Arizona — Dust Storm Detection
A device has been created by two National Weather Service meteorologists to alert authorities about small dust storms brewing up near highways. They’re to detect small storms that are just as dangerous — authorities say — as the huge haboobs.
Ken Waters and Dan Leins set up a test site with nine sensors and if it works, the sensors can be used to alert Arizona Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety and other agencies of the potential danger.
They’re being placed on cell towers and other poles with power running to them. And they’re inexpensive. The two men used single board computers that run around $100 each.
Source link: The Arizona Republic
California — Commissioner Jones on Health Net
Commissioner Jones issued the following statement on the acquisition of Health Net, Inc. by Centene Corporation:
“Today, I approved the acquisition of Health Net Inc. and Health Net Life Insurance Company by Centene Corporation, with strong conditions required of Centene and Health Net to protect California's consumers. After thorough review including extensive public input, I concluded that this transaction provides an opportunity to bring new capital and resources from a major national health insurer largely outside of California (Centene) to enable a California health insurer (Health Net) to continue to compete and offer consumers additional choices in California's individual, small group, and large group commercial health insurance market,” the commissioner said.
The conditions for my approval of this merger include:
• Merger costs will not be imposed on California policyholders. None of the costs of the merger, including any and all executive compensation pay-outs, will be passed on to consumers.
• Health Net will maintain and grow its commercial line of business. Growth commitments and investment requirements, to ensure that Centene continues to invest substantially in Health Net Life and both companies seek to expand Health Net Life's presence and ability to compete in California's individual, small group and large group health insurance markets.
• Health Net Life will continue to offer products through Covered California.
• Centene and Health Net Life must provide sufficient networks of medical providers and timely access to medical providers and hospitals.
• Centene and Health Net Life must improve the quality of care delivered through their health insurance.
• An adequate distribution channel for Health Net health insurance must be maintained.
• Senior management for Health Net's California operations must remain in California and restrictions are placed on Centene's ability to "re-domesticate" or move Health Net Life out of state.
• Centene will invest further in California by making a $200 million infrastructure investment by establishing a California call center, bringing new jobs to California.
• Centene and Health Net will invest an additional $30 million in California's low and moderate income neighborhoods, with investments prioritized for health facilities.
“There are many reasons to be skeptical about health insurance mergers. Economic studies of past health insurance mergers have found that health insurance mergers have not benefitted consumers with lower prices. Studies show that health insurance prices increased after mergers. This merger and the current condition of the companies involved, however, present circumstances which led me to conclude that, with strong and comprehensive conditions, this particular merger was in the best interest of Californians,” Jones said.
California — Covered California to Cut Hospitals from Exchange
Covered California is going to cut underperforming hospitals from the state’s health insurance marketplace. Executive Director Peter Lee said one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to provide quality patient care.
“The first few years were about getting people in the door for coverage. We are now shifting our attention to changing the underlying delivery system to make it more cost effective and higher quality. We don't want to throw anyone out, but we don't want to pay for bad quality care either,” he said.
The exchange board will vote on the reduction proposal in April. It proposes to have insurers identify outlier hospitals based on cost and quality by 2018. Medical groups and doctors will also rate hospitals.
Decisions and a plan will come from those ratings.
Neither insurers nor doctors are happy with the idea. Insurers don’t want to reveal their rate deals with providers and doctors say the exchange does not have the authority to make such a decision under the Affordable Care Act’s regs.
Source link: Insurance Business America
Idaho — Boise Agent Sentenced
A former Boise insurance agent Nylinh Fetterman has been sentenced on one count of insurance fraud. She will serve a year of her five year sentence for sure and maybe more. Fetterman was also ordered to pay $31,090 to her former employer Primerica.
She was found guilty of taking money from client bank accounts between 2010 and 2014 and using it to purchase insurance polices from which she gained commission.
Washington — Rule Making Notices: The Commissioner has filed pre-proposal notices regarding two rule-making actions that the Commissioner will consider.
The first regards the Affiliated Business Reports that title insurance agents must file with the Commissioner.
The second will be rules regarding the escrow practices and accounts of title insurance agents. Here are the notices:
The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner also recently filed the following item with the Code Reviser’s Office:
Proposed expedited rule:
R2016-03: Technical changes to producer continuing education rule
Background: In 2015, the OIC updated several sections of WAC 284-17 regarding producer continuing education. We now plan to repeal WAC 284-17-310 because one of the new sections (WAC 284-17-303) contains similar information.
In addition, we plan to put the words “Webinar courses” in WAC 284-17-278(2)(b) in bold to match other bolded words in that section.
Notice: The OIC is proposing this rule under an expedited rule-making process that will eliminate the need to hold public hearings, prepare a small business economic impact statement, or provide responses to the criteria for a significant legislative rule. If you object to the use of expedited rule-making, you must express objections in writing by May 23, 2016.
Comments / Questions:
For questions or comments, please contact Bianca Stoner, Senior Health Policy Analyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org.