WWL>Topics>>11-5-13 1:10pm Angela: on insurance concerns

11-5-13 1:10pm Angela: on insurance concerns

Nov 5, 2013|

Angela talks with Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon about the changes coming with the institution of Obamacare and the postponement of the Bigger Waters Act.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well bring up the subject of insurance in Louisiana and be prepared to have a long talk. Whether it's what's happening with flood insurance the new affordable care health insurance. The high price of car insurance. Or what's happening in homeowner's insurance it's taking more of our paycheck. How has the price of all insurance got into the state it's -- To help us understand. We get insurance commissioner Jim O'Donnell and in studio with this. So if you have any comments in any questions. Please give us a call at 2601870. -- say it again to 60187. Day. This is all about insurance. And it really is affecting us so much more post-Katrina. And I'm sure you don't know where were you want -- -- it can go to the grocery store without somebody pulling your coat. Can't go to a football game without someone coming up to me and asking me an insurance question but that's what I do I enjoy it and I welcome it. Well we welcome you and again I -- -- anybody out there if you are agonizing over an issue this is your moment call let's start with because today. You came out with a report on the Affordable Care Act on the Obama care saying that roughly 80000. Individuals in Louisiana. Who had an individual. Policies. Are probably don't lose those accent and how did you get to. We did today what we call bulletin to the industry asking the couple hundred companies that write any health insurance in our state. How many policies they had in place that would not qualify under the new. Qualified health plan criteria. Adopted by the federal HH and ask health and human services division of the federal government. And frankly our numbers are right in line with our sister states. Believe it or not Alabama is almost a mirror image of Louisiana. -- was four point 23 million people. Demographically. Our our incomes spread out racial spread. And they issued a release just days ago with almost the same number 87000. Would be losing their coverage by Alabama's estimate. All or estimate as of this morning not estimate it's actually up. On a report from the companies and not all -- and some asked for an extension it's -- on 90000. Will lose their coverage. OK I think a couple of questions one I think we've all been told that if you have your own insurance you're not gonna lose it if you opt to go into the marketplace that your decision. But if you haven't your own. You shouldn't have to worry about this is more worrying. Yale and and it's unfortunate that that was. Trumpeted the way it was it was a political issue during the debate over Obama here. And critics of it during that process said people that are happy. Will be forced by the federal government to change to get more or less more expensive whatever. And the president made probably the mistake of saying. You can keep your coverage we're gonna amend the bill to provide that if your plan is grandfathered. You'll be able to keep it well the problem is an individual can't grandfather their plan a company with a group policy canned. And even those everybody knows. Eventually changes or going to be necessary. For those plans that will lose when those changes are made. That grandfathered status so. Mistake misstatement or whatever you wanna call it unfortunate because it really is just not true. So what is the criteria that these independent policies are now. Not good enough or that's the belief that there -- for example the best example is they have to higher but deductible. That that still leaves spokes to exposed. Pop out of pocket expense potential bankruptcy. Lack of coverage for. Form the preventive medicine mammograms. Blood pressure checks annual check ups. You name it those things may not have been covered by what we generally referred to in the industry is a bare bones policy. With a high deductible but an affordable premium and people with those policies. Are going to be forced to lose some have more coverage at a substantially higher premium. And that leads to another issue that happened politically during the process of passage of this bill. And that is the cap on coverage for the elderly the older population mostly leading up to Medicare. The sixty to 65. Age group. Who compared to the 25 to thirty year old age group. Should be paying twelve times as much -- there health insurance 12100 dollars a month. Verses a 26 year old paying 100 dolls from. Well in the in the original version of the Affordable Care Act. There was a cap put on that to benefit those folks of six times the young and healthy so that they wouldn't pay any more than 600 dollars a month. Well one of the early supporters of the Affordable Care Act was the AARP. And their membership. Started pushing back and complaining and writing and calling the headquarters. About its support for this. Federal health plan. And they went to the White House and said we're about ready to have to pull off of support of this. What can you do to help us sell it back to our members and they civil will lower the cap will go from six to one down to three to one. Well when you go to 321 protecting the elderly from paying what they. Cost. You jacked up substantially. The cost for that young group that doesn't have a -- So they're paying a lot more. For their coverage they're losing their current coverage that they chose and that that was affordable in their minds. And there having to replace it if they choose to replace it. With -- individual policy costing. Estimates in our state. -- about thirty to 40% more expensive than the current coverages. We asked the it's the gold silver -- bronze plan in the marketplace. The bronze plan being the the bare bones perhaps well no actually it's the best coverage. Yes you get more coverage with a lower deductible and co pay for the lowest medal bronze a -- and you get. A higher -- I'm sorry you're you're correct it's it's just the opposite. It's the bare bones down at the bronze level the cheaper policy. With less coverage a higher deductible a heart open. Amen interrupt but I got to the high deductible and I'm saying this because we get it done numbers show right one of the most with a Doctor Who was an LB dining and he made the statement. I'm concerned on January 2 when my office opens and people who come in now with insurance which is fine -- and a bronze. Are going to have the shock that it's a very large deductible okay that's like six or 7000 dollars before the day. Have you heard this not that number up but it is the highest in Italy is so high and open. And company so -- he's saying even though they're thinking gee whiz I've got this policy now they're not understanding until you reached this very high level. On the bronze -- you're going to be paying out of pocket right which is hitting them again. Yes it is no question about it and and that was part of the design trying to make -- well. First off that the the real cost driver is guaranteed issue once you've promised everybody that they can get coverage regardless of their health condition. And then you have to pay for and to pay for it. The the theory of insurance requires the largest pool possible get as many people into the -- as you possibly can. Force through either tax or penalty whatever you wanna call it two to buy insurance. It's counterproductive. To chase people off with higher premiums like the young help police that are gonna pay us or because the older population is being -- Need -- young healthy yes stay with this we're talking with Jim O'Donnell who of course is insurance commissioner and we're gonna talk about flood insurance when you -- Homeowners insurance all kinds of insurance we'll be right back this is Angela under the to do well. Our guest today is Jim O'Donnell in our insurance commissioner I'm so appreciative of him being here and of those of you who are on the line. Your your calling about the health care issues please stay with this but we're gonna jump very quickly because this is going to be a fast hour. To some quick questions about homeowners insurance. Because everybody has felt that pinch post-Katrina mega. Major major and sort of where are. We actually our recovery is beyond my expectations immediately after. In that. And in the measurable that can demonstrate that is a residual market the market of last resort Louisiana citizens for folks who can't get coverage in the private sector. When Katrina hit they had 7%. Of our premium body it's spiked to -- That policy count went from a 111274000. We are in the midst this month. Of a deep population that will see 7000 more policies leave citizens bringing them down to under a 100000. And under 3% of our market share is always in assistance more expensive -- -- going to be by -- -- has to be priced adjusted every year just like the assigned risk. Follow auto in the old Louisiana health plans to blow up old it's still there to go away. With the creation of obamacare. Anyone who can't get insurance OW CC workers comp in the private sector by law. Those entities have to provide coverage at a price above the market. Okay both folks who can't get coverage citizens is that for property insurance and like -- said. It's smaller today than it was the day before Katrina hit the good news is even though we lost the big boys we have. No one's exactly the three major national carriers and I'm not gonna get into name calling. Have exceeded our market in large part. But no more so in no less so then Massachusetts. To Miami to Mexico. They have been replaced in our state that it better than any other state including my own personal policy. By a dozen. New to our market small regional companies that when -- moved from one of the Big Three. To this new company my wife's reaction was and I told -- we're gonna save 600 dollars a month on homeowners she said. Yet Jim that's great but I never heard of that company are they okay and I said. Mops gimme a break that's what I do every day I'm not a battle to block a policy from a company I'm gonna put out of business and I wouldn't. But more important than that. We went to the legislature in two different visits since Katrina. Tripling the guarantee fund coverage that under that's underneath that the safety net under every. Property casualty policy in the states so that if your company goes under none of which have since Katrina. But if they did instead of a 150000. Dollars -- guarantee fund coverage you now have filed under piles so -- course. -- sink yourself to 500 do you think these prices are gonna continue to go now they're stable now. They have flattened still. Too too pricey too expensive. The average increase has been about four and a half percent for the past four years on our statewide -- business now four and a half percent increase for the statewide book though can be a fifteen or twenty or 25%. Increase in a coastal area and some of that has happened. Making it. More necessary than ever for folks to do what I did and many others that I know in the metropolitan New Orleans area shop shop that coverage this savings to -- Their sentiment and they can go to your website you'll see all of the the names of the -- that's correct you have to check it yourself deceived -- still accepting and and reach out to an agent who represents those companies who you might have to call around several different agents. To find out who has company's debt or actively writing and with their prices it is. I wanna jump over to car insurance because I'm speaking from New Orleans and it is just. You know I keep saying I'm the little lady driver and I have a great record and I have an old car and it has skyrocketed and what is going on. It is out of control. Louisiana has been a top ten most expensive state for as long as I've been involved back tomorrow legislative days we are now of the most expensive. But it really concentrated in a four parish area. Orleans is 40% more expensive than the statewide average Saint Bernard is 30% more expensive. Jefferson nineteen and platinum and 15%. The rest of the state none of the other sixty parishes not Baton Rouge not Shreveport. Are up or down above the statewide average by 5%. Though all within opposite. We have a soft tissue industry in this metropolitan or New Orleans area. Not just lawyers in it but doctors chiropractors. Physical therapists tow truck drivers. And they York milking the system will -- me. Back injury soft tissue back injuries that are driving rates through the ceiling in this metropolitan area. I will tell you that there's increasing interest in the legislature to do something about it. Well it's gonna have people where they're not going to happen and drive without insurance -- are gonna have more problems. This is outrageous it is good that we noticed this is the cause you say legislatively. What can citizens to. -- -- Shop they can they'll -- products that can help. Little ladies you describe yourself you're not but if you war. You can get a product that's relatively new in the marketplace. That you pay based on how much you drive. I drop a lot I go to Baton Rouge in back all the time so I put 50000 miles a year on my vehicle. But if you really -- only putting 101000 now miles a year. You can through certain companies get a product -- insurance policy that is priced based on your driving happen. That helps that helps will we're gonna be watching what's happening up in the legislature to 40% more in Orleans -- That is criminal thirty puts -- born Saint Bernard now that's insane. You know what we're going to we're gonna get -- collars on so appreciative your their. Please hang on -- go to break we're gonna come back we're gonna take our calls. And talk with the commissioner and were also going to be talking about flood insurance so stay with us this is Angela -- -- -- -- well. Jim O'Donnell and commissioner of insurance for our state and also the president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Is here our guest today and -- -- in my blood pressure just shut up when you can have healthy auto insurance I wanna go back though because we do have some callers. If we get Michael in Jefferson who had a question about deductibles Michael. -- -- Retired. As you. -- The ball well. You look. Across shield. Policy. Shots. Two. Optical. -- -- -- -- -- Medical expenses. After she says that probable. And and your question. -- -- I'm not going to be able answer that but we can look into it for you please call us at 1802595300. -- That to Bob -- 5300. And we will get the details look into that too coverages. And the policies NC would what is going on. Probably. It's in the -- so planned or a self insured plan and if that's the case we don't have jurisdiction over them. Under federal. But let's look at it for you and see if we can get this answered. Thank -- OK -- from mobile. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Life and certainly. From. Well actually. That was. Shoot the ball well camera. This year. At the so in order the people in that situation ball. Class action against the it up. These are people who. Say it -- -- Because of the apple and because this thing. Which I'm sure the insurance industry itself. Complete with there. -- -- -- -- -- -- That. Helped. -- That these are two things noble one. Thank you for that call -- I don't think I've ever heard one back in with less than a 100000 miles on it's on sure I got my money's worth number two. Unfortunately. Or fortunately. There is no grounds for suing -- -- and do legislation that was passed. With misstatements or even misrepresentations. Intentional or otherwise so such a lawsuit would. Would not the would not survive very long and number three frankly. Half of the commissioners. That I served as part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners -- Support the affordable care. We are going to take another break we'll be right back. Please don't hesitate to call him a question for Jim O'Donnell I'm Angela and the system WL but talking -- Jim John -- our commissioner of insurance. And let's briefly talk about the National Flood Insurance Program and I know that our state doesn't have anything to do with the president but does affect some Benito or dark area. And then they're asking for a four year delay -- kinda -- that because we're going to be facing in four years. But. It it will put people out of their homes. No doubt it will rendered thousands of properties in Louisiana worthless no question about it. Because you won't be able to get alone because the lenders under the federal guidelines for the national mortgage marketplace Fannie Mae Freddie Mac. -- -- Flood prone areas to have flood insurance in place in order to get. -- a mortgage and so thousands of properties will be rendered worthless if this relief is not grand. I -- which is saying about four years being only four years. The problem is. The majority of the states or not. Net beneficiaries. Of the program like the fifteen or so of us in new York New Jersey. And Louisiana in Iowa in Missouri. Not Florida for example they have been and that they were into the program but they are. A 100% supportive of our efforts because very economy is so dependent on. But our situation is very different than Florida's. For the most part Florida has beautiful white beaches with retirees or second home -- whatever. We have a working coast. Populated by oil and oil field workers all ensure offshore chemical workers in our chemical plants. Fishermen up and down the coast of Louisiana. Dock workers in Lake Charles Baton Rouge New Orleans and all the ports. And those folks. Are there because that's where they have to be they're not there because they wanna be there. And and get flood insurance from the federal government they have to be there and they need the flood insurance Wii or the state most depended on that program. And people say will jump you advocates for the private sector how can you now advocate for the federal government to subsidize this. So called flood insurance program. We don't get the most bang for -- book. In the highway program federal highway program in the Medicaid program and many other federal programs that. Other states benefit from more than we do. This happens to be the federal program that we as a state all the most depended upon. And therefore it is critical to us that we get this relief what do you think's going to have. I think we'll get a one or two year forbearance. Because as an election next year in each side is word about that senate seat that senator Landrieu has and that the Republicans want. So I think they will do something in this. Coming in this session before the end of the year. After that it's a tough sell. On the senate side the senator from Alabama. Is vehemently opposed to backing off from bigger waters. On the house side a representative from a Texas is vehemently -- and you might say well those are states that benefit from the program. As well and they do. But the fiscal hawks those who want to balance the budget -- saying that this program needs to be reformed. I think they're doing it too aggressively. The five year glide path apparently. Was not well thought out and and I don't believe that the majority would have. Passed a bill that they knew would rendered thousands of working class folks homes and businesses in Louisiana. Now worthless. Perhaps they need to have a few families up their testifying constantly I can't pay 20000 dollars flood insurance. A -- -- -- thousand even for a 150000. Dollar home it's it's prohibitively. Expensive and I can't sell out because children is gonna want to direct. So we'll just have abandoned houses that's right. I think this represents a greater threat to our State's economy than Katrina and -- war in 2000. Well that's a major statement. -- major statement. Well stay with this were going to head back with Jim -- and any questions give us a call and this is Angela -- definitely well. Jim O'Donnell -- insurance commissioner our guest talking about all kinds of insurance everything from health insurance -- car insurance but happening homeowners and flood insurance. Uncle you've been holding on and you had a question. Yes first like decide behind. Thank you for the -- like taking my problem the high. Out of pocket. And personal liability and deductibles have as much as some notables from the Obama camp has always been keeping people from actually behind insurance because they can't buy medical care in advance. For you know three times over. And not really getting and it's not having a guarantee that they actually going to see a doctor. Quack the question I'm having it was. New policies and all of them positive and insurance change in insurance field. Changing what do you have available for -- -- insurance commissioner. On. The exemptions and waivers for those people and -- -- and summer. In America is very secondary market especially young people they see a defective product when. They see it okay and they know it defective product that's why they really hesitate do to jump aboard on this. Because none of that discussion has ever brought as to whether or not we actually are going to get medical care. Necessary medical care all we're discussing. How much money we can get from the consumer and give it to the insurance companies what do you know about it. Waivers and exemptions for people that do not feel to purchase a defective product and keep my of -- taking my call. Okay thank you for calling I know of no. Law that requires. A doctor to take a patient. I do know that in an emergency situation. A hospital has to accept and treat and and and stabilize. And and save the life -- and treat. Those who present. In their hospitals. This is still a free country and medical providers. Have the right to not accept a patient. Even if they choose to do so for the reason that the patient comes in with. A program that doesn't pay what they considered to be a fair price such as Medicaid or Medicare. Which are priced substantially below. The 13 of the patients who come in to a doctor's office with health insurance private health insurance. That's up to the health care provider I know of no law and end. Nowhere in America. At the state level all the federal level. That mandates that requires other than in some emergency situations. That a health care provider. Provide treatment. Four a patient that once that that particular doctor. Ultimately as we see this thing -- and move we can fast forward a couple of -- and say this isn't necessarily what we heard today. It's going to evolve. That's correct yes it is oh no question about that this this discontinuation. Is a one time event and and those folks will leave to go uninsured. Or they'll go into the marketplace either online. In which you have to do if you're. Gonna qualify for the tax subsidy that's part of the Affordable Care Act. Or through the private marketplace through agents as has always been done and replace that coverage with a quote. Qualified health plan one that has a deductible and co pay that the federal government as deemed appropriate. There's there's lots of objections to various parts of it certainly the guarantee issue is a noble. Goal we we want to provide some states already have that you know -- in in state law. And and this is a dramatic overhaul I would of voted no and I'd call it half baked that it was rushed into law. When senator Kennedy's seat was lost and they no longer had a filibuster. Proof. Sixty vote majority in the senate. So -- lots of problems with it that I think should have been worked out before it was passed into law but it is the law. And and the president has to be -- open and at the ready. For the remainder of his term so we will continue to make the best of it in week. I hate or we are out of time time I really am but I also want to say congratulations to you. Wrapping up 39. Session that's at the fighting cancer and winning. I appreciate that in jeweler and have gone public with that because prostate cancer is treatable. And it's very survivable and I would urge all men in particular -- To monitor their prostate thank you very much Jim O'Donnell and now let's go to the newsroom chain grows.