There has been a lot of talk on Capitol Hill and in the news about taxpayer-funded “bailouts” for insurance companies under Obamacare. But what exactly are lawmakers talking about when they reference these “bailouts?”
The “bailouts” have come in the form of two programs—the risk corridor and reinsurance programs—written into the health care law and designed to mitigate risks for insurance companies.
But they haven’t worked out quite the way they were intended.
Learn more about the risk corridor and reinsurance programs, as well as the debate surrounding their futures, in the video above.
President Barack Obama will head to the election battleground state Florida on Thursday to offer his prescription for fixing the Affordable Care Act, his signature healthcare law, but any remedies will be left up to his successor and the next Congress.
Battling a barrage of negative headlines about rising health insurance premiums and shrinking doctor networks for people participating in the program, Obama is urging more young, uninsured people to sign up for the subsidized insurance plans offered under the law.
He also wants to encourage lawmakers to create a government-run health insurance option to help U.S. states where there is little or no competition among private insurers.
"That added competition in all 50 states would, we believe, have the effect of further challenging private health insurance companies to improve their offerings and reduce their prices," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday.
Obama's Miami speech is scheduled for 1:55 p.m. ET (1755 GMT).
He will then headline a rally for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate in the Nov. 8 presidential election, who has said she would add a public option and expand tax incentives for healthcare costs. Republican Donald Trump has pledged to repeal and replace the law.
Republicans who control Congress have bitterly fought the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying it creates unwarranted government intervention in personal healthcare and private industry.
The government forecasts 13.8 million people will sign up for Obamacare plans in 2017, up 1.1 million from 2016.
There are 10.7 million uninsured people who are eligible for the exchanges but have not enrolled, and about 40 percent of those are young, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said on Wednesday.
Sometimes, there's nothing better than a good neighbor, and now there's an app for that.
Nextdoor a private social network for your specific neighborhood, and Wednesday the Camden County Police Department announced it is working with that app to make their neighborhoods safer, and stronger.The app helps people in an area connect virtually, from hearing about a rash of break-ins to finding a babysitter.
Police in Camden Wednesday say this virtual neighborhood watch is key to better communications and getting neighbors to work together to keep the streets safe.
One resident, Sheila Green, from the P arkside neighborhood explained how her neighbors worked together to help police make a robbery arrest.
"Once we actually started giving information, height, size, day, night, what he did, we were able to communicate to our police department who at that time. and we had enough info to help them apprehend this guy, which they did."
It's a two way conversation.
Police are also using NextDoor to get out the latest information on crime trends, which change block by block.
It's been three years since the NextDoor social networking app launched in the city of St. Louis connecting neighbors to their neighborhoods in new ways. On Sunday, Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed celebrated three years of a successful partnership and honored neighborhood champions.
"The thing that makes it work are all the residents coming together, the sharing of ideas and creating special groups within those neighborhood organizations" said President Reed. "All within the app itself and making it work" he said.
One of those residents, who have been involved with NextDoor in St. Louis since its launch, is Lafayette Square's Michael Petetit.
"I use it to put things out there and I use it to let people know about crime stats because that’s why I started using NextDoor" Petetit said. "It allows the city residents to find out issues that are important to them from the city letting us know and also from us neighbors to neighbors" Petetit said.
Unlike other social apps like Facebook or Twitter which connects worldwide users to each other, NextDoor only allows residents to join their neighborhoods page. President Reed says in three years, participation in St. Louis has skyrocketed with over 1000 people joining the platform every day.
"You’re sharing ideas and things with your direct neighbor and you all have something in common, you’re neighborhood and the safety, security and the development of your neighborhood" Reed said.
"Information is power and the more information we can have about things we can do to protect ourselves or get involved, or do some things in an active way" said Petetit.
As the app continually expands, Reed is hopeful that its use in St. Louis also grows.
"More of the city departments connected to it, more of the elected officials connected to it so that they can take part in it and neighbors from throughout the communities can share their ideas and also their concerns directly with their elected officials" said Reed.
An 18-year-old woman was convicted Thursday in the death of a Chinese graduate student who was beaten to death by a group of people as he walked home after a study session.Alejandra Guerrero, the first of four people to be tried in the murder of 24-year-old Xinran Ji during a 2014 robbery attempt at the University of Southern California, was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges, according to CBS News.Authorities alleged that Ji, an electrical engineering student, was killed by a group of four people wielding a baseball bat and a wrench as he was walking to his off-campus apartment around 12:45 a.m. He managed to get away from his attackers, only to be caught a block away and beaten again.He then staggered into his apartment afterwards, where he was found dead the following morning in his bed by his roommate from severe cranial cerebral trauma.“Xinran came here to this country to chase the American dream,” Qiang Xiao, a Ji family supporter, told KTLA last month. “His right is terminated due to this crime. So now we want to see justice can be served.”Guerrero, who was 16 at the time of Ji’s death, was tried as an adult and could face up to life in prison without parole when she is sentenced on Nov. 28. Prosecutor John McKinney told the jury during closing arguments that Guerrero minimized her involvement in the murder by claiming that she only hit Ji in the hand with a wrench and lied to police about it.The other suspects – Jonathan Del Carme, 21, Andrew Garcia, 20 and Albert Ochoa, 19 – are currently awaiting trial in connection with Ji’s death.The four suspects were driving around town looking for someone to rob when they saw Ji walking alone, officials said. Surveillance cameras show the group surrounding Ji, and him subsequently being chased.The killing rekindled concerns about the safety of Chinese students at USC – according to CBS News, two other graduate students from China were killed in 2012.
Whether you’re a millennial embarking on a relatively new investment journey, a hard working Baby Boomer seeking to grow your portfolio in order to someday enjoy retirement, or a retiree who needs to make your money last, it’s wise to pay attention to portfolio diversification and rebalancing. We have all heard that before!
While change is often uncomfortable -- even financial advisors sometimes dread discussions related to investment diversification -- the topic is one that cannot be ignored. Those who keep all of their investment eggs in one basket are missing an opportunity to profit from exposure to new asset classes while reducing risk overall. Indeed, studies show that only two percent of managers produced statistically significant alpha in 2015.* Maybe the status quo isn’t such a good idea after all. Are we perhaps, just in a sideways trend, or an unprecedented new era of portfolio management?
It’s important to understand that diversification is much more than simply buying stock in various industry sectors, tracking the charts and hoping for the best. When exploring ways to reshape your portfolio, it is essential to seek diversification by sectors, asset classes, position/size and geography. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and pursue emerging strategies with the potential to outperform. For example, technological advances now make it possible to use sophisticated algorithms to make investment decisions in inventive new ways. Did you know that in the coming years, robots are expected to replace commercial truck drivers? Did you realize that in some countries, the lack of a population base to take care of their elderly may result in the use of humanoid robotics to take care of the elderly and infirmed? How did this happen so “quickly,” and right under our noses? Technology, as it is evolving, is becoming more and more powerful, and making quantum leaps in the efficacy of the industries it impacts. Although I personally see the replacement of labor by robots as a serious economic concern to those directly impacted by the shrinking workforce, in other sectors, the use of technology has created massive opportunity as it pertains to one’s portfolio.
Here are a few forward-thinking ideas to keep in mind in today’s dynamic business climate. Let’s take a closer and more detailed look:
“Smart” Investing May Benefit from Artificial Intelligence
According to a TechCrunch article this week, robots are expected to replace more than three million humans in the workplace by 2018 and by 2020 smart machines will be a top investment priority for more than 30 percent of CIOs. In the investment arena, sophisticated artificial intelligence and algo-trading are already the basis for sophisticated, proprietary investment approaches. Mathematical models that optimize timing, price, quantity and risk are the cornerstone of algo-trading and are capable of reducing the risk of manual errors in placing trades as well as the possibility of mistakes by human traders based on emotional and analytical errors. In the case of Mediatrix Capital, our systems are capable of performing in a capacity that would require a minimum of 40 minds working at top speed and laser focus, instantly. Do you have a staff that large managing your portfolio exclusively? You can now.
Pokémon look more distinguished than ever in authentic ukiyo-e that pay homage to a pair of feudal Japan’s greatest artists.
Is the quintessential representation of Japanese art an ukiyo-e woodblock print or an anime cel? It’s really got to be one of those two, as they’re both instantly recognizable as indigenous products of Japan, symbols of societal phenomena at home and gateways to the greater world of Japanese culture for many overseas.
Now, those two artistic forces have come together in a collection of Pokémon woodblock prints. These aren’t simply illustrations drawn using classical aesthetics, either. Highly skilled craftsmen actually carved, by hand and using traditional techniques, the necessary woodblocks to use as stamps for producing the paintings.
U.S. median household income rose to $56,516 in 2015, an increase of $2,800, or 5.2% over 2014 levels. Despite it being the largest percentage increase since 1998, median household income remains lower than it was in 2007 when adjusted for inflation.
Whether an American is likely to make more or less than the national median is tied to where he or she lives. High-income areas tend to be in or near dense urban centers, with economies based in industries that require highly skilled workers. Not all cities, however, provide equally high incomes. Across the 381 U.S. metropolitan areas, median incomes vary by as much as $67,906.
State insurance regulators across the country have approved health care premium increases higher than those requested by insurers, despite a national effort to keep rates for policies sold on Affordable Care Actexchanges from skyrocketing, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
In eight states, regulators approved premiums that were a percentage point or more higher than carriers wanted, said Charles Gaba, a health data expert at ACASignups.net who analyzed the rates for USA TODAY. As of Tuesday, those states are Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Utah.
Pennsylvania regulators approved individual plan rate increases Monday of 33%, which is eight points higher than requested. Two insurers — Keystone Health Plan and Geisinger Quality Option — will also no longer offer plans on the ACA exchange for the state.
"These rate increases make it clear that Washington needs to move swiftly to address consumer needs under the Affordable Care Act," Pennsylvania insurance commissioner Teresa Miller said in a statement.
But Gaba doesn't think it's as bad as it appears.
Charles Gaba, founder of ACASignups.net, which covers Affordable Care Act data [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: handout)
“To consumers, this seems terrible like, ‘Oh, they’re price gouging us,’ ” Gaba said. “But part of regulators’ jobs is to keep insurance companies solvent so they can continue to give people insurance.”
Gaba's analysis of rates for the individual insurance market includes some of his own projections based on available data It also weights the averages of different insurers' rate increases, based on their relative market share. The averages also assume that all of those now insured renew their existing policies and doesn't include new policies since there’s no earlier rates with which to compare those.
This market now covers about 18 million people who don't get their insurance through work, Medicare, Medicaid or the Department of Veterans Affairs. About half of these people get some subsidies to pay for insurance.
The Kaiser Family Foundation said Tuesday that more than 5 million people who are uninsured are eligible for tax credits to help pay their premiums.
This year may be the last for dramatic premium increases as insurers now understand their new markets better, say some supporters of the law, including the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In fact, this year many insurance carriers have requested premium rate increases that are closer to what regulators think are appropriate, says Gaba.
“Ideally you want what’s requested to be what’s necessary,” he added. “And that was part of what happened.”
Insurer withdrawals from some markets and rate hikes of more than 50% in some areas prompted fears that some insurance marketplaces were at risk of collapsing.
Carriers that have raised premiums significantly include Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Mexico, which raised premiums by 83%, and Crystal Run Health Insurance in New York which raised premiums by about 80%.
But there are some insurers with premiums that had big drops, including Medical Health Insurance of Ohio, which cut them by about 17%.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid acting Administrator Andy Slavitt speaks at a news conference at the Treasury Department in Washington, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, on the annual Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees report. (Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)
“The business was underpriced in many markets in the first couple years,” says Andy Slavitt, CMS' acting administrator. “In retrospect, life would have been a lot better and easier if things had started 10% higher, the rate increases had been higher and it had been just a smooth steady climb.”
Insurance regulators are also trying to keep insurance affordable by petitioning lawmakers to revamp Obamacare. That’s what Al Redmer Jr., Maryland's insurance commissioner, was fighting for when he testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in mid-September. The premium approval process is more transparent than ever, Redmer said in his testimony, but health care still isn’t getting more affordable.
Part of the problem is how uncertain the health care market is for carriers, Redmer said. Carriers bring proposed rates to state regulators in May, but the numbers they produce have to cover the rest of the year. That means insurers have to scramble to get numbers that will project what their expenses will be for the next year.
President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday will likely highlight the “successes” of Obamacare, but this complex health law—with interlocking parts—is really becoming more like a patient suffering from multi-organ failure.
It starts with the costly health insurance benefit mandates that the law requires of plans sold on the Obamacare exchanges. Those can only be sustained through a heavy dose of taxpayer subsidies for enrollees. For lower-income customers, the federal subsidies only mask the symptoms of the dramatic cost increases.
Yet, the individual mandate tax penalty—riddled with exceptions—is less than the cost of the insurance itself, rendering it ineffective; and an ugly business to enforce. From the inception of the enrollment in 2014, it was estimated that about 90 percent of those remaining uninsured would not be forced to pay a penalty. The result is that the Obamacare exchanges have disproportionately enrolled those who are older, sicker, and poorer.
The Obamacare exchanges are not quite in cardiac arrest, but the vital signs show it heading there: less choice, less competition, higher premiums, and more substantial deductibles.
Why? Because millions of younger, healthier people don’t see a benefit in enrolling. This “adverse selection” ends in even higher costs for insurers. Unable to sustain the losses, more insurers withdraw, further reducing exchange competition and enrollee choice.
Beyond big deductibles to make their higher premiums more “affordable,” insurers have narrowed the networks of doctors and hospitals covered by their plans, making enrollees’ access to care progressively more difficult and resulting in consumers having fewer doctors and hospitals to choose from. A new McKinsey & Co. analysis of insurance plan filings for 18 states shows that 75 percent of the offering on the 2017 exchanges will be HMOs with narrow networks.
And, faced with bigger losses on the increasingly dysfunctional exchanges, insurers beg Congress for bailouts—all funded on the backs of federal taxpayers.
The administration is hoping that exchange enrollment will increase. The Obamacare exchanges are not quite in cardiac arrest, but the vital signs show it heading there: less choice, less competition, higher premiums, and more substantial deductibles.
An interviews with MedPage Today, physicians and their advocates said the government's new Medicare payment rule is too narrow and too complex to achieve its overarching goal of boosting value of care over volume.
Under one payment channel, called advanced alternative payment models (APMs), clinicians meeting specific requirements would earn incentive payments of approximately 5% for 5 years in a "lump-some payment" every year from 2019 to 2024.
Those ineligible for the advanced APMs will be assigned to a default framework, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). From 2019 to 2024, these providers would receive small bonuses or penalties based on their ability to meet a series of metrics across four categories: quality improvement, performance, resource use, and appropriate use of electronic health records.
You can spend your time running around with your smartphone looking for monsters with Pokémon Go. Or, this month, you can use Nextdoor’s Treat Maps to locate the houses in your neighborhood that have candy and want to give it to you. Monsters or candy, which do you choose?
Nextdoor‘s Treat Maps aren’t available for everyone, just in neighborhoods that use the private social networking service. There are currently more than 114,000 neighborhoods in the United States using the program. Most of the year, if you’re a member of a Nextdoor neighborhood, you can use the online service to share news and events, meet new neighbors, find out about parties, seek a babysitter or dog walker, post stuff you want to give away, or list items you want to sell in the classified section.
A senior State Department official sought to shield Hillary Clinton last year by pressuring the FBI to drop its insistence that an email on the private server she used while secretary of state contained classified information, according to records of interviews with FBI officials released on Monday.
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NASSAU, Bahamas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mediatrix Capital Inc. announced today that Tyler Wood has been named Senior Vice President of Global Business Development. He has 15+ years of experience in alternative investments management such as Forex, managed futures and international strategies and also consults with private clients on the formation of hedge funds and alternative investment portfolios. He previously worked with SRB Capital Management and Worldwide Futures System and currently is managing director of the Naples Family Office Association.
Wood’s passion for helping others has been displayed through his 9-year relationship with Kiva.org, a micro-lending organization supporting entrepreneurial efforts in over 80 countries and successfully loaning over $900M globally since inception.
"What excites me about working with Mediatrix Capital is its impressive track record of world-class results with minimal risk. The team has achieved 34 straight months of audited positive client gains and is very well positioned for future growth,” said Wood.
"Tyler’s extensive global background and solid reputation as an accomplished investment management professional are extremely hard to find, and we are very pleased to have him on board as the newest member of our team. I am confident that he will make significant contributions to our firm and for our investors as we expand globally and launch our new hedge fund," said Mediatrix Capital CEO Michael S. Young.
As a leader in the Forex industry, Mediatrix Capital currently offers individual managed accounts for accredited investors, family offices, and asset managers and has produced consistent strong returns since inception. In addition to a managed account platform, the Mediatrix Capital Fund will launch in Q4 2016 as a Bloomberg-listed, closed-end hedge fund administered by Sterling Fund Services, audited by KPMG, and domiciled in the Bahamas. Parent company Mediatrix Capital will raise $1 billion in investments into the new Mediatrix Capital Fund.
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