Cigna must refund $2.3 million to Vermont customers

first_imgCIGNA Healthcare,by Alan Panebaker vtdigger.org Cigna, a major health insurer of large businesses in Vermont, is on the hook for more than $2 million that it must return to its customers in the state under a provision of the federal health care law.According to numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4,636 Vermonters will receive a rebate ‘averaging out to $506.04 a person (or $807 per family).The rebate is required under a section of the federal Affordable Care Act which requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent (or 85 percent in the large group market which is generally insurance through large employers) on medical care.If insurance companies do not meet this requirement, they have to refund the portion of the premium that exceeded the 20 or 15 percent limit on things like administrative expenses.Companies insuring Vermonters in the small group and individual markets met the requirement and did not have to refund any money to their customers.Cigna was the only insurance company that had to refund money to Vermonters. It covers the â large group’market of employers who employ 51 or more people. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Vermont had the highest average per-person rebate for that market.Steve Kimbell, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, said he was surprised to learn insurers in Vermont did not meet the requirement.BISHCA Commissioner Steve Kimbell. VTD file photo/Josh Larkinâ As far as I knew, all our major carriers were under [the threshold],’Kimbell said.The state regulators may not have been aware of the issue because it occurred in the large group market. Kimbell said the state regulates the individual and small group insurance markets more closely than the large groups because it requires â community rating’for those markets ‘requiring insurance companies to charge the same premiums for people regardless of how healthy or old they are.The larger groups use â experience rating’where insurance companies can charge a different rate for different people based on differences in their demographics, past health care utilization, medical status and other factors.Kimbell said the department was looking into what businesses this will affect.Nationwide, insurance companies in the large group market are required to return $386 million in rebates, which will go to employers who will in turn return the money to their employees.Anya Rader Wallack, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, which oversees health care reform in the state, said the failure to meet the federally set ratio could be a result of people seeking less medical care.At the beginning of the year, insurance companies predict how much they will spend on medical care, so a decrease in utilization of health care, which the state has been seeing, could shift that balance to mean a higher percentage went to things other than medical care.â Itâ s a result of a carrier spending less than predicted on actual payments to providers,’Rader Wallack said. â To call it excess administrative expenses I guess is one way of looking at it. The way I look at it is predictions of actual health care expense were much lower than anticipated.âA spokeswoman for Cigna verified the amount owed to Vermonters was a little over $2.3 million. She said Thursday afternoon she was unsure why Cigna had failed to meet the federal requirement.The company must pay the rebate by August 1. Kimbell said it will affect 27 companies in Vermont. As of Thursday afternoon, the Department of Financial Regulation was looking into who those were. In a joint statement, Vermont’s congressional delegation, Senators Leahy andSanders and Representative Welch said, â Insurance premiums should go toward providing care to people who get sick. Thatâ s simply common sense.âNationwide, 12.8 million Americans will benefit from $1.1 billion in rebates under the 80/20 standard.  The medical loss ratio or 80/20 rule is a part of the controversial federal health care law which the US Supreme Court could strike down altogether next week.The court issued opinions Thursday morning, but the ruling on the Affordable Care Act was not one of them. Observers expect a decision by next Thursday.Twenty-six states challenged the constitutionality of the national health care law, arguing the law infringed upon states’rights and individual liberties. They contended the federal government could not compel citizens to purchase health insurance under what is called the â individual mandate.â  June 21, 2012 vtdigger.orglast_img read more

Study on ‘going positive’ finds flattering rivals gains politicians more votes

first_imgShare on Twitter The study has interesting implications, particularly in light of the forthcoming US elections. Cavazza cites the example of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who praised and thanked his predecessor even though he was a member of the opposing party. “Usually, a new president or prime minister in the first years of his office attributes all the responsibility of problems to the predecessor!” she states. “Doing the opposite and with his positive style, Trudeau has achieved a very good reputation internationally.”Going forward, Cavazza is building on this research to explore the effects of directly flattering the audience. “I think that it is time for politicians to pay attention to ‘positive communication’ instead of becoming more and more verbally aggressive,” she says. Share on Facebook Email LinkedIncenter_img Focusing on the negative aspects of one’s political opponent has become the norm in election campaigns across the world. But a recent study by Nicoletta Cavazza published in Social Influence shows that it could be in politicians’ interests to pay more attention to positive campaigning. Cavazza found that when political candidates flatter their rivals, they are perceived to be more trustworthy and are therefore more likely to obtain votes.To find out whether a flattering comment directed at a political rival elicits a positive impression of the candidate and, consequently, whether this increases the likelihood of voting for the candidate, the participants (92 Italian university students) were given a written passage from a speech by a fictitious political candidate (a man or a woman) about the relationship between young people and politics. In the experimental condition, a positive statement about the candidate’s political opponent was inserted into the speech: ‘I believe that my competitor, who is an upright and smart person, will agree with me about the need to change this situation.’When the candidate flattered his/her rival, participants were more likely to perceive him/her as being trustworthy and were consequently more likely to vote for him/her. This was observed to be the case regardless of the candidate’s gender. Share Pinterestlast_img read more

DHS boosts screening for travelers from Ebola outbreak nations

first_imgIn a step to further tighten checks on travelers from Ebola-stricken countries, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that all travelers whose flights originate in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone must enter the United States through one of five airports that are currently doing enhanced screening for the disease.The new measures go into effect tomorrow at five airports that account for 94% of all travelers from the three outbreak countries: New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta, and Chicago O’Hare.Though there are no direct, nonstop flights to the United States from the three outbreak countries, federal officials estimate that about 150 people from those locations fly into the United States each day.Entry screening enhancementsThe DHS said it already has a system to identify and screen anyone at land, sea, and airport entries to the United States who it believes has been in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone in the preceding 21 days.DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that the department is working closely with airlines to implement the restrictions with minimal disruption. If airlines haven’t made the changes to travelers’ itineraries, a few passengers might have to contact the airlines for rebooking.”We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” Johnson said in the statement.Several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have called for a ban on travel to and from the affected region. Federal officials, however, have said a total ban may have unintended consequences, such as slowing outbreak response activities and the flow of needed supplies to West Africa.Yesterday at a media briefing, US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said banning travel could undermine the ability to track people from the countries once they enter the United States. He has said, though, that government officials have an open mind to any ideas to enhance protection. “Protecting Americans is our top priority,” Frieden said.Federal health officials have specified that exit screening from affected countries is the best way to prevent travel-linked Ebola cases, and the CDC has helped the three countries set up departure screening, and the agency monitors its use.WHO convenes emergency panel, posts checklistThe World Health Organization (WHO) said today that its emergency committee on Ebola will meet tomorrow for the third time to review the latest developments and assess if changes need to be made to current recommendations. In an e-mail to journalists, the WHO said it expects the discussions to last a day or two and that it will brief the media at the end of the meeting.In early August, based on the committee’s recommendation, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, MD, MPH, declared that West Africa’s Ebola outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under International Health Regulations. The group met for a second time on Sep 22, recommending that temporary recommendations from August be kept in place and identifying areas where more attention was needed.In other WHO developments, the agency recently released an Ebola preparedness checklist for countries, based on input from global health groups, including the CDC. The WHO said all countries should be prepared to handle Ebola illnesses, especially those in the top two tiers of its four-tired risk group stratification.The checklist covers 10 key components, with tasks to be completed by 30, 60, and 90 days from the Oct 17 publication of the list. The list of components includes, for example, rapid response teams, infection prevention and control, case management, and contact tracing.Texas and Ohio newsIn ongoing contact screening related to three Ebola infections in Texas, 15 more people have completed their 21-day monitoring period, bringing the total to 60, according to an update today from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS).There are still 112 people who are being monitored for symptoms, according to the TDSHS. All have links to Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who died from Ebola at a Dallas hospital on Oct 8, and two of his nurses, whose illnesses were confirmed on Oct 11 and Oct 15.Both nurses are being treated at infectious disease specialty units outside of Texas: Nina Pham at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Amber Joy Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.In other Texas developments, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Duncan was treated and the two nurses were infected and originally treated, announced yesterday the end of diversion for ambulance traffic. Health officials ordered the diversion in the wake of the Ebola cases, but it did not affect emergency department visits that didn’t involve ambulance transport.The hospital’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, posted a letter on its Web site apologizing to the community for mistakes it made in handing Duncan’s case. The Oct 19 letter, written by chief executive officer Barclay Berdan, said that although the institution is grateful to its care teams, it made mistakes in handling a difficult challenge, which includes not diagnosing Duncan’s symptoms as Ebola on his first visit.Berdan said the hospital had begun Ebola preparedness activities but had not fully deployed them when Duncan sought care.He added that the investigation is still under way into what led to the nurses’ infections, but so far indications show that the staff was following CDC recommendations that were in place at the time. He said in the meanwhile, the hospital is making all changes that are needed to make the environment safer for workers.Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has identified 17 more people for Ebola contact tracing, raising the total to 159, according to an update today. The people may have had contact with Vinson, the second infected Dallas nurse. She had traveled by air to the Akron area in the days before her fever developed and may have had her first symptoms before she departed the state.The number of people who are quarantined in Ohio remains at three.Other developmentsEmory University Hospital announced yesterday that a patient admitted for Ebola treatment on Sep 9 was discharged from the hospital on Oct 19. It said in a statement that tests showed that the man is free of the virus and doesn’t pose a public health threat. It said he asked to remain anonymous, left the hospital for an undisclosed location, and will make a statement at a later date. The patient, the third to be treated for Ebola at Emory’s special unit, is thought to be an American doctor who got sick with the virus while working for the WHO in West Africa.Health officials from a Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia and their collaborators from the CDC today described how the company’s health system responded to the Ebola outbreak, an experience that may yield lessons for other groups. The report appeared today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The company’s plantation, located in Margibi County, employs 8,500 people in Liberia. The plantation’s first Ebola case was detected at the end of March in a woman who had cared for a sick family member outside the plantation. Her illness triggered the company health group’s incident management system to handle the response, which ranged from case identification to integrating recovered patients back into society. The plantation experienced a spurt of infections starting in early August. By Sep 23, 71 Ebola cases had been reported, 39 of them fatal. The authors wrote that Firestone’s quick response limited the spread of the disease, and that several unique elements of the response might be useful in other settings—for example, managing contacts based on their exposure and allowing voluntary quarantine while providing educational materials, personal protective gear, and waste disposal equipment.See also:Oct 21 DHS statementOct 17 WHO Ebola preparedness checklistOct 21 TDSHS updateOct 20 Texas Health Resource statement on end to ambulance diversionOct 19 Texas Health Resource letterOct 21 ODH contact updateOct 20 Emory University Hospital statementOct 21 MMWR reportlast_img read more

Robert Smith Sr. and Robert Smith Jr. Re-join ARI as Senior Advisors to the Board

first_imgANAHEIM, CA — American Remanufacturers, Inc. announced the return of Robert Smith, Sr. to lead all day-to-day activities and to serve as an advisor to the board. Robert Smith, Jr., will also be rejoining the organization. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Smith, Sr., who retired from ARI in April 2004, is the former chairman of ARI and co-founder of Car Components Technologies, Inc. (CCT), which merged with ARI in March 2003. Rob Smith, Jr., also a co-founder of CCT, will be bringing years of remanufacturing experience and strong vendor and customer relationships to the organization. “I look forward to returning to the automotive aftermarket and getting back to work at ARI. We have great ideas for the future and an outstanding team of dedicated people. Together, we will continue to develop creative solutions for our customers and vendor partners,” said Smith, Sr. Additionally, ARI announced that Brian Johnson has been named chief financial officer. Johnson was formerly CFO of Pliant Corporation, a leading producer of value-added film and flexible packaging products for personal care, medical, food, industrial and agricultural markets with annual sales in excess of $900 million. “Although new to the automotive aftermarket, Johnson is a versatile executive,” said Smith Sr. “In addition to his financial acumen, he has several years of operational leadership experience under his belt. This will be invaluable with respect to finalizing the integration of the ARI businesses and creating the foundation for the company’s growth strategy.” Advertisement Effective with these changes, ARI also stated that Larry Pavey left the company and his position on the board. Pavey joined ARI in May 2003 as chief executive officer and was subsequently named chairman. “I’ve known Larry for many years, as do many people in the industry. We wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Smith, Sr. _______________________________________ Click here to view the rest of today’s headlines.last_img read more

Investment down by half in Thames Valley

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Filling stations

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Roll up for Mendoza’s magical mystery tour

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Jibbing and tacking with Captain Jack

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Dockwise positions itself for offshore growth

first_imgThe company remains upbeat in its outlook but says that it has “still fully to shake off the delayed impact of the 2009 oil price slump.”Dockwise, with a fleet of 19 semi-submersible vessels and a USD240 million ultra-large heavy lift vessel on order, reported full year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of USD176 million – down on 2009 – while 2010 net profit of USD37 milllion fell from an adjusted USD63 million in 2009.Andre Goedee, Dockwise chief executive said: “2010 was a demanding year, but Dockwise demonstrated its resilience and we made strong progress. The group turned in a solid financial performance in challenging markets.”Mr Goedee claimed that that the decision to order the ‘Type Zero’ ultra-large heavylift vessel will give the company a “unique presence in a premium segment of the market”.Mr Goedee added: “With our principal client industry, oil and gas, in robust health, Dockwise is looking forward to 2011 and beyond. In the short term, we have still fully to shake off the delayed impact of the 2009 oil price slump, however longer term we are encouraged by a number of factors.”Sustained buoyancy in the oil price should stimulate the demand for drill rigs for field developments, while we await the recovery in port and marine services which historically has followed a macro-economic upturn. Beyond this year, major offshore project activity provides an encouraging horizon.”For the last three months of 2010, Dockwise reported a “healthy performance” with revenues of USD123 million, against an adjusted result of USD118.2 million for the same period of 2009.Dockwise said uit sees evidence of a “sustained upturn”, but as a “late-cycle business”, the benefits are likely to longer to feed through than to elsewhere in the oilfield services sector.”Looking beyond this year, and assessing generational rather cyclical change, we are encouraged. From 2012 onward, we see a growing set of major offshore new production and development projects for which we are aggressively positioning Dockwise to be the offshore service provider of choice.”last_img read more

No, the Great Barrier Reef is not actually dead

first_img Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. (CNN) There is a big difference between dead and dying.Outside Magazine published a somewhat tongue-in-cheek obituary for the Great Barrier Reef earlier this week, citing its lifespan from 25 million BC-2016. The article detailed the life of the reef, its active membership in the ecological community, its worldwide fame and the coral bleaching that has led to its deteriorating health. “The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old,” read the article.The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old: https://t.co/TrEXJuTxFJ #RIP pic.twitter.com/7U3wPDPSM2— Outside Magazine (@outsidemagazine) October 12, 2016Immediate response on social mediaThe obituary was met with horror and disbelief, both by scientists and social media users alike. Russell Brainard, chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, told HuffPost that he believes the article was highlighting the urgency of the situation, but that those who don’t have any context “are going to take it at face value that the Great Barrier Reef is dead.”Many people on social media are indeed taking it at face value. Twitter users have been grieving the loss of the reef and urging followers to pay serious attention to the consequences. Many are spreading false information entirely. Rowan Jacobsen, the writer of the obituary, is a food and environmental writer, not a scientist. But the article has led some outlets to claim that scientists have declared the reef officially dead, further spreading the exaggeration.People have also taken to Twitter to try to get the truth out. Environmental reporter Tony Davis tweeted, “Reports of the Great Barrier Reef’s death are greatly exaggerated, say scientists, booing Outside Magazine” and the Cornell Cooperative Extension at Rockland County, which cites ecological sustainability as one of its missions, tweeted “Great Barrier Reef is Dying NOT Dead! ‘The message should be that it isn’t too late… not we should all give up.’”The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It covers more than 300,000 square kilometers and consists of more than 3,000 reefs, 600 islands, and 300 coral cays.Recovery effortsThere’s no denying that the Great Barrier Reef is in serious trouble. According to a report by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, 93% of the reef is affected by bleaching, putting the reef in danger of extinction. Bleaching occurs when coral are put under extreme stress by changes in conditions like temperature, light, or nutrients. In these conditions, they expel symbiotic algae from their tissues, causing them to turn white.Scientists are increasingly worried that over-exaggerating the state of the reef will promote the idea that it is past the point of recovery. Professor John Pandolfi from the ARC Centre at the University of Queensland has expressed hope. “It is critically important now to bolster the resilience of the reef, and to maximize its natural capacity to recover.” But the effects are serious and possibly permanent. “The reef is no longer as resilient as it once was, and it’s struggling to cope with three bleaching events in just 18 years,” he said.The obituary lays blame on the Australian government, noting that the government pressured the United Nations to remove the reef from a climate change report because it was concerned about its impact on tourism. But on September 28, the Australian and Queensland governments released the first Reef 2050 Plan annual report, showing the $2 billion investment toward improving the reef’s health for future generations is paying off. The plan has accomplished 29 of its 151 intended actions, though it notes that the recovery process needs to be accelerated if they want to continue to be successful.Coral bleaching, fishing, mining, and burning fossil fuels have all contributed to the destruction of the reef over several decades. More than 2 million people visit it each year, and governments, scientists, and charities are working so future generations can continue to appreciate its beauty.It’s not dead yet, folks. Published: October 14, 2016 3:19 PM EDT No, the Great Barrier Reef is not actually dead SHARElast_img read more