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How Health Insurers Use Cash and Gifts to Manipulate Employers

How Health Insurers Use Cash and Gifts to Manipulate EmployersThis story was co-published with NPR’s Shots blog. The pitches to the health insurance brokers are tantalizing. “Set sail for Bermuda,” says insurance giant Cigna, offering top-selling brokers five days at one of the island’s luxury resorts. Health Net of California’s pitch is not subtle: A smiling woman in a business suit rides a giant $100 bill like it’s a surfboard. “Sell more, enroll more, get paid more!” In some cases, its ad says, a broker can “power up” the bonus to $150,000 per employer group. Not to be outdone, New York’s EmblemHealth promises top-selling brokers “the chance of a lifetime”: going to bat against the retired legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera. In another offer, the company, which bills itself as the state’s largest nonprofit plan, focuses on cash: “The more subscribers you enroll … the bigger the payout.”…

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Fixed and falling

Fixed and fallingThe second in a four-part series of essays on the forces driving social division and political polarization in America. In the not-too-distant past, the major American political parties were big tents. They were broad-based coalitions, the idea being that the broader the coalition the better the chance of winning elections. The Republican and Democratic parties were what the recently published book Prius or Pickup? calls “mixed-worldview” parties. The book identifies two dominant worldviews — its authors label them fixed and fluid — and the two major parties had plenty of each. Starting in the 1970s and intensifying ever since, the parties have been purifying themselves. Republican leaders embraced the fixed worldview, Democratic leaders chose the fluid. Each party purged itself of the other kind. We are constantly being told how divided Americans are and how politically polarized our society has become. Go out and talk to people of every political…

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New Jersey Woman Sentenced to Prison for Stealing $190K from Former Employer

New Jersey Woman Sentenced to Prison for Stealing $190K from Former EmployerA former site manager for a temporary staffing agency in New Jersey has been sentenced to prison for stealing $190,000 from the agency. Xiomara Jovel, 47, of Roselle, N.J., was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court … ….. Read More.INSURANCE JOURNAL – General | Consumers & ShoppingFri, February 22, 201911 hours ago

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Once a Critic of Executive Power, Trump Is Now Taking Us Closer to Rule by Decree

Once a Critic of Executive Power, Trump Is Now Taking Us Closer to Rule by DecreeIt’s difficult to think much of an “emergency” that the president himself admits he declared just so he could get what he wants faster and without the muss and fuss of normal governing procedures. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump’s declaration “that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States” just because neither house of Congress, under either major political party, has been impressed with his demands for funding for a border wall isn’t an unheard of abuse of presidential authority. Emergency declarations by tantrum-throwing wannabe American monarchs play a large and dangerous role in U.S. politics. In continuing that unpleasant tradition, Trump’s action is less of a break from the past than a risky step toward a dictatorial future. “Well, I got $1.4 billion. But I’m not happy with it,” Trump told…

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New York “Has No Choice But To” Start Enforcing ELD Mandate, Announces Enforcement Has...

New York “Has No Choice But To” Start Enforcing ELD Mandate, Announces Enforcement Has…It was revealed recently that New York State had not yet begun enforcing the ELD mandate. That has now changed per an emergency rulemaking document issued by the NYDOT. It became widely known that New York State hadn’t been enforcing the ELD mandate during the course of a lawsuit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). The trucker advocacy group argued that the state was improperly enforcing the law because state law had not yet been amended to include the ELD mandate. The New York Supreme Court ruled against OOIDA, revealing that the state could not possibly have improperly enforced the law, because they had not been enforcing the law at all. OOIDA’s lawsuit was thrown out. Just a few weeks later, this emergency rule was published in the federal register. State inspectors will now have…

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Soda tax reduces consumption of sugary drinks

Soda tax reduces consumption of sugary drinksOne California city could be setting the stage for other cities to follow in its footsteps By Kristen Dalli of ConsumerAffairs February 22, 2019 Several cities across the United States have been imposing taxes on sugary beverages in an effort to encourage consumers to make healthier purchases. According to a new study, Berkeley, California has been successful in its efforts on this front. The city enacted its soda tax back in 2015, and based on three years of research, experts have noticed that sugary drink consumption has dropped by over 50 percent. This just drives home the message that soda taxes work, said researcher Kristine Madsen. Importantly, our evidence comes from low-income and diverse neighborhoods, which have the highest burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, not to mention a higher prevalence of advertising promoting unhealthy diets. The success story Madsen and her team of…

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