Monthly Archives: January 2017

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For Rhode Island, Interstate Health Insurance Sales Didn't Pan Out



Meg Ivatti (right), a manager at HealthSource RI, the state’;s insurance exchange, works with Dianiri Paulino to help a caller sign up for coverage in 2014.

Stephan Savoia/AP


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Stephan Savoia/AP

Meg Ivatti (right), a manager at HealthSource RI, the state’;s insurance exchange, works with Dianiri Paulino to help a caller sign up for coverage in 2014.

Stephan Savoia/AP

Tuesday is the last day of open enrollment for health coverage for 2017 under the Affordable Care Act. And while Republicans in Congress are working to repeal the law, it’;s not at all clear what might replace it.

During the campaign, President Trump suggested a nationwide insurance market that would allow insurance plans to be sold across state lines.

The idea has been kicking around for years, and some states have tried it, including Rhode Island, where it didn’;t work too well.

All Things Considered‘s Audie Cornish talked to Christopher Koller who was the Rhode Island’;s insurance commissioner when this option was offered.

On the roadblocks of allowing out-of-state health insurance options

It’;s very hard to have interstate insurance. It means that a state has to accept the rules of another regulator. That means if a Rhode Island insurer was licensed in Massachusetts, we have to say that whatever they do in Massachusetts is good for us here in Rhode Island. It also requires significant work to coordinate rules and regulations. Insurance regulators are reluctant to take on this task.

Let’;s say Rhode Island didn’;t allow limited benefit health plans. … If we were to allow insurance to come in from a state that allowed those plans, and they sold them in Rhode Island, you’;d have insurers offering policies that were against the laws and policies set forth by Rhode Island legislature. … And if insurers are going to sell across state lines, you’;ll see more variation among states which makes it harder to coordinate and for insurers to operate across state lines.

On how health insurance compares to other lines of insurance

It’;s not [comparable]. There’;s a big difference between a hospital and an auto body guy repairing your car. We have a lot more auto body guys than we have hospitals. We don’;t compel auto body makers to take care of our car if we can’;t pay for it, but we compel hospitals to treat people if they can’;t afford to pay for it. We look at health care very differently from auto insurance.

On why out-of-state health insurance can’;t compete with local

In Rhode Island we have one hospital system that has 80 percent of births in the state. [Insurers] need that in [their] ne2rk to be competitive. And I can tell you that if a national insurer walked into that hospital, and said, ‘Will you contract with us?’; the hospital would have no reason to give the insurer any discount compared to local established health plans have already. That national insurer can’;t offer a competitive product.




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Following Obamacare, many more in Palm Springs area have health insurance



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People with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act worry about the future. (December 20, 2016)
Richard Lui/The Desert Sun

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, new research shows the amount of Coachella Valley adults lacking health insurance has plummeted by more than half.

Roughly one in 6 local adults said they lacked health insurance last year, compared to one in 3 in 2013, according to results released Tuesday by the Palm Desert nonprofit HARC Inc. as part of its triennial community health survey.

The survey found 13.9 percent of locals between the ages of 18 and 64 did not have insurance, “a sharp and significant drop” from the 33.6 percent found in 2013 when HARC last conducted the survey, the agency said in its report on the results.

The information comes as newly sworn-in President Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the law also called Obamacare, and replace it with a yet unknown alternative plan to get more people insured and make health insurance more affordable. Republicans routinely describe the Affordable Care Act as a disaster and a failure because coverage costs have continued to increase and insurers have backed away from state-run insurance exchanges. Still, the law has reduced the national uninsured rate to its lowest point in history.

MORE IN HEALTH: What a repeal of Obamacare could mean for California

HARC’;s past research shows the local uninsured rate rose from 2007 to 2013 before recently dropping. 2014 was the first year Americans were able to be covered by insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.

The latest survey found that roughly a quarter of insured adults acquire coverage through their jobs, with another quarter enrolling in Medi-Cal, the state insurance plan for low-income residents known as Medicaid in other states. Common reasons adults said they did not have insurance was because they lacked documentation to prove they were legal residents or could not afford the insurance premiums.

The Coachella Valley’;s uninsured adult population totals about 30,965 people, according to HARC. Americans over 65 are eligible for Medicare.

EARLIER: Is a new hospital what the Coachella Valley needs?

Government plans mean children have access to health insurance, but the survey found nearly 5 percent of children, roughly 4,867 individuals, were uninsured. Major reasons given by parents included the loss of Medi-Cal eligibility, the cost of premiums and a change in employment.

HARC, an acronym for Health Assessment and Research for Communities, conducted its survey by phone last year, asking more than 2,500 people questions about health-care access, healthy living habits, diseases and mental health. The agency makes its research available for free online and says local charities have used the data to help secure $12.8 million in grants over the last 5 years.

Among the other findings, the HARC survey revealed that a third of valley adults report being sleep deprived and 61 percent are considered overweight or obese.

Health reporter Barrett Newkirk can be reached at (760)778-4767, barrett.newkirk@desertsun.com or on Twitter @barrettnewkirk.

Read or Share this story: http://desert.sn/2jS5pYM




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Colorado Hits Insurance Milestone Amid Big Questions



DENVER (AP) — Colorado concludes health insurance sign-ups Tuesday, but there is great uncertainty over the future of those insurance plans. The uncertainty is coloring debate at the Capitol, where lawmakers await word about how the federal health care law will change.

Colorado’s GOP-led Senate is moving a plan to undo Colorado’s state-run insurance exchange.

It’s a bill unlikely to make it to the governor’s desk because of Democratic opposition. But the measure is a good indication of how Republicans plan to chip away at Obamacare even before the new Congress even decides what to do next.

Republicans say it would save money and boost choice to dismantle Colorado’s exchange. Democrats disagree.

Meanwhile, the exchange says Colorado is on pace to set another record for insurance enrollments by the deadline Tuesday night.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)





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Here are the exact types of insurance you should buy in your 30s





Rainy day couple

Insurance protects you
when the rainy days hit.


S
Pakhrin/Flickr


By the time you reach your 30s, you should be learning how to
(responsibly) handle your money. And that means investing in the right insurance. Without it,
something as small as a trip to the dentist can land you in the
red.

Generally in your 30s, it’;s smart to be covered across 5
categories: health insurance, disability insurance, life
insurance (in specific circumstances), renter’;s insurance (if
you’;re renting), and umbrella insurance, according to Pamela
Capalad, CFP and founder of
Brunch and Budget.

But keep in mind that insurance policies are largely personal.
Everyone’;s situation and needs are different, and as your life
changes (say, you get a new job or have a baby) so should your
coverage.

One of the best things you can do to get the best coverage for
your needs is to educate yourself: Get multiple quotes, read your
policy closely before signing on, and don’;t hesitate to ask
questions when you don’;t understand.

Let’;s take a closer look at each type of insurance:

Health insurance

Without insurance, healthcare in the US is unaffordable for most
people. But even if you feel as invincible as you thought you
were in your 20s, don’;t skimp on your health insurance policy.

“Your 30s are when you need to start getting your heart checked
out regularly, your blood tests could actually start showing
abnormalities you need to treat, and the healthy (or non-healthy)
habits you’;ve started to develop are going to solidify,” Capalad
told Business Insider.

Don’;t go for the bare minimum; pony up the extra cash to find a
substantial policy that works for you.

Disability insurance

Disability insurance protects you if you become injured and are
no longer able to work. So if you’;re relying on your income to
live, it’;s a good idea to get disability insurance.

“You are more likely to need this insurance than life insurance
because disability covers inability to work and make money,”
Capalad says.

parents family
Life insurance protects
your family if anything were to happen to you.

shutterstock

Life insurance

Not everyone needs life insurance, but if you’;re married or have
kids, it protects your loved ones should anything
happen to you. It can cover anything from funeral costs to paying
off your mortgage, and it ensures that your family is taken care
of if you die. 

For most clients, Capalad recommends term life insurance policies
over whole life ones.

“You need to make sure your loved ones are financially protected
in case you die, and term insurance covers just that,” she says.

While it’;s right for some people, Capalad tends to stray away
from whole life insurance because most policies typically involve
a “cash value” component, which is usually an investment of some
kind. 

“I don’;t believe in mixing insurance and investments,” she says.
“Insurance products need to be paid into every year or the policy
will lapse and that can end up being a huge burden on you if your
life changes dramatically.”

Renter’;s insurance

Renter’;s insurance is rarely required, so it’;s often overlooked.
But if you’;re still renting, it’;s worth it the investment.

“Unfortunately, if you’;re renting right now and something happens
to the apartment, the landlord is not responsible for anything
that happens to your stuff,” Capalad says. “For $20 to $30 per
month, you can insure all your stuff against fire, burglary,
water damage (make sure you get the extra rider for this), and
you even have the option to get identity theft coverage.”

Umbrella insurance

By your 30s, you’;re likely starting to earn a significantly
higher salary than you did at 22. If you’;re a high earner or have
significant assets, umbrella insurance protects you above and
beyond your auto insurance and home and renter’;s insurance
limits.

“The most common case for [needing] umbrella insurance is if you
get into a big car accident and get involved in a lawsuit,”
Capalad explains. “Umbrella insurance will cover all legal fees
and the settlement amount, up to the policy amount. Without
umbrella insurance, you could end up owing hundreds of thousands
of dollars out of your current assets and your future
earnings.”

One last thing…

At the end of the day, insurance is there to protect
your finances, not hurt them.

“Insurance is all about transferring your risk to another entity,
like the insurance carrier. If you feel you can cover the
potential disaster or incident with [your] savings or other
assets, you can choose to opt out of insurance,” Capalad says.

Along those same lines, don’;t feel pressured to purchase
insurance that you don’;t see an immediate need for.

“Insurance agents can be pushy and it’;s always worth asking an
unbiased third party if it makes sense for your overall financial
plan,” Capalad says.

Libby Kane contributed reporting.




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An Insurance Company Just Filed to Trademark the Name 'Trumpcare'




Donald Trump in a meeting with business leaders on January 30, 2016 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Ever since Donald Trump announced his plan to run for president, random people have been filing for all kinds of trademarks that include the Trump name. Some are Trump supporters, while others are Trump resistors, but friend or foe, it’s a land grab for intellectual property rights. As you might expect, there are some tremendous entries out there—like the term Trumpcare.

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The Republicans don’t have a replacement plan for Obamacare yet. But when they do, it’s fair to assume people will probably start calling it Trumpcare. Curiously, an insurance company in South Carolina just filed to trademark that name—and now they have no clue what they plan to do with it. [Update 11:00am: To be clear, as people have pointed out on Twitter, the trademark hasn’t been accepted yet, it’s only been filed.]

Hibbits Insurance of South Carolina filed for the trademark on January 19th, the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration. I tracked down the founder of the family insurance company, and he sees the filing as just a bit of fun.

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“I’ve been in the insurance business for 45 years and everything I’ve got is for sale,” Rob Hibbits, founder of Hibbits Insurance, told me over the phone with a laugh.

Just as Obamacare was only the unofficial name of the Affordable Care Act, it’s likely that if Trumpcare sticks—and there’s no guarantee it will—it will be unofficial as well, which will probably make it difficult to profit from. The Hibbits family doesn’t seem to mind, however.

“We’re just having some fun with it,” Hibbits explained. “It’s like Obamacare. We have no idea what we’re going to do with it.”

They’re also not alone with their Trump-themed trademark squatting. There have been countless trademarks filed for things with the word “Trump” in them lately. Someone in California trademarked the term “Trump Power,” for instance, while someone in North Carolina trademarked the term “Talking Trump Doll.”

Somebody in Iowa also trademarked the term “Trump Turdz,” which the application says will be used specifically for “Stress relief exercise toys” and “Novelty toy items in the nature of fake poop.”

A screenshot from the US Patent and Trademark Office showing the trademark filed for Trump Turdz™, which is to be used as a novelty toy item (USPTO)

Here are some other recent trademarks that have been filed with the US Patent Office in recent months:

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  • Love Trumps Hate™
  • WTT? What The Trump™
  • The Trump Border Wall™
  • The People Against Donald Trump™
  • TRUMP susPENCE™
  • Trump Pence 2020™
  • I have been “tweeted” by Trump™
  • TRUMP LIFE™
  • Prayer Warriors for Trump™
  • What Would Trump Do?™
  • In Trump We Trust™
  • Trump Baby™
  • Trump Trash™
  • Trump’s Fault™
  • Dumps For Trump™
  • Trumptastic™
  • Impeach Trump™
  • Just Trump It™

It’s actually not so unusual for presidents to have their names included in trademarks. President Obama, for example, had his fair share of random people using his name—in May 2012, someone applied for the trademark “This Country Belongs to God Not to Obama.” But it’s since been abandoned, and it’s possible that many of the current “Trump” trademarks will be abandoned in time, too.

In related news, if you would like to sign up for Obamacare and still be guaranteed coverage through the end of the year, the deadline is tonight at midnight, Pacific time. It’s probably a smarter investment than trademarking something with “Trump” in it. But who knows? Dumps For Trump™ might make a killing if it’s a diaper company.





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Miracle Mic: Sound problem simply leaves totally relatable Nancy Pelosi speechless and search associated with ‘real people’

**Written by Doug Powers

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I know of a specific audio technology who ought to be awarded the particular Presidential Honor of Independence — 2 of them when the explanation in order to Pelosi has been “I needed to plug it in to discover what’s incorrect with it. ” This is therefore chock-full-O’-funny it is hard to understand where to start — come for your mic fall short and remain for the look for “real people” and essential Woody Guthrie singalong:

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It cut off just before Pelosi questioned if Rustic was nevertheless in the Navy blue and then held responsible the whole disaster on Ruskies hackers.

Pelosi and Schumer looking for the particular “real people” to talk at the end shows the Democrats’ “how approach real people” seminar actually paid off. The initial step in becoming relatable in order to “real people” is to make reference to them straight as “real people. ”

**Written by Doug Powers

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Image: Robert Evans

Victim’s Family: Guy Eyed within 6 Killers Was ‘Pure Evil’

The very first time Elaine Ramos laid eye on her cousin’;s new sweetheart she sensed he had been “pure wicked. ”

“She brought your pet to a Brand new Year’;s Event party. We opened the doorway to your pet and it was your first time inside my life the particular hairs to the back associated with my hand elevated up. The chill emerged over myself, ” Ramos said.

“I couldn’;t also reach out me to tremble his hands. He was your creepiest individual ever. inch


Image: Robert Evans
Robert Evans, also known as Larry Vanner and a thread of some other aliases, is definitely believed to possess killed a minimum of 6 individuals.