California — Work Comp Costs: Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones adopted and issued a revised workers' compensation insurance advisory pure premium rate, lowering the benchmark to $1.74 per $100 of payroll for workers' compensation insurance, effective July 1, 2018. Commissioner Jones has reduced the benchmark rate by 36.5 percent since January 2015, when the average pure premium rate was $2.74 per $100 of payroll.
With an average filed pure premium rate of $2.22 per $100 of payroll as of January 1, 2018, insurers are on average applying pure premium rates that are 27.6 percent more than the indicated pure premium rate approved by the Commissioner today. Even after considering the industry's extensive use of rating plan credits, industry profitability appears to be substantial as a percentage of premium.
"It is time insurers do the right thing and pass along more cost savings to California employers who deserve to share in the benefits cost reductions have brought to the workers' compensation system," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "In addition to the cost reductions that have led to higher profits, insurers are also benefitting from the federal income tax break, which should result on average in about another five percent decrease in premiums."
Commissioner Jones' order sets the advisory pure premium rate below the $1.80 average rate recommended by the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) in its filing. Jones issued the advisory rate after a public hearing and careful review of the testimony and evidence submitted by stakeholders. The pure premium benchmark rate is only advisory, as the Legislature has not given the insurance commissioner authority over workers' compensation insurers' rates.
The WCIRB's pure premium advisory rate filing established that overall costs continue to decline in California's workers' compensation insurance system. The pure premium advisory rate reduction is based on insurers' cost data through December 31,2017. Insurers' net costs in the workers' compensation system continue to decline as a result of SB 863, SB 1160, and AB 1244 enacted by the Legislature and Governor Brown. The WCIRB noted continued favorable medical loss development including acceleration in claim settlements.
California — Cannabis Banking: It’s almost impossible for cannabis concerns to get banking services. Part of the reason is banking being federally regulated and that makes things difficult.
The California Legislature is looking at a solution. The Senate has passed Senate Bill 930 and it will let banks issue checks to cannabis businesses to:
• Pay state and local taxes and fees
• Pay California vendors for goods and services
• Pay rent
• Purchase state and local bonds and other debt instruments
The bill is authored by Democrat Sen. Bob Hertzberg. He said, “The status quo for our growing legal cannabis industry is unsustainable. It’s not only impractical from an accounting perspective, but it also presents a tremendous public safety problem. This bill takes a limited approach to provide all parties with a safe and reliable way to move forward on this urgent issue.”
Source link: Insurance Journal
Washington — Medicare Scam: Medicare started mailing new cards to beneficiaries in April and will finish mailing them nationwide in a year. In Washington state, beneficiaries will start receiving their replacement cards this July.
The cards have a new look but, most importantly, they have unique numbers to replace the Social Security numbers previously used on the cards. Medicare created the new cards to reduce identity theft and fraud.
New Medicare card design
Ironically, fraudsters are capitalizing on the change to deceive beneficiaries. They may have many details about individuals, often gleaned from social media and other publicly available resources. They sound convincing.
The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) helps beneficiaries fight back. SMP staff work in communities across the country to teach beneficiaries how to prevent, detect, and report Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse.
Here are some Medicare card scams that SMP is seeing:
• Telling Medicare beneficiaries they need to pay to obtain a new card. Fake charges range from $5 to $400.
• A person claiming to be from a government agency says they need your bank account information to deposit funds into your Medicare account.
• Medicare cards have a fee
Fact: The new cards are free — you do NOT need to pay for your new card and you don’t need to do anything to get it. Medicare will automatically mail your new card to you. In fact, you can sign up to get an email from Medicare to know when to expect your card in the mail.
You don’t need to get personal
Scam: You need to confirm or give personal information to get your new card.
Fact: You do NOT need to give any personal information to get your new card. The cards are mailed to the address you have on file with Social Security. You can update your address online, call 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local Social Security office.
Scam: You need to provide your old Medicare card number to prevent your insurance from being interrupted while new cards are being mailed out.
Fact: Your Medicare coverage will not be interrupted or stopped because of your new card being mailed to you.
For more information about Medicare card scams and other scams, contact Washington state's SMP, which is part of our Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program, at 1-800-562-6900.
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance