1. Jump to page-navigation
  2. Jump to content

Archive for August, 2008

In Alabama, insurance fees go up with the needle on the scale

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

The state of Alabama has announced to its more that 37,000 state employees that it will begin billing them for being overweight. Employees have a year to demonstrate that they are working on slimming down, exercising, eating more healthily.  If they fail to do so, they will be charged a $25 monthly insurance surcharge. Alabama is third in the nation for obesity, and already charges state employees more for insurance if they smoke. The yearlong period they have to prove they are serious about their weight and health is measured by blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Test poorly now; you’ve got a year to straighten it out. Test the same or worse at the end of that year; you pay $25 a month. As medical research continues to uncover the cost of a chronically unhealthy public, employers adapt to cut their costs and shift some responsibility to the insured. Good insurance lead management software can help insurance companies stay on top of the shifting landscape that result from these advances in medical technology and their real world ramifications.

FDIC restructuring many IndyMac Mortgages

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

After taking control of IndyMac in July and putting a temporary moratorium on foreclosures, the FDIC is attempting to set an industry example for large scale, systematized refinancing for troubled borrowers. Motivated by the fact that foreclosures are good for neither bank nor borrower, the FDIC is refinancing 25,000 mortgages formerly held by IndyMac with loans as low as 3%. This standardized approach to addressing borrower woes which can be quite varied is not without critics. Given that some of these mortgages are still likely to foreclose, there could be problems down the road with any potential buyers of IndyMac’s Assets. The FDIC appears to be eager to take some action after declaring the foreclosure ceasefire, which can’t last forever. It could be that lenders will appreciate some attempt at a solution that aims to reduce foreclosures. But given that the FDIC can’t even make the guarantee that they’ll attempt this with any future failed banks, it’s hard to imagine this plan will attract many speculators with big checkbooks.

Bush shelves children’s insurance compliance concerns

Friday, August 15th, 2008

The President has backed off threats to impose financial penalties on states that have enrolled too many children in a State Federal insurance program. Fifteen states were threatened with penalties to take effect Monday if they failed to remove children from families with incomes of 250% of the poverty line from the program. Legislators argued that the new guidelines, including a requirement that children go uninsured for one year prior to being enrolled, were too stringent and would result in too many children going uninsured. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP insures 6.6 million people, an overwhelming majority of whom are children. Compliance concerns haven’t evaporated, but for the immediate future, their enforcement and resulting fines and loss of Federal funding have been taken off the table.

Credit crunch hits universities as they struggle to keep enrollment high.

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Keeping enrollment up during the credit crunch is a difficult task faced by the nation’s colleges and universities. Moody’s Investor Service recently downgraded their rating of the nation’s colleges and universities. Half a year ago they indicated that the financial outlook for such institutions was stable, but in light of the persistent downturn in the economy, they have reconsidered.
Having diversified sources of income, Colleges and universities have always fared well, even when tuition outpaces inflation. But the credit crunch resulting from the subprime lending crisis has lenders everywhere tightening their purse strings. Federal regulators have recently loosened restrictions on student and parent loans to make it easier to keep students enrolled. Even so, lenders are dropping their less profitable loan products. With fewer lenders and dwindling home equity, all the usual sources of extra money to keep students enrolled are drying up.
Universities across the nation are scrambling to find other ways to make attending school cheaper. Some schools are offering classes only four days a week, so students don’t have to drive to campus five days a week. Schools across the country are seeing increased enrollment in their online classes. While online classes aren’t any cheaper, enrolling in them does cut down on gas prices, which continue to climb.
The more challenging it becomes to hit target enrollment numbers, the more universities are making use of lead management software to find more students to fill their classes.

California makes another attempt at reforming the insurance industry

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Efforts to pass a universal health plan failed earlier this year. But the issue is still alive in the hearts and minds of legislators. They are keen to avoid fully scrapping the two years of work they put into wholesale health care reform.
If government requires that certain services are included in insurance policies, it drives up the cost of these policies and leaves people who can’t afford them uninsured. When the government doesn’t stipulate the details of insurance policies, cheaper plans come available, but these cheaper health plans aren’t made available to elderly or infirm, who need them most.
There is an equal but opposite reaction within the insurance industry for every bit of regulating the government does.
California is trying to chart a third course that limits the insurers’ profits on individual health care plans, as well as limit the annual spending of the insured.  Governor Schwarzenegger opposes stipulating specific services to be included in policies, but proponents of such limits suggest that it’s the only way to provide consumers with meaningful healthcare reform.