October 8, 2014
August 27, 2014
Wineries and hospitality businesses in and around Napa, California, near the epicenter of the worst earthquake to hit the area in 25 years, rushed to clean up rubble and broken glass ahead of the expected influx of tourists for a drought-accelerated grape harvest.“We are right in the thick of it,” said Steve Matthiasson, a Napa-based grape grower and vintner who produces wine under the Matthiasson label. “It could not be a worse time” for a quake.
January 30, 2013
The Consumer Federation of America did a mystery shopper review of several auto insurers and found that drivers with at-fault accidents paid lower premiums than drivers with spotless records — provided that the careless driver was rich and well-educated and the careful driver was a single renter without an advanced degree.
December 10, 2011
December 9, 2011
There is something disconcerting about the finding that the United States is last amongst comparable Nations when it comes to preventable deaths. That is, all other wealthy Nations do better than us when it comes to providing proper healthcare and treatment to those whose death could be potentially prevented by timely and effective treatment. This should be of concern!
sThe United States placed last among 16 high-income, industrialized nations when it comes to deaths that could potentially have been prevented by timely access to effective health care, according to a Commonwealth Fund–supported study that appeared online in the journal Health Policy this week and will be available in print on October 25th as part of the November issue. According to the study, other nations lowered their preventable death rates an average of 31 percent between 1997–98 and 2006–07, while the U.S. rate declined by only 20 percent, from 120 to 96 per 100,000. At the end of the decade, the preventable mortality rate in the U.S. was almost twice that in France, which had the lowest rate—55 per 100,000.
Preventable Death In “Variations in Amenable Mortality—Trends in 16 High Income Nations,” Ellen Nolte of RAND Europe and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed deaths that occurred before age 75 from causes like treatable cancer, diabetes, childhood infections/respiratory diseases, and complications from surgeries. They found that an average 41 percent drop in death rates from ischemic heart disease was the primary driver of declining preventable deaths, and they estimate that if the U.S. could improve its preventable death rate to match that of the three best-performing countries—France, Australia, and Italy—84,000 fewer people would have died each year by the end of the period studied.
December 6, 2011
Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen faster than incomes in every state in the nation, according to a report released Thursday.
The analysis of federal data by the Commonwealth Fund, an independent research organization, shed new light on the state-by-state picture while essentially confirming a national trend, highlighted in other recent surveys of employer-sponsored insurance, of greater premiums for skimpier benefits.
The District of Columbia had the highest annual total premiums, including both the employer’s and the worker’s share. In 2010, they averaged $5,644 for a single policy and $15,206 for a family version — a rise of 51 percent and 41 percent, respectively, since 2003.
But the costs were significant even in states with some of the lowest average rates, such as Alabama, where a single policy averaged $4,571 in total premiums and a family version reached $12,409. Maryland and Virginia were roughly in the middle of the pack.
“Although employees typically don’t see the total cost of their insurance, the sharp increase, in effect, means lower wages and salaries as employers make the trade-off between increasing wages and offering insurance,” said Cathy Schoen, a co-author of the study.
December 2, 2011
Farmers Insurance has reached a settlement to resolve a nationwide class action lawsuit. Although Farmers denies any wrongdoing, the insurer agreed to the terms of the settlement in order to “avoid ongoing litigation” and the significant time and monetary resources associated with that path.
In Re Farmers Med-Pay Litigation (CJ-2004-559), plaintiffs charged that Farmers failed to pay—either in whole or in part—“reasonable” expenses for necessary medical services under the medical payments (Med-pay) and/or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage outlined in their automobile policies. This alleged inadequate distribution of benefits was based on Farmers’ use of certain systems and procedures for adjusting claims for paying medical expenses incurred as a result of an auto accident.
The District Court of Canadian County, Oklahoma entered a final order approving the settlement on Nov. 29.
“We are pleased to have been able to resolve this matter with the plaintiffs,” a spokesman for Farmers stated.
According to Farmers website, comprising the Settlement Class are those who submitted claims for payment of medical bills related to an automobile accident under Med-pay or PIP coverage if (a) the claim was adjusted from January 1, 2001 to February 9, 2009 based upon a recommended reduction from Zurich Services Corporation; (b) the claim was paid at less than the amount billed; and (c) total Med-pay or PIP payments were less than the respective limits of coverage. The Class also includes medical providers who were assigned the right to assert these claims.
Under the terms of the settlement, Class Members who submit a valid claim form postmarked no later than December 29 may be eligible to receive 60 percent of the difference between the amount of the bills submitted to Farmers for Med-pay and/or PIP claims and the improperly reduced amount paid by Farmers.
May 18, 2010
If after David beat Goliath the government decreed that henceforth when people fight giants, they must do so with six-inch sling shots and pebbles instead of rocks, there would be a huge outcry of protest. However, the changes that are being imbedded in our legal system in the name of tort reform are attempting to do the same thing.