Posts Tagged ‘premiums’

Our City Family: Labor Council, Chamber of Commerce, and Warren Hellman Unite to Fight Jeff Adachi’s Prop D

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Well here’s the news of the day – it’s the launch of YesOnCNoOnD.com

And look who’s the headliner of this Fellowship, it’s “Civic Leader” Warren Hellman, who used to play for the other team, so to speak.

Anyway, all the deets, below.

That Warren sure loves his banjo:

Click to expand

“PAULSON, FALK TO CO-CHAIR YES ON PROPOSITION C PENSION REFORM CAMPAIGN - Top Labor Leader, Top Business Leader Tapped To Lead Consensus Coalition

SAN FRANCISCO, August 31, 2011 – San Franciscans United For Pension And Health Reform today selected Tim Paulson and Steve Falk to serve as co-chairs of the campaign supporting Proposition C and opposing Proposition D on the November ballot.

Paulson is executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council, comprised of 150 local unions and representing 100,000 workers, and Falk is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, a 1,500-member organization representing the business community.

“We are pleased that San Francisco’s top labor leader and top business leader are working together to lead this coalition’s campaign for pension and health reform,” said Thomas P. O’Connor, president of Fire Fighters Local 798. “Unions and the business community don’t agree on everything, but on Proposition C, San Francisco is united.”

Falk praised Proposition C, which was developed with input from the community, introduced by Mayor Ed Lee, and passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors.

“Proposition C saves taxpayers at least $1.3 billion over the next decade,” said Falk. “This measure is fiscally responsible and it will help keep us solvent.”

Paulson emphasized the measure’s fairness.

“Proposition C provides a safety net for hardworking city employees who earn lower wages,” said Paulson. “It keeps pension contributions stable for those making less than $50,000 a year. Those who make more pay more.”

O’Connor drew a contrast between Proposition C and Proposition D, a rival pension measure.

“Proposition C has widespread support because it was conceived in the light of day, with a public process that encouraged input and ideas from everyone,” said O’Connor. “On the other hand, the backers of Proposition D bought their way onto the ballot with signature gatherers who were paid five dollars a signature and repeatedly got caught on tape lying about what the measure would do.”

Today, San Franciscans United For Pension And Health Reform also announced the other members of its campaign committee. In addition to Paulson, Falk, and O’Connor, the committee includes other business and labor leaders, along with the measure’s sponsor at the Board of Supervisors:

Warren Hellman, Civic Leader
Gary Delagnes, President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association
Sean Elsbernd, Member of the Board of Supervisors
Steve Fields, Co-Chair of the Human Services Network
Larry Mazzola, Business Manager and Financial Secretary Treasurer of UA Local 38
Rebecca Rhine, Executive Director of the Municipal Executives Association
Bob Muscat, Executive Director of IFTPE Local 21
Sean Connolly, President of the Municipal Attorneys Association

Please visit www.yesoncnoond.com for more information.”

Blue Shield of California Announces Independent Review of Rates, Possible Refunds, But Then Takes It Back

Friday, January 14th, 2011

[UPDATE: Not sure why Blue Cross pulled and then re-issued this press release. Some background on the rate increases here.]

I don’t know, here’s the release that Blue Shield of California sent out this AM, which wouldn’t be all that interesting excepting for the fact that they just went and called it back, they’re saying right now they want you to disregard it.

The Blue Shield, they want a Mulligan on this one looks like, but they don’t say why so that’s bad cricket, IMO.

I can’t decide that for you. You’re going to have to choose whether you wish to avert you gaze or not. Starting…. now!

As seen at AT&T Park during that whole Icer Air ski jump thing back in ought -seven. That’s a Blue Shield, right?

Blue Shield of California Agrees to Independent Actuarial Review of Rates. Company will make refunds to policyholders if rates are unsound

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 14, 2011 — Responding to concerns raised about rising individual health insurance rates, Blue Shield of California announced today that it will voluntarily subject its rates to an independent actuarial review and make refunds to policyholders if the actuary finds that the rates are unsound. David Axene, the respected actuary who discovered errors in other California rate filings last year, will conduct the independent review of the not-for-profit health plan’s rates.

Approximately 194,000 Blue Shield of California Life and Health Insurance Company members recently received notices of rate increases that averaged 15% annually. Due to a variety of factors, some members received increases much higher than the average.

“We regret that our members have received significant rate increases in recent months and want to be absolutely certain that the rates reflect our actual cost of providing medical care,” said Blue Shield Chairman and CEO Bruce Bodaken. “To establish trust and confidence in our rate-setting process, we have taken the unprecedented step of agreeing to be bound by the conclusions of an independent third party. If this independent review finds that the rates are not sound, we will hold our members harmless by refunding the difference with interest.”

Mr. Axene is president of Axene Health Partners LLC, and has worked as a professional actuary since 1971. Last year, he conducted independent reviews of individual rate filings for the California Department of Insurance, where he found errors that, when corrected, resulted in lower rates for hundreds of thousands of consumers.

Mr. Axene will be free to confer with the Department of Insurance on his review, which he hopes to complete in 30-45 days. He will evaluate Blue Shield’s rate filing to determine if its calculations are accurate and its assumptions are sound. He will determine if the rates are “excessive, unjustified, or unfairly discriminatory,” which is the standard suggested by recently proposed federal rate review regulations. Whatever conclusions he reaches, his report will be made available to the public.

Despite Blue Shield’s recent rate increases, the company expects to lose $10-20 million on its individual health plan business in 2010 and another $20-30 million in 2011. Blue Shield’s total costs for hospitals, physicians and prescription drugs have risen by an average of 15% annually for each of the past three years.

“Our premiums are rising because of the rapid increase in healthcare expenses for our members,” said Bodaken. “Reducing medical costs must be an urgent national priority for health coverage to be affordable for the vast majority of Americans.”

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members, 4,800 employees, and one of the largest provider networks in California. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California offers a wide range of commercial and government products throughout the state. The company has contributed more than $125 million over the past four years to the Blue Shield of California Foundation–which was named one of BusinessWeek’s 20 most generous corporate foundations. Contact your local agent or broker for more information about Blue Shield products and services, or visit the Blue Shield website at www.blueshieldca.com.

The Biggest Mobilization Yet Against Prop B – “Bad Medicine” in GGP – “How Would Prop. B Change Health Costs?”

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Read below to get the deets on today’s big anti-Prop B mobilization at the east end of the Golden Gate Park Panhandle.

So maybe somebody will give you a novelty pill bottle today – this is the reason why.

Now, the Bay Citizen‘s Elizabeth Lesly Stevens and Tasneem Raja have been all over the Prop B recently. Check out their recent efforts along with lively commentary from readers:

How much more would city employees pay for health care under Prop. B?

Bay Citizen Analysis: How Would Prop. B Change Health Costs?

And, from the pro-B people, here’s something they put together that didn’t cost a dime:

San Francisco City Workers are Overpaid

(Actually, I didn’t know that these free text-to-computer voice characters could be made to dance.)

(Or maybe the Prop B people spent $20k on it – I can’t really tell.)

O.K., back to today’s event.

This is a big deal covering many supervisorial districts. See?

Click to expand

Thank Gaia the Hawaiian Surfers Union was there as well:

And here are your Prop B props:

All the deets:

“Hundreds Of Anti-Prop B Volunteers To Mobilize Saturday After Panhandle Gathering, “Pill Bottle” Giveaway In S.F. Neighborhoods

Massive mobilization of hundreds of volunteers against Proposition B, which will double the cost of children’s health care. Throughout the day, volunteers will be tabling in neighborhoods with “pill bottle” giveaways to symbolize that Prop B is “bad medicine.” Other volunteers will spread out around the city and knock on doors to educate voters about the bad effects of Prop B.”

OMG! Prop B Backer F. Warren Hellman Pulls a 180 – Now Opposes Prop B – Will He Get a $50 K Refund?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

[UPDATE: Writer Joe Eskenazi has the deets on the prospects for F. Warren for getting a $50K refund from the Prop B people. The chances don’t look good at this point. And further explication comes from Heather Knight. That will have to do for now…]

The Question of the Day is this:

How do you get a strong-willed (and is there any other kind?) billionaire to change his or her mind?

No matter, San Francisco’s #1 banjo playerwants out of the pro-Proposition B campaign. Get all the deets, plus reaction from San Francisco Labor Council President Tim Paulson, below.

(This is seismic, baby.)

(This is unprecedented, baby.)

Click to expand. His head’s not really blue – it’s just the way the lighting was.

(Hello, MSM, are you there? It’s me, Margaret. Can we get a little follow-up, please? Show us what you can do with this one. Starting…now!)

Statement from F. Warren Hellman:

“I’m leaving the Yes on Proposition B campaign for the same reason I got involved in the campaign in the first place – we need a meaningful dialogue in San Francisco between business and labor to solve long-term problems threatening the city’s future without name-calling and fingerpointing.
 
“We must address the issue of spiraling public pension and health benefits costs. They’re like an iceberg floating beneath the surface that threatens to sink cities like ours. At the same time, I’m not willing scapegoat police officers, firefighters and other public workers to do it.
 
“We got into this situation together and we must work together to solve it in the interest of a city we all love.
 
“I was reminded of this spirit at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this past weekend.  We pulled off a massive free concert in Golden Gate Park without one major injury, disruption or arrest, which is a testament to the professionalism of San Francisco’s public workers and our City’s spirit of cooperation.
 
“I believe that organized labor appreciates that it is in San Francisco’s interest – and the interest of its members — to head off a looming pension and benefits crisis before it cripples public services and leaves police officers, firefighters and other public workers without retirement security.
 
“And I also believe that San Francisco business must understand its responsibility to pay its fair share to fund quality public services. And that begins with workers who are properly trained, fairly paid and able to retire with dignity.
 
“We have a history of working together in this city and settling issues without expensive and divisive political fights at the ballot box. I’m going to focus my attention and resources on restarting those discussions.”

Statement from Tim Paulson, San Francisco Labor Council

“On behalf of the Labor community, we are very pleased that Warren Hellman has withdrawn his support from the Yes on B campaign. Many of us in organized labor have worked closely with Mr. Hellman in recent years to rebuild San Francisco’s schools and fund public education and we were disappointed to be at odds on this measure.
 
“We share Mr. Hellman’s legitimate concerns about rising pension and health care costs and commit to work with him and other likeminded leaders in the business community to address them. We want to find sustainable and affordable ways to attract and retain the best public employees, compensate them fairly and allow them to retire with dignity. In short, we acknowledge and respect Mr. Hellman’s goals, even if Prop B is not the vehicle to achieve them.”

Ever more deets, from the Anti-Prop B people, after the jump

(more…)

Raucous NO ON B Rally at Laguna Honda Hospital – 200 Noisy Protesters – Bad Medicine Website Launches

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

This was a fairly large event, this NO ON B rally. State Senators Leland Yee and Mark Leno, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Board President David Chiu, and Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Carmen Chu, Eric Mar plus a couple hundred city workers were all on hand this afternoon in front of The Pavilion at the renewed Laguna Honda Hospital.

See?

Click to expand

Avuncular Leland Yee went on the attack against Prop B proponent Jeff Adachi:

“Jeff Adachi you have slighted this city.”

And:

“How dare you take this from the backs of our workers?”

O.K. then.

Today’s rally coincides with the website lauch:

“The No on Proposition B campaign today launched its website, www.nobadmedicine.com, a resource to learn the facts about Proposition B, a November 2 ballot measure that will double the cost of health care for over 20,000 people. The new site features a fact check of the “Yes” campaign’s claims and the stories of real people who would be directly impacted by the passage of Prop B.”

Now, let’s take a look at where the money for Prop B is coming from. The Bay Citizen‘s Elizabeth Lesly Stevens has a bunch of new names.

That’s your Prop B update for the day…

Prop B Roundup: Warren Hellman Donates $50k to Support, Bevan Dufty Campaigns to Oppose in the Castro Today

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

First up – the Bay Citizen‘s Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Weber has the deets on Warren Hellman’s recent $50k donation to Propostion B.

And second up – District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty will campaign against B this afternoon in the Castro.

A wolf showed up at the last No on B event, but there’s no word on the chances of another appearance:

All the deets:

SUPERVISOR BEVAN DUFTY, PROP B OPPONENTS TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST PROP B

Prop B: Bad Medicine

“San Francisco has been a leader in providing universal health care for all of its citizens, but Proposition B will take health care away from many hardworking families.  Prop B will also cost the city millions of dollars in federal funding for health care.  Prop B is a step backwards and is wrong for San Francisco.”

—Supervisor Bevan Dufty

Who: Opponents of Proposition B including Supervisor Bevan Dufty, San Francisco firefighters, nurses, teachers, and LGBT community leaders

What: Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Prop B opponents campaign against Prop B

Where: CASTRO AND MARKET, San Francisco 

When: Wednesday, September 29, 1:00 PM

Why: To campaign against Prop B, distribute No on B signs and literature to neighborhood merchants, and talk to voters about the health care impacts of Prop B

Senator Leland Yee Stars at Small No On Prop B Rally in the Inner Sunset – Wolfman Shows Up as Well

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Boy, the metaphors are just flying out of the No On B campaign this week. Here’s their website.

Now, just a few days ago, this crowd was describing Proposition B as a “Trojan horse,” but that just got switched to “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Read on.

Ninth and Lincoln this AM - a dreaded sunny day:

Click to expand

Lots of press and about ten union guys holding signs…

…in front of pharmacy, hence the term “bad medicine.”

And oh, here’s Prop B personified:

NB: There’s NB on the scene:

Two thumbs up from the wolf.

And then they were off down Irving:

Here’s some of the lit:

And here’s the pitch, after the jump

(more…)

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Acts to Prevent Sex Discrimination in Health Care

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed a lawsuit to prevent gender discrimination in health care premiums. 

Read about how the individual health care market fails women here. And read all about today’s suit below.

Dennis J., at it again:

Herrera Challenges Constitutionality of
Insurance ‘Gender Rating’ in California
Insurance Industry Practice of Charging Women Up to 39% More
for Health Care Coverage Called Discriminatory, Unconstitutional
SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 27, 2009) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed
suit to strike down provisions of state law that permit gender rating, a
practice by health insurers and health care service plans that can force
women to pay a significant premium or price differential based solely on
their gender. The 13-page pleading filed in San Francisco Superior Court
this morning alleges that such rating practices by health insurers deny
women their right to equal protection under the California Constitution,
and asks the court to declare the discriminatory laws void and enjoin state
officials from enforcing them.
Today’s lawsuit makes good on a Dec. 18 notice of intent Herrera sent to
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., Insurance Commissioner
Steve Poizner and Department of Managed Health Care Director Lucinda Ehnes
informing them of the City’s plans to file the constitutional challenge.
On Jan. 14, State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation
to prohibit gender rating by health insurance companies in California,
which could, depending on the outcome, obviate Herrera’s legal challenge.
“Women who are priced out of private health coverage by insurance
companies’ discriminatory practices are often forced to rely on public
hospitals and clinics instead,” said Herrera. “So, gender rating isn’t
simply unfair to women — it’s unfair to all taxpayers who are forced to
subsidize health insurers’ discriminatory pricing schemes. I am grateful
to Sen. Leno for his leadership in pursuing a legislative fix that can
hopefully remove the need for the City’s lawsuit. But it is clear we need
to act now to end a practice that imposes an unfair and unconstitutional
burden on too many women in California.”
“During these difficult economic times, when more women are losing their
jobs, and employers are likely to cut their health care plans, we must
protect fair access to health care in the individual market,” said Sen.
Leno. The Senator’s bill, SB 54, to end gender rating in California, could
be heard in the State Senate as early as February.
Both Herrera’s litigation and Leno’s legislation apply only to individual
health care service plans and policies; employer-sponsored plans are
already prohibited from charging men different premiums than women in
California. A report by the National Women’s Law Center issued last
September found that California women under the age of 55 pay up to 39
percent more for insurance than men. The study looked at insurance coverage
for women at ages 25, 40 and 55.