Marketplace are offered by private companies. They cover the same core set of benefits called essential health benefits. Insurance companies cannnot turn you away or charge you more for preexisting medical condition or illness. They must cover treatments for these conditions. Plans can't charge women more than men for the same plan. Many preventive services are covered at no cost to you. However, despite of these benefits many still decided to opt out.

The Opt Out Penalty is $95 fine per adult; $47.50 penalty per child; and a maximum of $235, per family. That, or 1% of your adjusted gross income; whichever is greater. It is also set to increase yearly. The penalty is still much cheaper than forking out  $300-$500 a month for insurance.


Friday, September 27, 2013

U.S. Companies that Offers Pet Insurance as Benefits

Some U.S. Companies now offer pet insurance as a benefit to their employees. Fortune 500 companies that offer pet insurance as a benefit are Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Amazon (AMZN), Procter & Gamble (PG) and Ford Motor (F). Others companies are Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Staples (SPLS).

Chipotle began offering the benefit in 2002. Covering one pet costs $10 to $57 a month, depending on coverage plans and deductible. But only about 100 of the eatery chain's 3,000 eligible employees get the insurance because its mostly younger employees have other financial priorities.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fed may send mortgage rates higher

Experts in housing markets are closlyh monitoring the Federal Reserve as they nervously await word on whether the agency will start pulling back on its controversial stimulus program, known as quantitative easing according to a report on CCN.

The Fed has been buying $85 billion in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds a month to help support the economy since September last year. The purchases have been credited for the historically low mortgage rates seen this year, which ultimately helped stimulate home sales and boost prices.

Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae said that the Fed is expected to announce that it will scale back on its bond-buying program which is expected to cause rates to slowly rise.

The mortgage market has already factored in a modest cutback in the Fed's purchases. Mortgage rates have risen 1.2 percentage points since May when Fed chairman Ben Bernanke mentioned the possibility of reducing the agency's bond-buying program. In June, he noted that the tapering could begin as early as September, if the economic recovery continued on course.

However, even if the Fed started cutting back on its bond purchases this month, many don't expect the cuts to be sizable. "The recovery has been weaker the past couple of months than what the Fed had been talking about," said Duncan. "It would be a surprise if they act aggressively."

Source CNN Money

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Important terms for Consumers on Obamacare

Obamacare, health care, care, health

With the major health care overhaul by President Barack Obama's Obamacare new laws will have its own jargon. Here are terms consumers need to get familiar with as prepared by the Associated Press:

Affordable Care Act — The most common formal name for the health care law. Its full title is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Opponents still deride the law as "Obamacare," but Obama himself has embraced that term, saying it shows he cares.

Employer mandate — A federal requirement that companies with 50 or more workers pay a penalty to the government if one of their workers obtains taxpayer subsidized coverage through the law. Delayed one year to Jan. 1, 2015. Intended to keep companies from "dumping" employees into public coverage.

Individual mandate — A federal requirement that virtually everyone in the United States has health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by buying his own plan. Effective Jan. 1, 2014. Exemptions for financial hardship and religious objections. Does not apply to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. People who ignore the mandate will face fines from Internal Revenue Service.

Essential health benefits — Basic health benefits that most health insurance plans will have to cover starting in 2014. They include office visits, emergency services, hospitalization, rehab care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, prescriptions, lab tests, prevention, maternal and newborn care, and pediatric care.

Marketplaces — Online health insurance markets in each state where consumers can get private health insurance, subsidized by the government. They used to be called "exchanges," but the feds decided that was too confusing and started calling them "marketplaces." Still, some states stuck with the original name. Open enrollment starts Oct. 1, and the coverage takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. Fifteen states and Washington, D.C., are running their own marketplaces, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The Obama administration is taking the lead in 35 states, in some cases partnering with the state government. All the marketplaces can be accessed online through healthcare.gov. Small businesses will have their own marketplaces.

Medicaid expansion — The health care law also expands the federal-state safety-net program to cover more low-income people. Medicaid is expected to account for about half the 25 million uninsured people who, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, eventually will gain coverage through the law. The federal government will pay the full cost of the new coverage from 2014-2016, then phase down to 90 percent. Twenty-four states plus Washington, D.C., have accepted the expansion, according to AP's count. Eight states are still considering it. And 18 have rejected it, including Texas and Florida, which have many uninsured residents. Many adults below the poverty level will remain uninsured in the refusing states. A state can change its decision at any time, but the full federal payment for the expansion is only available through 2016.

Metal levels —The four levels of coverage available through exchange plans, called bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Bronze plans feature the lowest monthly premiums, but cover only 60 percent of average costs. Platinum plans have higher premiums and cover 90 percent of expected costs.

Pre-existing condition — An ongoing or past health problem. Currently insurers can use pre-existing conditions to deny or restrict coverage, or charge more. Those practices will be barred by federal law starting Jan. 1, 2014, and insurers will have to accept all applicants.

Tax credits — Government health insurance subsidies for individuals will come in the form of tax credits. The money will be paid directly to the consumer's health plan, to help cover premiums. The subsidies are on a sliding scale based on income. Each year, people will have to "true up" with the IRS to make sure they got the right amount. People who receive too generous a tax credit may owe money back to the government.

Tax penalty — The fine levied on individuals who disregard the individual insurance mandate. It starts small and gets bigger in subsequent years. In 2014 it's $95 or 1 percent of taxable income. By 2016, it's $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income, whichever is greater. Thereafter it's adjusted for inflation.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment,Unemployment insurance

Unemployment Insurance also known as Unemployment benefits, unemployment compensation, or the dole are social welfare payments made by the state or other authorized bodies to unemployed people. Benefits may be based on a compulsory para-governmental insurance system. Depending on the jurisdiction and the status of the person, those sums may be small, covering only basic needs, or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the previous earned salary.

Unemployment benefits are generally given only to those registering as unemployed, and often on conditions ensuring that they seek work and do not currently have a job.

In some countries, a significant proportion of unemployment benefits are distributed by trade/labour unions, an arrangement known as the Ghent system.

The idea of unemployment insurance in the United States originated in Wisconsin in 1932. There are about 50 state unemployment insurance programs plus one each in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and United States Virgin Islands. Through the Social Security Act of 1935, the federal government of the United States effectively encouraged the individual states to adopt unemployment insurance plans.

Are you eligible?

People that are out of work who do not qualify for unemployment insurance include part-time, temporary, and self-employed workers, and school graduates.

Here are reasons unemployment benefits would be declined:

1. not being able or available to work
2. voluntary separation from work without a good cause
3. discharge connected to misconduct
4. refusal of suitable work
5. unemployment resulting from a labor dispute
6. Failing a drug test
7. Committing fraud
8. Receiving severance pay
9. Getting freelance assignments

Generally, the worker must be unemployed through no fault of his/her own. The unemployed person must also meet state requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time (referred to as a “base period”) to be eligible for benefits. In most states, the base period is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time that the claim is filed. Unemployment benefits are based on reported covered quarterly earnings. The amount of earnings and the number of quarters worked are used to determine the length and value of the unemployment benefit. The average weekly payment is $293.

As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in February 2009, many unemployed people can receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits; this may depend on State legislation. Before the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the maximum number of weeks allowed was 26.

Quitting does not automatically disqualifies you from unemployment compensation. You can quit and still get benefits.

Maximum weekly benefits range from a low of about $200 in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota and Arizona to a high of about $600 in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington.

Whether you can quit and still qualify for unemployment benefits also varies from state to state. So before you quit, check the laws in your state.

If you quit because your employer basically leaves you no other option, you may still be able to collect unemployment benefits. Here are some reasons for quitting that may fall into this category:

1. Lack of work. If your employer stops giving you work, or cuts your hours severely, you’ll probably still qualify for unemployment benefits. Some employers try this as a trick to avoid paying increased premiums. Apply anyway.

2. Constructive discharge. If working conditions are so intolerable that no reasonable person would stay, you may have been constructively discharged, which means that unemployment will treat quitting the same as if you were fired without cause. Constructive discharge is really tough to prove, so make sure your situation is severe before you quit. Sexual harassment, dangerous working conditions that the company won’t fix, or demanding that you participate in illegal activities may justify quitting and still qualify you for unemployment. Demotion, changes in job duties and pay cuts may also be constructive discharge.

3. Medical reasons. In some states, having a medical condition that keeps you from working won’t disqualify you. In others, it will, or you might not qualify unless work caused or aggravated the medical condition.

4. Domestic violence. Some states allow employees who must quit because of domestic violence to qualify for unemployment benefits.

5 .Caring for a family member who is ill. Some states allow employees who must quit to care for a seriously ill family member to qualify.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Zurich Insurance Finance Chief Wauthier Found Dead

Zurich Insurance Finance Chief Wauthier, Dead

Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN), the biggest Swiss insurer, announced that their Chief Financial Officer Pierre Wauthier,53 was found dead at his home yesterday.

Police officers are investigating how he died, the company said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. They declined to disclose further details.  Officials found no indications of third-party involvement in the death, Marcel Schlatter, a police spokesman said.

“The board of directors, group executive committee and all of our colleagues are deeply saddened and pass on our condolences to the family and relatives,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn said in the statement.

The police ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death, according to Schlatter. He said that Wauthier lived in Walchwil, a municipality with about 3,591 residents on the eastern shore of Lake Zug.
KPMG, JPMorgan

Wauthier, who held a master’s degree in international finance from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales and a Masters in private law from the Sorbonne University in Paris, began his career at KPMG in 1982, according to Zurich Insurance’s website. He worked for two years at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) in 1985, before taking on the job at Zurich Insurance.

Zurich Insurance, based in Zurich, said on Aug. 15 that floods in central Europe and tornadoes in the U.S. contributed to a 27 percent decline in second-quarter net income to $789 million, missing analysts’ estimates.

The shares fell 1.8 percent to 239 francs by 10:48 a.m. in Zurich, valuing the company at 35.4 billion francs ($38 billion).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

States foresee more insurance customers

WASHINGTON — USA TODAY made a survey and shows that from the 19 states operating health insurance exchanges to help the uninsured find coverage, at least 8.5 million will use the exchanges to buy insurance. That would far outstrip the federal government's estimate of 7 million new customers for all 50 states under the 2010 health care law.

USA TODAY contacted the 50 states, and 19 had estimates for how many of their uninsured residents they expect will buy through the exchanges. About 48 million Americans were uninsured in 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Under the law, also known as the Affordable Care Act, people without health insurance provided by their employers, the government or their parents will have to buy insurance on the exchanges, which are websites where they can compare prices and choose policies. They will pay a fine if they decline to buy the insurance.

To stay financially viable, insurers need healthy people to help round out the costs of those with chronic conditions. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office did its own research to determine 7 million people would enroll for the 2014 exchanges.

California alone said it expected to sign up 5.3 million people.

To diversify the health of the pool, the Department of Health and Human Services has targeted three states where half of uninsured people ages 18 to 35 live: Texas, Florida and California.

The states said they made their estimates based on how many individuals are uninsured and aren't likely to become insured by an employer, what insurers in their states expect and conversations with HHS about reasonable goals.

Source: USA Today

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

White House Reaffirms Housing Importance for Consumers and Government's Role in Protecting Middle Class Renters and Homeowners

President Obama outlined a coordinated set of initiatives to build on the housing economy’s emerging recovery which is an important step in reaffirming housing’s importance to American consumers, whether they are renters or owners.

Consumer Federation of America said in a statement released after the speech in Phoenix, AZ: “Access to sustainable, affordable home finance has been a fundamental supporting pillar of the American dream,” said Barry Zigas, CFA’s Director of Housing Policy. “President Obama’s speech reaffirmed that fact.  The policies he outlined are important, positive steps that will help Americans build economic and family security through a strong and resilient housing economy.”

Importantly, Zigas noted, Obama’s speech recognized that while the overall economy shows steady improvement, and housing prices have stabilized or even increased significantly in many markets, millions of American homeowners remain mired in the wreckage left by a spree of unregulated, unscrupulous speculation and reckless behavior by Wall Street banks, mortgage brokers and investors. The speech promised much needed continuation of existing rescue programs like HAMP and HARP, and increased focus on spending the $7.6 billion provided to the so-called “hardest hit states” with the highest rates of home foreclosures.

“The banking system has been too slow to rectify the mistakes that led to the financial crisis,” Zigas said.  “We applaud the fact that more than 1 million homeowners have received mortgage modifications under HAMP, and several million more reduced their mortgage payments through refinancing into lower interest rates.  But much more remains to be done, and today’s speech gives those families renewed hope that help is on the way.”

The speech also focused on the high rent burdens facing increasing numbers of renters, including middle income wage earners.  Families’ ability to save for important life events, including education, retirement and the down payment for a home is compromised if their rent eats up most of their paycheck.

“The Low Income Housing Tax Credit and rental assistance programs are critically important in our current economy, where stagnant wages and persistent under-employment challenge even the most dedicated housing developers,” Zigas said.  “Support for existing programs, and expanding them, even in a constrained budget environment, is an investment in critical economic and social infrastructure.”

Access to Mortgage Credit

Millions of consumers today are locked out of mortgage financing because lenders and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have reacted to the mortgage crisis by going too far in restricting credit.  The President’s call for clarity in underwriting and credit decisions is important, but needs to be accompanied by an equally forceful message to the lending community that the billions of dollars extended by the federal government to restore their balance sheets must be coupled with a commitment by those same banks to help everyday American families with sustainable, affordable loans.

“Credit today is far tighter than it was when homeownership rates were rising and responsible, sustainable credit was available through fully documented, long term fixed rate loans in the 1990’s and early 2000’s,” Zigas said.  “Lenders need to get back in the market with those products.  Today’s speech is a good step, but this dance requires both partners to get on the floor.”

Mortgage Finance Reform

Today’s speech is the Administration’s first policy proposal on the future of the US mortgage finance system since its White Paper in 2011.  That paper outlined a series of options, but did not endorse a specific approach.

“Today’s speech puts the Administration squarely behind the important role that government must play in assuring that consumers of the future enjoy the same access to affordable, sustainable mortgage credit that their parents and grandparents did,” Zigas said.  “The President’s announced proposals track closely those of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s housing commission, and proposals made by many organizations in recent years, including CFA,” Zigas noted.  (Zigas serves as a member of the BPC housing commission.)  “Together with emerging bipartisan proposals like that offered in the Senate by Sens Corker, Warner and their colleagues today’s announcement should accelerate the important work of restoring a durable housing finance structure for US consumers.”

FHFA Leadership

CFA strongly supports the President’s call for swift action on the pending nomination of Rep. Mel Watt to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  “As overseer of the two biggest sources of mortgage financing for consumers today,” Zigas said, “it is long past time when the agency should be led by an appointed and confirmed Director.  CFA joins the  White House in urging Senate action on the pending nomination.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bullying - Info-graphics

Bullying, cyberbullying, bully

Bullying, cyberbullying, bully

Bullying is a reality that our children face today and it's not just bullying in school but also bullying on the Internet called cyberbullying.

Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate the victims. It is an unwanted, aggressive behavior. It can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power.

It may include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of class, race, religion, gender, sexuality, appearance, behavior, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target".

Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Check out these info-graphics on bullying:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Car Insurance Companies charge more depending on your Education or Work Status

Car Insurance Companies,Car Insurance company

Insurance companies consider a lot of factors to determine the amount of premium you need pay. A report said that some companies includes your education level and work status and may charge you more for it.

According to a report by the Consumer Federation of America, companies like GEICO, Progressive, Liberty Mutual and Farmers will charge you more if you only have a high school diploma or work a "blue collar" job.

Geico, for instance, often charges a Seattle-based factory worker with only a high school degree $870 a year for insurance. Which is 45 percent higher than the $599 it would likely charges a plant supervisor with a college degree.

Comparison from different states: 45% more in Seattle ($870 vs. $599), 40% more in Hartford ($1299 vs. $926), 33% more in Oakland ($922 vs. $693), 23% more in Louisville ($2200 vs. $1791), 21% more in Chicago ($1013 vs. $840), and 20% more in Baltimore ($1971 vs. $1647).

The cost of owning a car just keeps on increasing with skyrocketing gas prices and exorbitant repair fees, now you need to pay more on insurance premiums based on your education and work status.

Consumer Federation of America Report (PDF)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Diabetes linked to disability risk

A research shows that adults with diabetes have a higher risk of physical disability, it was reported on BBC News.

Older people with diabetes are 50% to 80% more likely to develop a physical disability than those without, according to a review of 26 studies.

There were no distinction made between type-1 and type-2 diabetes, but most of the data involved people over the age of 65, who are more likely to have type-2.

Ensuring all people with diabetes have access to the right care is hugely important.

The research is published in the journal the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Disability was defined as impaired mobility and the inability to perform normal activities such as bathing, eating, shopping or using transport.

The Australian researchers say the reasons behind the link are unclear, but high blood sugar levels may lead to muscle damage over time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pre-diabetics needs to visit optometrist to prevent Blindness

Pre-diabetics,optometrist,Blindness,Diabetes,Diabetic retinopathy

If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, which means that you have high levels of blood sugar but not enough to be considered diabetes. It is important to visit your optometrist as quickly as possible to avoid Diabetic retinopathy or blindness.

Patients with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and many already have diabetic symptoms.

Diabetic retinopathy, is retinopathy (damage to the retina) caused by complications of diabetes, which can eventually lead to blindness.

Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) stated on their website that more than 18.2 million people in the US have diabetes and Diabetic retinopathy now affects 5 million Americans and causes 24,000 new cases of blindness yearly.
VSP doctor, Anastasios Fokas, O.D said that it is important for people with pre-diabetes to visit their optometrist.

“I see patients all the time who aren’t managing their disease well, and that’s just tragic,” says Dr. Fokas. “Their vision could have been saved, if only they’d managed their illness better.”

There are three major treatments for people with diabetic retinopathy that are very effective in reducing vision loss from this disease. In fact, even people with advanced retinopathy have a 90 percent chance of keeping their vision when they get treatment before the retina is severely damaged. These three treatments are laser surgery, injection of corticosteroids or Anti-VEGF into the eye, and vitrectomy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Obamacare: Smokers May Get A Break from penalties

Obamacare Smokers,obamacare,smoke

Penalties against smokers may be limited due to a  glitch caused by conflicting rules. President Obama’s universal health care program includes penalties for smokers. However, a computer glitch may temporarily limit the penalty fees.

Obamacare will be implemented in 2014. As the start date nears, glitches and other issues have caused the delay of several provisions.

A provisions imposes fines on employers who fail to provide health coverage to employees. Last week it was announced that those fines will be delayed for one year, as officials review the complex provision.

Another provision of Obamacare, smokers will be charged higher premiums based on age. However, the computer program has failed to separate the categories. The glitch would charge smokers of all ages the same penalty.

This means that older smokers will get a break on the penalty amount. However, younger smokers may pay more than anticipated.

The current penalties are up to 50 percent more than the premiums paid by non-smokers. Additionally, smokers are exempt from tax credits that will offset health care costs for non-smokers.

As it stands, the standard insurance plan will cost a 64-year-old non-smoker $9,000 per year. In contrast, a smoker will pay over $13,000 for the same policy.

It could take up to one year to resolve the glitch. Officials have not announced postponement of the penalties for smokers.

As reported by ABQ Journal, Robert Laszewski, a consultant with the health care industry, is concerned that glitches and confusion will continue to cause delays:

“This was an administration that was telling us everything was under control … Everything was going to be fine. Suddenly this kind of stuff is cropping up every few days.”

As officials continue to organize the details for the anticipated 2014 launch, other glitches are sure to surface. However, with Obamacare, smokers may get a temporary break.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/838474/obamacare-smokers-may-get-a-break/#J0so30dR6qemqiTc.99

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel insurance

The purpose of Travel insurance is to cover medical expenses, financial default of travel suppliers, and other losses incurred while traveling, either within one's own country, or internationally. Temporary travel insurance can usually be arranged at the time of the booking of a trip to cover exactly the duration of that trip, or a "multi-trip" policy can cover an unlimited number of trips within a set time frame. Coverage varies, and can be purchased to include higher risk items such as "winter sports".

Terrorism is excluded except for the Emergency Medical and other expenses section, Personal Accident section and Hijack section (where cover is provided as part of the policy). If the terrorist act involves a nuclear device or a chemical or biological agent, there is no cover at all.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Illinois Bill would raise car insurance liability coverage to $25,000

In Illinois, State legislation would raise the minimum for first time since 1989 and is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature. The bill will raise the required liability coverage for auto insurance to $25,000 from $20,000. The legislation was passed by the Illinois General Assembly. In 1989, Illinois lawmakers voted to require all motorists to carry a minimum of auto liability insurance, which helps pay for injuries to others.

The raise will definitely help people who don't have health insurance. At first, they were suppose to raise it to $50,000 but they are worried that lower-income consumers would not be able to afford their car insurance and would rather drive without any insurance.

Based on Insurance Information Institute data, 15% of Illinois motorists drive without insurance.

Rep. Laura Fine said, "Ending up at $25,000 was a product of negotiation." "We tried to strike a balance between financially protecting the injured while keeping premium rates low for those who purchase the minimum coverage," she added.

The increase in minimum liability coverage will cost Illinois consumers who currently have basic car insurance coverage an additional $75 a year.

The Consumer Federation of America says raising the minimums will exacerbate problems for people who can barely afford insurance now.

Another downside is that additional $5,000 is a small amount in dealing with today's medical costs. Based on the consumer price index, $20,000 in 1989 dollars is equivalent to $37,000 today.

At the same time, consumers are becoming responsible for a bigger share of their medical costs.

A TransUnion Healthcare report released last month found that patients' average out-of-pocket costs on key medical procedures has grown nearly 22 percent in the last year, to $2,042.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Direct Line Insurance to fire 2,000 employees because of sluggish insurance market

Reuters reports that in Britain Direct Line Insurance Group Plc (DLGD.L) a motor insurer, is planning to axe about 2,000 positions, joining fellow insurers looking to trim costs and boost profits in a sluggish and competitive market.

The company will said that the move would allow it to save a further 130 million pounds ($200 million) annually by 2014, targeting a cost-base of about 1 billion pounds in 2014.

Direct Line Insurance is Britain's biggest car insurer, they have about 15,000 employees, and has been cutting costs and avoiding high-risk drivers since 2010 to protect itself from stiff competition, and new regulation in the British motor insurance market.

Several insurers, including Aviva Plc (AV.L), AXA (AXAF.PA) and Standard Life (SL.L), have cut their workforce in recent months in an effort to reduce costs and prepare for new regulations that include higher capital requirements.

The company said the job cuts announced on Wednesday would include head office and support positions.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Insurance Claims for flood damage in Germany may reach $8 billion

flood damage,Germany, insurance

The claims for flood damage in Germany may reach $8 billion or €6 billion the catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said. Germany suffered the worst flooding in a decade due to heavy heavy rainfall in late May and early June that drenched Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Other countries affected are Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. 

"Floodwaters hit Germany hardest," director of Air Worldwide in Germany Yorn Tatge said. "While the worst damage has already occurred, this flood event is ongoing." They also noted that the overall, non-insured damage to the economy would be much higher.

Germany on Wednesday agreed the financing of an 8-billion-euro fund to help repair damage, with both the federal government and states footing the bill.

Catastrophe modeling firms use computers to cross-reference data on insured values with geographical, construction and meteorological information.

This is the reason why flood insurance is really important. In the US, only 20% of American homes at risk for floods are covered by flood insurance. Most private insurers do not insure against the peril of flood due to the prevalence of adverse selection, which is the purchase of insurance by persons most affected by the specific peril of flood.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Obamacare unaffordable for low-wage workers

Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare health care law may be unaffordable for many low-wage workers, which includes big chain restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other businesses.

Yes, the law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer affordable coverage or they will be penalized. However, some policy experts say businesses can get off the hook while the employees could still face a federal requirement to get health insurance.

Still many are expected to remain uninsured and would rather risk being penalized because the law states that  workers with an offer of "affordable" workplace coverage are not entitled to new tax credits for private insurance, which could be a better deal for those on the lower income middle class.

Ron Pollack, president of Families USA (liberal advocacy group) said: "Some people may not gain the benefit of affordable employer coverage. It is an imperfection in the new law. The new law is a big step in the right direction, but it is not perfect, and it will require future improvements."

Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union said: "The provision is an avoidance opportunity for big businesses."

The law requires businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to offer coverage that meets certain basic standards and costs no more than 9.5 percent of an employee's income. Failure to do so means fines for the employer.

For an employee making $21,000 a year, 9.5 percent of their income could mean premiums as high as $1,995 and the insurance would still be considered affordable.

Even a premium of $1,000 close to the current average for employee-only coverage could be unaffordable for someone stretching earnings in the low $20,000's.

With such a small income, "there is just not any left over for health insurance," said Shannon Demaree, head of actuarial services for the Lockton Benefit Group. "What the government is requiring employers to do isn't really something their low-paid employees want."

Based in Kansas City, Mo., Lockton is an insurance broker and benefits consultant that caters to many medium-sized businesses affected by the health care law. Actuaries like Demaree specialize in cost estimates.
Another thing to keep in mind: premiums wouldn't be the only expense for employees. For a basic plan, they could also face an annual deductible amounting to $3,000 or so, before insurance starts paying.

"If you make $20,000, are you really going to buy that?" asked Tracy Watts, health care reform leader at Mercer, a major benefits consulting firm.

And low-wage workers making more than about $15,900 won't be eligible for the law's Medicaid expansion, shutting down another possibility for getting covered.

It's not exactly the picture the administration has painted. The president portrays his health care law as economic relief for struggling workers.

"Let's make sure that everybody who is out there working hard and doing the right thing, that they're not going to go bankrupt because they get sick, that they're going to have health care they can count on," Obama said in a Chicago appearance last summer during the presidential campaign. "And we got that done."

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/coverage-may-unaffordable-low-wage-workers-151922273.html

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dangers Texting While Driving

DWI: Driving While Intexticated
Courtesy of: OnlineSchools.com

Texting-while-driving can result to deadly consequences. Before an accident, drivers usually spend five seconds looking at their phone, which is enough time to cover more than the length of a football field going normal highway speeds, according to the Auto-Owners Insurance release.

According to a survey conducted by End Distracted Driving, 52 percent of drivers admit that they still text and drive today. This is true even though 93 percent of those same drivers agreed that texting and driving is dangerous.

The distraction involved in completing one text while driving is the equivalent of consuming four alcoholic beverages while driving.

There is a significant increase rate of accidents, injuries and deaths that have occurred because of texting and driving. Check out the infographic above, eliminating this practice will save lives and promote safe driving practice.

*Site to visit: Worldwide Insurance Database

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rate Shock in Insurance Premiums by 64-146%

Rate Shock,Obamacare,raise premiums

A news report warns of a Rate Shock on Insurance Premiums by 64-146% in California. The serious flaw of Obamacare is it has too much regulations and mandates that shoot up the cost of insurance for people who buy it on their own.

The impact of this problem will be felt when the law’s main provisions kick in on January 1, 2014, leading many to worry about health insurance “rate shock.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to pay Health Insurance without bank accounts?

If you are a person who don't trust banks or don't want to deal with their unreasonable bank charges like overdrafts then you are in trouble, you can't pay your health insurance without a bank account.

Next January federal health law will require Americans to carry health insurance, but most health plans accepts credit cards for first month's premium then pay the succeeding monthly premiums with check or an electronic funds transfer from a checking account. To those who don't have bank accounts this will be a real problem.

I think the government should require the health insurance providers to implement a reasonable payment options for everyone.

You can read more about it here. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/17/184814772/latest-health-hurdle-buying-insurance-without-a-bank-account

Robert Hurdman's Financial Thinking

We have found Robert Hurdman's Financial Thinking blog very useful. He talks about finances and savings and he gives valuable advice on money and investments. I personally don't know a lot about investing and the stock market so I'll be sure to bookmark his site so I can learn more. You can check him out at Financial Thinking.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What does Standard Home Insurance cover?


Standard Home Insurance,insurance,home insurance,molds,damages
Unplanned home repairs can ruin your budget, especially if it is a major repair. It can break you financially. A standard home insurance policy will not cover mold damage or earthquake damage.

A Standard Home Insurance covers damage and loss of the structure of your home in the event of hail, hurricane, lightening or fire (structural components). Standard Home Insurance policies do not cover mold damage due to neglected maintenance, such as faucet or pipe that are leaking. In case of flood and earthquake, a separate policy is required. The location of the property is taken into account if it is prone to natural disasters. Other detached buildings on your property like garages or gazebo get the typical coverage of 10%.

The Personal Property coverage included in a standard home insurance policy covers your personal items (jewelry, cash, collections, clothing) and household contents (furniture) if they are stolen or destroyed by fire or hurricane. It will only cover to a certain extent like $5,000 for personal belongings. You will need to pay more to get additional coverage.

Automobile insurance policy will cover the loss of your car or damage to it, but will not cover personal belongings that are inside like briefcase, laptop, suitcase, purse, wallet, GPS, iPod, sunglasses etc.

Home insurance covers theft of your personal belongings from a vehicle, even if the crime occurs away from your property. Whether you are a homeowner, condo owner, or tenant, personal items will generally be covered under your property insurance policy.

The personal property that is temporarily away from your home is usually insured for up to 10% of the amount of your personal property insurance or $1,500 or whichever is greater.

Personal liability protects you or your covered family members if you injure another person or cause damage to someone else's property. It's also known as third-party insurance because it protects you if a third party files a claim against you. Personal liability insurance can be purchased as part of a package policy. Pets are also included in this portion of your policy protecting you against bodily harm or property damage that they may cause to others.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Simplified Homeowner Insurance Policies

No more gibberish insurance talks and hiding conditions by using terms ordinary people are unfamiliar with, and that are usually in the middle of a thousand-word fine print.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Health Insurance Importance


Health Insurance Importance, health, good health, insurance
Our health is really important, take it for granted to save a few dollars, and the repercussions will hunt you in the future. It will cost you a lot and will surely drill holes in your pocket. Furthermore, if you cannot work due to your health, how will you earn for yourself and your family?

Just like money, we never really have a true idea of its value until we lose it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Obamacare supporters admit insurance premium will rise

Obamacare, Obamacare raise premiums, insurance premiums,obama
The federal health law that will take effect next year is expected to raise insurance premiums, especially for people who purchase their own insurance, expert said.

The law will mandate that plans increase their minimum benefits, and it will ban insurers from weeding out people already diagnosed with illnesses.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said to reporters that "Some people purchasing new insurance policies for themselves this fall could see premiums rise because of requirements in the health-care law."

Monday, April 15, 2013

ACE USA Expands Coverage to Address Growing Trend of Hospital and Physician Integration

ACE USA Medical Risk Group introduce a wide range of physician professional liability insurance products and coverage solutions in support of hospitals and healthcare facilities for their employed physicians, and their owned or affiliated medical groups. Product offerings include companion primary physician professional liability policies, fronting capabilities for primary physician professional liability policies, reinsurance of physician professional liability policies issued by healthcare facility captives, and uniquely structured integrated hospital and physician insurance program designs that may include separate or shared retentions and policy limits.

The physician professional liability insurance coverages are available for hospitals, healthcare facilities and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) providing insurance or alternative risk financing solutions to their employed physicians, or owned or affiliated medical groups.

Product Highlights of the companion Primary Physicians Professional Liability policy* include:

  • Separate limits of liability each physician and corporate entity
  • Defense expense in addition to policy limits
  • First dollar coverage (no deductible) or deductible options
  • Individual tail coverage or group rolling tail coverage for departed physicians
  • Consent to settle provision
  • Professional Legal & Audit Defense Coverage
  • Full claims capabilities to support companion primary physician primary policies

Benefits of an integrated or coordinated hospital / physician insurance program include:

  • Common insurance or reinsurance partner for both the healthcare system and their employed, owned or affiliated physician groups
  • Joint or coordinated defense provides greater control and cost containment of joint claims
  • Coordinated risk management support services
  • Integrating physician insurance into an integrated self-insurance or alternative risk financing mechanism may offer lower cost compared to traditional insurance
  • Backed by the ACE Group’s financial strength and excellent reputation

*This coverage is currently not available for stand-alone medical groups that are not owned by or affiliated with an ACE insured hospital or healthcare system.

Baby Stuck in Hospital Because of Insurance Company


A 3-month old baby boy in Nebraska was separated from his parents for 100 days because their insurance company refuses to pay for their baby to be moved.

The baby is in Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, while his parents live in Lincoln, Nebraska, and have been forced to commute to see their son every other weekend.

Julius James Frack was born on December 30, 2012 weighing one pound, six ounces and was only 12 inches long.

Jennifer and David Frack weren't expecting the baby to arrive soon but had complication with her pregnancy while visiting family in Sydney, Nebraska, after Christmas.

Doctocs in Sydney said that the mom needed needed specialized care and arranged for her to be flown to Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver. Because Julius was so small, he was rushed to the hospital’s NICU.   

The mom healed in a few weeks and was allowed to go home but the baby was too fragile for long drive. Howerver, the parents need to go back to work. And since December, the parents has been spending too much money to drive back and forth from Lincoln to Denver every other weekend.

Fracks asked to have Julius moved since the commute is too much. Doctors told the parents that the baby needs to be transferred by helicopter and doctors at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital helped them fill out paperwork but their insurance company denied the request.

The Fracks’ insurance company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, released a statement that said, “In general, when our nurses and physician reviewers look at cases such as this, the decision to cover a service is based on whether a ‘medical necessity’ exists,” said Dr. David Filipi, Chief Medical Director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebrask

source: http://kdvr.com/2013/04/14/parents-separated-from-baby-for-100-days-over-insurance-decision/#ooid=9kOHB5YTqKX8XQn55UgtnqXYpYBIbLXu

Monday, April 8, 2013

Small Businesses would rather pay Penalty than offer Health Insurance

Obamacare


The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of companies would rather pay government's penalty to break the law and it will be cheaper for them than following it.

Under the Obamacare provision that goes into effect next year, employers with 50 or more full-time workers will be required to provide coverage for employees who work an average of 30 or more hours a week in a given month. An alternative to that mandate is for business owners to pay a $2,000 penalty for each full-time worker over a 30-employee threshold.

Rick Levi owns Consolidated Management based in Des Moines, Iowa that runs cafeterias at schools, offices and jails in 10 states. The law would require him to offer insurance to all of his 102 full-time employees starting in January. Assuming all of them take the coverage, Mr. Levi says the cost of premiums could exceed $500,000 per year if every employee takes the insurance plan. The penalty will cost him around $144,000.

"I've never made a profit in any year of the company that has surpassed that amount," says Mr. Levi, 62 years old. "I don't make enough money."

He says it makes more sense to drop insurance entirely and pay a penalty of about $144,000.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Using Medicaid Dollars for Private Insurance

The Obama administration and Republican officials in several states are exploring ways to redirect federal money intended to expand Medicaid, the main public insurance program for the poor, and use it instead to buy private health insurance for Medicaid recipients. The approach could have important benefits for beneficiaries and for the future of health care reform. But the idea also carries big risks. Federal officials will need to enforce strict conditions before agreeing to any redirection of Medicaid dollars that were originally intended to enlarge the Medicaid rolls.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that the states could decide whether they want to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more of the uninsured; they can’t be required to do so, as the health reform law intended.

The law provides hugely attractive financial incentives for states to add more people. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of caring for newly eligible enrollees for the first three years, tapering to 90 percent in later years. Even so, some state officials, mostly Republicans, are proposing that the very generous federal financing for expansion be used instead to pay the premiums of poor people on new electronic health care exchanges, created by the reform law, where people can shop for subsidized private insurance.

Private insurance obtained on the exchanges could help poor beneficiaries in several ways. They would be less vulnerable to disruptions every time their incomes fluctuated above or below the boundary line that determines whether they are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, where they would see one array of doctors, or slightly better off and eligible for subsidized insurance on the exchanges, where they might see a completely different group of doctors. Providers would be paid the same amount whether treating a Medicaid recipient or a privately insured patient, potentially creating a wider network of doctors for Medicaid patients. And some poor residents of states resistant to expansion, who would otherwise be frozen out by a glitch in the reform law, could gain coverage through the exchanges.

But the main benefit would be political in that it could engage Republicans in the whole health reform effort, make it easier to carry out the law and reduce the appetite among Congressional Republicans to gut the law.

There are at least two big caveats. The switch would be likely to increase costs for the federal government, and ultimately state governments, because private insurance is almost always more costly than Medicaid. That could force a cutback in the number of people covered because the money won’t go as far. There is also a risk that poor people will end up with fewer benefits and higher cost-sharing on the exchanges despite regulations that should prohibit that.

Federal officials must be vigilant in ensuring that recipients on the exchanges receive the same services and same cost-sharing limits that they would under an expanded Medicaid program. State officials who don’t want to play by those rules would be better off using the generous federal dollars as originally intended — to expand their Medicaid programs to cover many more of their uninsured residents.

nytimes.com

Monday, March 25, 2013

Board meets on Texas Wind Insurance Assoc. future

AUSTIN, TX (AP)- The board of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association will have a meeting to determine the future of the agency that provides coverage to homeowners along the coast.

Better known as TWIA, the association has been in serious financial trouble for years. The board is considering putting TWIA into receivership at a meeting on Monday.

The association provides insurance to 266,000 homeowners and businesses who cannot find commercial insurance because of the risk of hurricanes or severe storms. TWIA relies on all of the insurance companies in Texas to help finance it.

But following major hurricanes and mismanagement, many question whether TWIA can provide coverage if another hurricane strikes. The Legislature overhauled the association in 2011, but the problems persist. The board has been searching for a way to become more solvent. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tennessee: Pit Bull Insurance Law Would Require Owners To Purchase Policies For Dangerous Dogs

Pit Bull

In Tennessee, a proposed pit bull insurance law would require owners of the controversial dogs to purchase a $25,000 policy for liability against possible attacks.

The proposal has brought controversy among those who work with and own pit bulls. Wendy Jackson, founder of East Tennessee Pit Bull Rescue, said pit bulls are given an unfair reputation and don’t deserve to be targeted.

Much of the problem comes from the owners, Jackson said. Pit bulls tend to attract abusive owners drawn to the “thug mentality” and image, she said.

“Yes, this type of dog is a powerful dog and obviously if they were motivated to do harm they could,” Jackson told WBIR in Tennessee.  “The issue should be controlling people who control the dogs.”

The Tennessee legislature will discuss the pit bull insurance law next week. The bill is sponsored by Representative Brenda Gilmore of Nashville, who is seeking to define “vicious dog” as any animal with a history of causing injury or death to another person, or any dog that “belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog.”

Critics view the pit bull insurance law as a way to price poorer residents out of owning pit bulls.

“I don’t think you can legislate these types of issues. What we really focus on is responsible ownership, pet owners who have trained animals, and owners who restrain their animals appropriately,” said Jeff Ashin, CEO of the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville. “Legislation often comes with unintended consequences.”

The proposal comes in the wake of some high-profile pit bull attacks in the past week. In New Orleans, three dogs attacked a 54-year-old woman in her home, leaving her in critical condition after losing both arms, an ear, an eye, and part of her scalp.

A second attack took place in the Bronx, where a pit bull mauled a young girl in an attack captured on surveillance video.

The pit bull insurance is not the only effort to legislate dangerous animals. In Indiana, fatal pit bull attack on a 7-year-old boy has prompted local officials to try to overturn a state law and allow pit bulls to be banned in the city.

inquisitr.com

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mortgage Life Insurance

Mortgage Life Insurance


Mortgage protection insurance or mortgage life insurance is a form of insurance specifically designed to protect a repayment mortgage. If the policyholder were to die while the mortgage life insurance was in force, the policy would pay out a capital sum that will be just sufficient to repay the outstanding mortgage.

Mortgage life insurance is supposed to protect the borrower's ability to repay the mortgage for the lifetime of the mortgage. This is in contrast to Private mortgage insurance, which is meant to protect the lender against the risk of default on the part of the borrower.

The beneficiary of this type of policy is almost always the mortgage company.

Mortgage life insurance disadvantages: The premium you pay is often lumped into the home loan, which means you are paying finance charges on the premium. A healthy nonsmoker can usually beat the price of mortgage life insurance by as much as 50%. Another disadvantage is the insurance stays with the house. In other words, it's not transferable the way regular life insurance is.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Best insurance companies of 2013

Insure.com customer satisfaction report shows which auto, home, health and life insurance companies have the most-satisfied customers.

USAA, American General and Kaiser Permanente earned the highest scores from customers in their respective categories in Insure.com’s annual customer satisfaction study.

Overall satisfaction with insurers’ customer service went up for everyone except auto insurers, where satisfaction levels held steady. And while satisfaction with life insurers went up, they still dropped below health insurers this year for customer service satisfaction.

5,600 insurance customers nationwide were asked to rate their satisfaction with their auto, home, health and life insurance companies.

Here are percentages of customers saying they are “completely” or “somewhat” satisfied with their insurers’ customer service:

Auto insurance customers: 80 percent (2012 results: 80 percent).
Home insurance customers: 76 percent (2012 results: 73 percent).
Life insurance customers:  67 percent (2012 results: 63 percent).
Health insurance customers: 71 percent (2012 results: 61 percent).

For overall scores, companies were judged on five measurements:

Customer service
Claims satisfaction
Value for price paid
Percent who plan to renew
Percent who would recommend the company
       (Life insurance scores did not include claims or renewal questions.)

Winners of Insure.com's 2013 People's Choice Award
(Overall scores out of 100)


Auto insurance

USAA    96.0
Erie Insurance    91.7
Auto-Owners Insurance    88.1

Home insurance

USAA    96.0
Amica Mutual    90.4
Country Insurance    90.2

Life insurance

American General    83.2
Jackson National    80.6
Allstate    80.5

Health insurance

Kaiser Permanente    83.6
BCBS of Illinois    83.3
Humana    83.1

Complete Rankings check here

Monday, February 25, 2013

NY State's Gun Owner Insurance

Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz introduced Assembly Bill A03908 that would require all gun owners in the state of New York to buy at least $1 million in liability insurance to cover potential damages caused by their guns.

If the bill pass as a law all current New York gun owners would have 30 days to purchase the required liability insurance or face confiscation of the their guns. Future gun buyers would be required to produce proof of insurance at the time of the sale.

The bill also states that in the event a gun is stolen or lost, the owner is legally responsible for all damages resulting from the use of that gun until the theft or loss is reported to police.

Estimates of the costs of a $1 million gun owner liability insurance policy in the media have ranged from a few hundred dollars to as much as $2,000 per year.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Top 5 US States With the Highest Life insurance policies-to-population ratio

State    Policies-to-population ratio
1. Alabama    138.5%
2. Louisiana    110.0%
3. Mississippi    86.7%
4. South Carolina    86.1%
5. District of Columbia    79.7%

Alabama has the highest life insurance policies-to-population ratio in the U.S. with 5.3 million life insurance policies under the population age 15 and older, the state leads the nation with a coverage ratio of 138.5 percent.

Source the American Council of Life Insurers’ 2012 fact book and census data.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Storm victims in Long Island Co-op residents struggles

Long Islanders co-op residents struggle to rebuild their homes despite of insurance. They say restrictions on insurance coverage and federal disaster aid have left them without enough money for repairs.

Legislators are pushing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give more help to co-op owners.

Residents typically cannot buy flood insurance to fully cover items such as cabinets, major appliances and floors because of the legal structure of co-ops, where residents do not own their living space. In that case, any common property repairs not covered by insurance or grants may need to be covered out of co-ops' funds or through extra charges that shouldered by residents, on top of the cost of repairing their own units.

FEMA, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, the nation's primary flood insurance provider, acknowledges that co-ops could face significant financial shortfalls. If a co-op building valued at $10 million were declared a total loss after a natural disaster, and had the maximum $250,000 in flood insurance, "there would be a huge exposure there that would not be covered," an agency spokesman said. But the federal law governing the flood insurance program imposes the limits, the spokesman said.

Four Reasons Your Car makes your insurance Cost More

Reasons Your Car makes your insurance Cost More


Here's a good infographics from progressive that explains why your car affects your insurance rate.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Waldo Fire Victims Bullied By Insurance Companies

Waldo Fire Victims Bullied By Insurance Companies

Homeowners affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire feel like they are being bullied by their insurance companies.

Over 100 affected residents were present at a meeting Saturday and there are heated arguments and emotional outburst. A lot stood up for their families and spoke their minds about mistreatment of their fire insurance settlement claims.

The fire victims say they feel abused, neglected and bullied by their insurance companies.

"I've been intimidated, I've been harassed, I’ve been ignored and in the meantime I just want my home back to the pre-loss condition that my policy states I should have,” said Mountain Shadows homeowner Judy Brinkman. “I’m not asking for anything, I don’t want any money from the insurance companies that I am not owed.”

The meeting addresses damage settlements, repairs, property replacement and customer service issues.

Families and homeowners were very emotional as they talked about health issues, improper damage evaluations, and unresponsive adjusters. Many said they are not being properly paid for their losses.

“Everyday you wipe off the dust, you wipe off the suit and ashes. And it got so hot inside the house, that our windows are separated from the house itself” said Peregrine Homeowner Julie Pruitt.

“They've like we don't have to cover that, or the other comment is always, prove that is from the fire. We're just in circular arguments, frustration, anger, resentment, there's just now where to go. You just feel like such a victim,” said Brinkman.

The main issues brought up were : suit, ash and smoke damage, exterior house damage, insurance companies failure to investigate properly, non-responsive insurance adjusters, no time extensions, family health issues caused by the fire, damage not evaluated properly, under insured, suffering from additional costs, not being paid for their losses. Many asked for DORA to investigate their insurance companies, and how they are handling their claims.

“I’m a Vietnam veteran, I went over to Vietnam to protect the people of the United States, and I did my duty. That’s why DORA has to do their duty, and state representatives have to do their duty,” said Mountain Shadows homeowner Ron Haberkorn.

Families who just want to move on after the Waldo Canyon Fire, say the insurance woes are taking a huge emotional toll.

"People just need to be made whole and let people move on, but it's hard to move on when you don't have closure on getting things fixed, and having to struggle through that every day,” said Pruitt.

The newly formed Catastrophic Insurance Complaints in Colorado (CICIC) Association held the meeting at the Colorado Springs Together Facility.

Residents had the chance to offer their issues in order to form some solutions in front of the Colorado Division of Insurance (DORA) as well as local and state leaders and legislators.

If you need help with your Waldo insurance issues, contact CICIC at 719-660-8158.

source kktv


Monday, January 14, 2013

Wedding Insurance

Wedding is expensive and difficult to prepare it takes time, money and sacrifice to set up a wedding to your liking. To make sure it is not ruined by a natural or man-made unfortunate event, it's advisable to have the event insured.

A wedding insurance policy covers cancellation or rescheduling of a marriage due to natural calamities like floods, earthquakes and cyclones, or fire and burglary. It also covers damage to the wedding venue or house of the policyholder due to any such mishap. There are separate covers in the policy and you can opt for the one you want.

You could extend the coverage to include the death of the bride, groom or certain relatives, or an injury to them that may result in their being hospitalised, in case it happens within 10 days prior to the wedding. There's also a public liability cover, which insures any injury to guests due to an accident at the venue. You could also take a cover for jewellery, wedding clothes and cash kept in a safe at home or the venue.

A wedding insurance policy does not cover cancellation of nuptials due to a dispute between the marriage parties, or the bride and groom. Some companies do not extend a cover if the bride or groom is unable to reach the venue due to civil unrest.

Reliance Life Insurance appoints Anup Rau as new CEO

The Board of Directors of Reliance Life Insurance Company (RLIC), a part of Reliance CapitalBSE 3.18 % Limited, today announced the appointment of Mr Anup Rau as the new CEO of the company, subject to IRDA approval.

Rau succeeds Malay Ghosh, President and Executive Director, Reliance Life Insurance.

"Mr Malay Ghosh has played a pivotal role in building the company in challenging times. He also played a key role in forging our relationship with Nippon Life Insurance, the largest private life insurer in Japan, as a strategic partner in the company. He will continue to guide the company as a member on the Board," said Sam Ghosh, CEO, Reliance Capital.

"I am happy to announce the appointment of Anup Rau as the new CEO of Reliance Life Insurance with immediate effect. Rau has extensive experience in the Indian Life Insurance industry and we look to strengthen our leadership position in the life insurance business with him at the helm", added Ghosh. Rau will also be on the Board of Reliance Life Insurance.

Anup Rau, aged 39 years, joins Reliance Life Insurance from HDFC Life Insurance and brings with him over 17 years of industry experience. As the Head of Sales and Distribution in HDFC Life he was responsible for managing Sales Commercials, Distribution Operations and Sales Support.