Controversy surrounds the California health insurance industry

Blue Shield of California has had a tumultuous year when it comes to insurance rates. Earlier this year, the insurer sought steep rate hikes that drew the ire of the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, as well as criticisms from the public. After a lengthy battle in which the company refused to compromise on their proposed rate increases, Blue Shield finally submitted, abandoning their proposal altogether.  Two weeks ago, the company came under fire again after the Department of Insurance revealed documents detailing how the insurer payed it’s top 10…

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Massachusetts tornado outbreak caused $90 million in damages just for homes

Last week, Massachusetts fell victim to an outbreak of violent tornados, causing $90 million in damage, according to Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations. The tornados were focused in the Western region of the state, causing damage on an enormous scale. These recent figures, says Anthony, accounts only for the damage done to homes and does not factor auto and business claims. To date, more than 5,000 insurance claims have been filed, many coming from residential areas. More claims come in on a daily basis.…

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New bill in Maine calls for lawmakers to pay health insurance tax

Republican legislators in Maine have proposed a new bill that would levy a $4 monthly health insurance tax throughout the state. The bill notably exempts federal and state employees from the tax, drawing harsh criticism from both Democrats and citizens. Democrats had submitted amendments to the bill late last week that would remove the exemption for lawmakers, but the notion was dismissed by Republicans. However, Senator Richard Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, issued an emergency legislation that would require state legislators to be included in the tax. The reasoning behind the proposed tax…

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California insurer announces rate reduction

In a time when most insurance companies are raising rates on their property coverage, USAA is lowering theirs. Policyholders in California will see their rates drop an average of 15%. The rate change has been approved by the California Department of Insurance and is being lauded as a move to ease the financial burden of individuals and families struggling with a troublesome economy. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones was particularly elated at the news as he has spent the better part of this year battling the state’s insurers regarding proposed rate…

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Florida fire insurance warning issued

When most people think of wildfires, there are many places that might come to mind but Florida usually isn’t one of them. Since the first of the year, Florida has had over 2,660 wildfires. Florida’s drought conditions coupled with low humidity and high winds have made ideal conditions for wildfires. The director with the Division of Forestry in Florida has issued several warnings and urged residents to follow county burn bans. Visitors to the states parks are also encouraged to check any burn bans that may be in affect before…

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Tennessee gay couple claims hate crime…insurance company says fraud

American National Property and Casualty Company in Tennessee have brought a federal lawsuit against a couple in an effort to void their homeowner’s insurance policy. The couple’s Tennessee home burnt in September last year and the insurance company is alleging arson on the homeowner’s part and denying the claim. There are more details involved which complicate the case even further; the couple is gay and has alleged that a former neighbor is the one who set their house on fire. The couple claimed the neighbor has harassed them for five…

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Changes to Illinois health insurance up for vote

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is expected to make a decision on a bill arriving at his desk today. The State’s House of Representatives passed legislation— by a sweeping majority of 98-15 – that would keep the state’s health insurance contracts intact for the next two years. This conflicts with Quinn’s move to change the state’s health insurance carrier,  a measure that would have left more than 100,000 government workers in need of new coverage. The bill will also reopen the health insurance procurement process and allow the state’s insurers to…

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