Archives

Uncategorized

Add the Charlotte Observer to the long and growing list of voices opposed to the disingenuous plan cooked up by a group of insurance companies to get out from under the consumer protection regulation overseen by the state Insurance Commissioner. As this editorial notes this morning:

“Currently, auto insurance companies doing business in North Carolina have to agree to a rate increase or decrease each year with the N.C. Rate Bureau. The insurance commissioner, currently Wayne Goodwin, reviews those requests and decides if the rate change (usually a hike) is justified. The result of this unique system: North Carolina’s average auto insurance rates are the lowest in the South and sixth-lowest in the country.

Insurance companies would have you believe that N.C. drivers could do even better if the Rate Bureau just got out of the way and let insurers offer more discount programs. But the state already has approved about 2,000 such programs, and Goodwin supports legislation that would allow for even more – without dismantling the Rate Bureau structure. Insurers aren’t interested in that.

What they are interested in is charging more, which is what happened in South Carolina, where rates went up 23 percent after the state made a similar change in the 1990s. In North Carolina, reform might be especially bad news for some of the estimated 1 million drivers who are considered riskier by insurance companies. Most of those drivers are younger and have clean records, and the state allows the rest of us to be charged a small fee so that these ‘risks’ don’t have to pay exorbitant premiums. Change the system, and insurers could make more of a profit off them, as they do in other states.”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/06/18/4987220/the-road-to-higher-insurance-rates.html#.U6LgQChJRdh#storylink=cpy

 

Uncategorized

Throughout his first campaign ad for the U.S. Senate race against Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis wears an Autism Speaks lapel pin. Autism Speaks is an important science and advocacy organization that is active nationally and in North Carolina.

One of the organization’s top legislative priorities is enacting a law that requires insurance companies to cover treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders. In 2013 the autism community passed such a bill through the House with 105 votes in favor of the requirement and 7 against.

This will likely set up a showdown with the National Federation of Independent Business. Last month the NFIB asked the Joint Study Committee on the Affordable Care Act to pass legislation prohibiting the introduction of new insurance mandates in North Carolina for some period of time. The committee, acting with great haste, agreed to discuss this NFIB bill at a May 13 meeting. Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder is the only proposed insurance mandate eligible for consideration this year.

It would be jarring if Speaker Tillis touted his ties to the autism community in a campaign ad only to undermine the central policy push of Autism Speaks in his chamber. We will soon find out whether or not his commitment is bigger than a pin.

Uncategorized

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, in an interview aired yesterday on a Charlotte radio station, downplayed cuts to unemployment benefits caused by made this year to the state’ s unemployment insurance system.

“We didn’t take away unemployment benefits,” McCrory said on WFAE’s “Charlotte Talks” program in response to a question about cuts to the unemployment insurance system. “We didn’t extend them. We were following the existing policy.”

Audio clip from WFAE in Charlotte

The state, through legislation signed into law in February by McCrory, did cut both the length of time a person can collect unemployment (reduced from six months to a sliding scale of 12 to 20 weeks) and also cut the maximum weekly benefit from $535 to $350 a week.  The cuts were part of an extensive plan to repay more than $2.6 billion the state unemployment insurance system borrowed during the height of the recession.

Read More

Uncategorized

Jill Hudgins, a freelance writer living in Durham, published an important opinion piece in the News & Observer today about finding insurance through Inclusive Health.

Here’s how she begins:

DURHAM — While Republicans rant and rave about the evils of “Obamacare,” many individuals are already benefiting from the reforms. I’m one of them.

I’ve been branded with the scarlet letter “P” for pre-existing condition, denied coverage for years. Thanks to a new program called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), I’m now a card-carrying member of the insured.

You should read the entire article to see how Obamacare is providing benefits to people with pre-existing conditions.

Uncategorized

Michael R. Lee, a lawyer whose firm has offices throughout North Carolina sent us the following take today on the conservative General Assembly’s current war on injured workers and consumers:

The NCGOP opened the current legislative session with a blitzkrieg assault on the civil rights of North Carolinians. High on its list of legislative priorities was so-called tort “reform” and workers’ compensation “reform.” The tort reform the NCGOP, supported by the NC Chamber of Commerce, big business and the insurance industry, is pushing is contained in House Bill 542 and Senate Bill 33.

Read More