Archive for November, 2009

These rate actions will impact NEW BUSINESS with effective dates of 1/1/2010 or later.

To access details on the rate actions, please visit our Resources Page and select the following:

  • Company = Aetna
  • Product = Medicare Supplement
  • State = (Choose your state)

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Here is a pretty good analysis from Bob Laszewski.  When you look at the cost over 10 years, if you only pay for benefits for 6 years (expense) and begin raising taxes and cutting Medicare immediately (income and/or expense reductions), you can claim this won’t add to the deficit.  Again, this doesn’t contemplate fixing the Physician’s Fee Schedule in Medicare which would cost $250 Billion to do.   The Physician’s fix is the #1 priority of the AMA.  Also, you are assuming you can cut the real growth rate (growth less inflation) of healthcare spending by 50% over the next 10 years versus the last 10 years (from 4% down to 2%).  That’s probably easier said than done considering the goal is to expand access to healthcare for people who can’t afford or can’t qualify for health insurance.

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Aetna to Cut 3.5% of its Workforce

Aetna will be eliminating about 1,200 jobs by early 2010.  Aetna is not planning to exit any of its existing markets.  Here is the full story for National Underwriter.

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Here is an article from the National Underwriter on the Senate Bill!

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Here is a link to an AP story which lays out a comparison of the 2 bills.

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My apologies for the sustained outage with some of the key functionality of the www.Ritterim.com website.

Our hosting service lost a switch which took our database server offline at 11:30 AM today.  In the past, we had some short outages (15 minutes or less), but nothing like this.

Much of the functionality of our website is derived from our SQL Server Database.  This powerful database manages our licensing paperwork, forms (applications, rates), our calendar of events, our Medicare Quote Engine and more.

Initially, because our Homepage pulls Upcoming Events from the Database, our entire Homepage crashed.  We were able to re-write our Homepage so that if the Server is timed out, the page will still load, but with limited functionality.

What are we doing to fix this?

First of all, our host is working to correct the problem with our existing Database Server.  Additionally, we purchased additional space with another host to run a mirror copy of our Quote Engine on another SQL Database Server.  We are working late into the evening to upload, literally, millions of records to the new Server.

Generally, these types of redundance issues should be handled by our hosting service.  We are evaluating our best course of action to ensure that this issue does not occur again.

My apologies for any inconvenience this has caused!

Craig Ritter, President, Ritter Insurance Marketing

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Agents who have taken the AHIP training need to be aware of some modifications to the training course which are important for the 2010 selling season.  If you took AHIP as compliance for your Annual Certification, you will be getting an URGENT email from AHIP which outlines the changes to the training.  You will want to click on the links are review the pages where there are changes.

Here are the links, however, you will want to click on the links embedded in the email that AHIP sends you.

Part 4 – See Yellow Changes to Slides 6-8, 13, 15-18, 23, 33, 35 and 36

Part 5 – See Yellow Changes to Slides 10 and 30.

Part 5

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Here is a link to Janet’s editorial in WSJ.com.  I’ve talked about the affects of combining a weak mandate with no underwriting requirements and no pre-existing conditions.  Janet likens this to setting the cost of a Parking Ticket at $0.25.  Why would anyone pay to park if the Parking ticket costs less?  Similar situation here.  Also, I don’t think we’ll be putting people in jail for not buying insurance (just my feeling).

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Here is a quick video I made yesterday with instructions on how to access the quality data for Medicare Part D Plans and Medicare Advantage plans with Prescription Drug Benefits.

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Here is the story from the Detroit News.  BCBS of Michigan was looking for a 31% increase ($33/month).  The administrative law judge ruled for a 3.8% increase ($4/month).  BCBS of Michigan has 210,000 Medigap members on this plan.  The difference $29/month times 12 months times 210,000 policyholders means an annual difference of $73 million.

BCBS of Michigan can appeal the ruling.  The Michigan Insurance Commissioner, Ken Ross, will make the final determination in early December.

I also found this story here.  These numbers make a little more sense in calculating the $85 million in savings that the Michigan attorney general references. . .

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