Tuesday, October 27, 2009

White House report: Rural Americans face higher poverty, less health coverage, and little choice

The White House has put out a report about rural health care, trying to make the case that rural Americans -- with less insurance, higher poverty, fewer providers and fewer good-benefits jobs -- stand to benefit from the Obama administration's health reforms more than most. Among the findings:
Rural Americans pay for nearly half of their health care costs out of their own pocket, and one out of every five farmers is in medical debt.
Click here to read the report.

"Eleven Easy Ways to Destroy Your Company", and other insurance news...

Chicago businessman Jay Goltz has a great small-business column in today's New York Times. The title sums it up: "Eleven Easy Ways to Destroy Your Company."

It's a fun read, covering things as mundane as the hazards of underinflated tires and of space heaters plugged into a cheap extension cord. But look at No. 8:
8. Insurance. I asked my insurance broker what the three biggest small-business insurance failings were. His response: 1) understating insurance to value; 2) not having employment-practices insurance; 3) not having business-income replacement coverage to replace lost revenue until the company is up and running again. It is no secret that the insurance companies are in a much bigger hurry to settle a claim when they are paying out money every week to replace that income.
Other news of the day: ING, the Dutch financial services company is divesting itself of its insurance operations, the New York Times reports.

In Congress, imminent health care legislation in the House "is likely to include a new long-term care insurance program to help seniors and disabled people stay out of nursing homes," according to the Associated Press.

And in Washington state, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's calling for a broader joint underwriting authority law, so that the state could step in when a local insurance market collapses, as it has in the river valley below the Howard Hanson Dam.