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…

Read More

Oregon senators give community car sharing programs a much needed boost

Oregon senators have given their approval to a bill that eliminates a number of the obstacles faced by emerging community car sharing programs, in an effort that would appear to be designed to increase participation in this environmentally friendly activity.  The House Bill 3149 was approved in a 25-3 vote.  This bill was designed to set the personal vehicle sharing program standards.  It has added the necessity for these programs to provide motor vehicle liability insurance, and should injury or loss occur during a time when the vehicle is being…

Read More

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…

Read More

Medica gets ahead start on the digital insurance market

Medica, a health organization that provides insurance to Wisconsin and Minnesota, has announced plans to launch a new plan for businesses that will give them an opportunity to rein in soaring medical costs. The new plan will also allow policyholders more freedom in tailoring their plans to better suit their needs. The plan, however, will be more expensive than its counterparts, a fact that does not sit well with some consumers who say the last thing people need in a troubled economy is more expensive coverage options. The insurer has…

Read More

Oregon’s low cost health insurer takes a rate hike

Last week, Oregon-based Regence Blue Cross Blue shield was called upon to answer concerns from regulators regarding proposed rate increase of 22%. The state’s Insurance Division hosted the public meeting, the first of its kind in more than two decades. 200 Oregon residents attended the meeting to hear firsthand the rationalization behind the rate change proposal. They were also given the opportunity to make comment and question company officials regarding the issue. Regence provides insurance customers to 12% of the state’s population. The insurer often provides affordable coverage for those…

Read More

Missouri insurance rates expected to go up

The past month has been trying for residents of Missouri. Storms late in April sent the Mississippi River on a rampage. Miles of farmland were inundated with water, causing billions in damage and displacing the state’s farmers. Those same storms were accompanied by an outbreak of tornados that tore through much of the region. The now infamous Joplin tornado – the most deadly and destructive tornado in six decades – that sundered a town and left hundreds without homes was the last of the environmental onslaught. Together, these disasters will…

Read More

Higher reinsurance rates predicted

Despite record losses in the first quarter of 2011 and a hurricane season predicted to be exceedingly active, the reinsurance industry is in good spirits. While several insurance companies are dreading hurricanes reaching land, reinsurers expect that one storm causing extensive losses could mark the turning point of the insurance pricing cycle toward their favor. This would mean that higher reinsurance rates, a fact that would go a long way in helping the industry recover from a disastrous first quarter. Henry Keeling, CEO of Guy Carpenter’s International operations, recently attended…

Read More