Whitmer Signs Six Bills Changing Insurance, Snowmobile Rules

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed six bills into law ranging from boosting insurance transparency to letting shoe repair stores donate shoes left unclaimed for six months or more.

“Today, I will be signing six bipartisan bills, adding on to the over 800 bipartisan bills I have signed since taking office,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Today’s bills will make insurance benefit preauthorization more accessible, support winter recreation and shoe repair businesses, and amend the state bar admittance process. I am proud to sign these bills and will continue to work with anyone to get things done. Together, we can continue delivering on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Michiganders, growing our economy, and creating good-paying jobs.” 

Read More

Florida Department of Children and Families Proposes Rule to End Participation in Federal Program that Shelters Unaccompanied Alien Children

Temporary soft sided facilities are utilized to process noncitizen individuals, noncitizen families and noncitizen unaccompanied children as part of the ongoing response to the current border security and humanitarian effort along the Southwest Border in Donna, Texas, May 4, 2021.

On Thursday, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) proposed a rule that would end participation in a federal program sheltering Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) who enter the U.S.

Read More

Michigan’s Whitmer Signs Off on $409 Million Small-Business Relief Program

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing legislation

The third time was a charm for a small-business relief provision of Senate Bill 85, which was signed Monday by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A House version of the bill, House Bill 4047, was proposed by Rep. Timothy Beson, R-Bangor Twp., last March, and signed by the governor. However, Whitmer exercised a line-item veto of the afflicted business relief. Another version of a small-business relief subsequently was passed by the legislature with bipartisan support. Whitmer again exercised her veto authority to squelch it.

SB 85 was introduced by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth.

Read More

Biden Admin Now Says It Will Get Around to Flying Americans out of Afghanistan by the End of the Year

State Department evacuation flights out of Afghanistan will resume by the end of the year, a senior State Department official told The Wall Street Journal.

The operation to retrieve U.S. citizens and Afghan allies left behind will require coordination with the Taliban and other governments, the official told The Wall Street Journal. Kabul’s international airport remains closed to regular passenger travel since the U.S. ended its first evacuation attempt on Aug. 31.

U.S. citizens, U.S. legal permanent residents and immediate family members will receive priority treatment in securing seats on evacuation flights, the official said. The State Department is hoping to eventually have several aircraft leave the country each week.

Read More

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, a Near $1B Vendor to State Government and a TennCare Health Plan Contractor, Mandating Some Employees Get COVID-19 Vaccines and Not Allowing Religious Accommodation

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST), which received nearly $1 billion in vendor payments from the State of Tennessee during fiscal year 2021 related to state employee healthcare benefits and is one of the Managed Care Organizations handling the state’s TennCare program is enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and not allowing religious accommodations for some of its employees.
Information was provided to The Tennessee Star by a long-term employee of BCBST, the Tennessee-based independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their job.

Read More

Florida No-Fault Repeal Advances with No Certainty it Will Lower Auto Insurance Rates

Erin Gall

For decades, Florida lawmakers have pondered bills seeking to repeal the state’s half-century-old no-fault auto insurance system.

They’ve perennially failed because there’s no certainty a repeal would lower Florida auto insurance rates.

There still isn’t, at least according to the insurance industry, but nevertheless, Florida’s 16 million drivers, who already pay the nation’s highest auto insurance premiums, may learn the answer to that long-debated question next year.

Read More

Support Exists for Tennessee Special Session to Address Stalled COVID-19 Liability Protection

Gov. Bill Lee plans to call a special legislative session to take up COVID-19 liability protection that Tennessee lawmakers debated but did not pass last month.

While an executive order Lee signed Wednesday limits liability for licensed health care workers responding to the coronavirus, it leaves businesses, local governments and school districts across the state open to COVID-19-related lawsuits.

Read More

Whitmer Joins Coalition of 12 Governors To Ask Trump to Open Insurance Enrollment

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has joined a coalition of 12 governors to ask President Trump to allow for a special enrollment period to allow for increased access to affordable health care.

Whitmer is joining the governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The letter asks for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange.

Read More

Michigan Governor Signs Auto Insurance Reform That Will Lower Rates

by Tyler Arnold   Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan auto insurance reform into law Thursday that will guarantee lower rates for all drivers in the state with the highest premiums in the country. “By signing this legislation, we are providing relief to millions of drivers across the state and guaranteeing…

Read More

Michigan House, Senate Pass Auto Insurance Reform, Governor Whitmer Expected to Sign

by Tyler Arnold   The Michigan House and Senate passed auto insurance reform Friday with substantial bipartisan support after the House Republicans, Senate Republicans and Democratic governor struck a deal. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the bill into law. The legislation will eliminate a mandate that required all…

Read More

Report: Ohioans Enrolled in Obamacare Had 20 Percent of Medical Claims Denied Despite Coverage

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that, from 2015-2017, 20% of all claims made by individuals covered under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, have been denied. This has led to thousands of patients going “out of pocket” to cover expensive procedures or putting…

Read More

Insurers Are Refusing to Do Business With Coal Companies

by Jason Hopkins   A growing number of insurance firms around the world are either divesting from coal companies or refusing to do business with them altogether. Generali — the third largest insurer in Europe and the largest in Italy — announced it will no longer insure the production of…

Read More

Wisconsin and New Jersey are Among the States Looking To Copy Minnesota Model Of Using Federal Funds To Lower Insurance Premiums

Minnesota capitol

by Evie Fordham   Several states including Wisconsin and New Jersey are seeking to copy Minnesota’s model of federal reinsurance program funding that contributed to a 13-percent drop in premium rates in the state from 2017 to 2018. The Minnesota legislature adopted the program, which uses mostly federal funds to…

Read More

HHS: Obamacare ‘Benchmark’ Rates Up 37 Percent, Choices Dwindle

Premiums for Obamacare’s “benchmark” plans will rise by 37 percent and choices will dwindle in 2018, with eight full states having just one insurer to choose from, the Trump administration said Monday in a report detailing the federal marketplace known as HealthCare.gov. However, the average tax credit that many consumers…

Read More