WWL>Topics>>8-1-14 1:10pm Angela: with insurance commissioner Jim Donelon

8-1-14 1:10pm Angela: with insurance commissioner Jim Donelon

Aug 1, 2014|

Angela talks with insurance commissioner Jim Donelon and takes your insurance questions.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

And I wanna say are trends say -- crew is absolutely in house but today vs all the other days when we do trend at 1 o'clock. We're going to be trending at 3 o'clock today. Which I'm looking forward to and it's going to be the very latest in news and sports and in social media. We have a wonderful -- ahead and personal hope you're having a wonderful thing. It's Friday. And Friday makes everybody happy. We are going to have the great Jim O'Donnell who is our state insurance commissioner he's on his way and he's going to be talking about. But we're all going to be seeing a rise in our health insurance prices but it's really an opportunity for you. To have to answer any questions he's so good about taking calls. He will be glad to talk to about whether to homeowners insurance for your health insurance your car insurance. He's got the answers and he he is the first understand people's frustrations. So we hope you'll join us and that's going to be in just a little bit. And in between the Jim O'Donnell on and on our wonderful trending show. In -- what is my Friday without being held because he is are happening man. And we will be talking about everything that's happening in our community. We marvel you know there -- a lot of communities and our area. And in our country that during the dead of summer. It's a -- -- not us we just keep going. One fun event after the other and there's just some great stuff happening this weekend will be talking about. As well as on getting -- Wonderful movie reviews from Jude Bork who is are moving man so anyway it's going to be an interesting three hours I hope you gonna stay with this. We're gonna take a quick break but we will be back so stay with us. Well he's here by golly yes he has. We have to brace ourselves is is a good chance that our health insurance rates are going to be going up. In double digits whether that be at 10% or even up to a 20%. Why are the rates rising. Well we have the man who can answer for that that for us insurance commissioner Jim O'Donnell. And he's going to be with this the entire hour or so again don't hesitate to call with -- any questions or concerns. Whether it be for health insurance or your homeowners -- car insurance this man truly is the expert. But let's start with what is going on with health insurance numbers. Blue cross blue shield of Louisiana says it's proposing a rate increase. Of eighteen point 3%. And an even higher rate. -- nineteen point 7%. For -- blue -- blue Max and multi state individual plants and I read them went 10. That is affecting like 53000 policyholders. I wanna ask about that but I'm also curious that it's doesn't affect. Those in New Orleans Baton Rouge Shreveport. Who signed up the plans that limit health coverage. It got too confusing so let's just talk about that's a big increase. No doubt about it it's a huge increase and it ended is. Very very complex and very. Interconnected. And caused by multiple things. No doubt about it at the at the core it's being driven by the Affordable Care Act. Which is the spokesperson for blue cross says. Guaranteed much better benefits mortgage -- mandated coverages. And go with that comes a price as there there has to be a pay all ultimately for those benefits. The the Affordable Care Act obamacare as its called also provided for the first ever. Federal premium tax that's -- about fifty bucks a month to -- policy for the next ten years and up until now premium taxes have been left to the states exclusively federal government has never been in that business before now. But dome as part of the pay for the Affordable Care Act there is a premium tax of about fifty bucks per month per family. Four for the benefits provided under the full. Here let me interrupt you right there because I was reading. What is the term -- You know if you -- at a certain level. You would get credits volume that's the tax subsidies -- grant credit that -- with had a 101000. Folks on up. For health coverage through the exchange. The exchanges the mechanism one has to go to if one wants to try to qualify. For the subsidy. In the average premium that a person on the exchange -- about 387 dollars a month. 314. Of that is subsidized by the federal government. So all of the 101000. Folks -- signed up on the exchange in our state 88% of them. Qualified for that subsidy so they won't see this one averaged 1213%. Rate increase that health insurance or proposed. They'll see it on that difference between the fourteen dollars they get now and the 387. That will go up. Thirty books of forty books. Like all all the health insurance but on your policy and mine will pay the full bear. The full brunt of that will bear the full brunt of that 1213 years that everybody gets a subsidy. Will not see you know they'll see it but this subsidy will absorb almost all. So 88% are getting the subsidy 88% of those who signed up on the exchange and that's only 801000. Out of the entire state. The bulk of us get our insurance through our company through our agency. However not through the exchange the motivation for folks who go to the exchange. Was eligibility for this subsidy that the affordable care about. That the federal government taxpayers -- -- that. And and one of the figures I read but this is a hypothetical let's say it's failed 384. Dollars or something a month with the subsidies are paying like 83. My question is the thing your talking about the federal. Tax fifty dollars per month her family can do they have to pay that is well. No because that would be a tax on them on the government that would be it the government taxing the government and -- they do not have to pay that tax. So for everybody who has just a regular insurance policy to a company or whatever. Fifty dollars of what we're paying every month is the tax all the heads. Of the increase that's correct fifty dollars per month per family that's. Part of the reason for the 1213%. Increase in your health insurance premiums this year okay. Next year actually January 1. The as -- it was kind of confusing when the whole thing started and enhanced technical issues and now we're sort of going along. But I would have thought that the insurance companies would have understood. That amid all of a sudden they got the sand and now they're gonna raise. They would -- understood understood that the -- that that was holocaust more. All that invading and I'm sure did well let me let me hasten to add at this point. This year June 27 was the first time insurance companies in Louisiana had to file any thing relative to their rates. Other than their very first rate on a brand new policy a new product. After that the department of insurance had no information no approval authority we still don't have approval authority. All we have is the right to review. The federal government gave us a grant to stand up and actuarial section acted to review health insurance premiums. We have the right to review it in place of them -- the legislature had not given us that right this past session for the first time. As happened the last year the federal government would have done that review in the Department of Labor. The companies got behind the build to do it in Baton Rouge rather than Washington because they'd rather do it locally than to have to go to Washington far. So all we get to do -- review and criticize as we can approve or disapprove. And he's Israeli listen listen to the eye opener for me I did not understand and don't think other people it. We're listening really understood I think they look at your office and think you do have that right to say we're not going to accept seventeen point 3% correct. And I do not have that authority people think that rightly so and understandably so. Because on the property casualty -- auto homeowners workers cup title insurance. You name -- we do have that prior approval authority over all property and casualty products. In Louisiana where one of a bunch of states I'd say twenty who have had no. Approval authority not even information all filing requirements on health insurers. The questions been asked many times over the years why not. That's more important than even auto insurance health insurance is basic why don't you have that authority. And -- who was always and hope until this session. Was the legislature didn't see fit to give a set apart and I used to say but I did I hasten to point out that ten years ago. We war right at the national average for the cost of health insurance according to the Kaiser family Foundation's annual report. The average. Cost for a family of four was 25 in America out of the fifty states unfortunately. Over the past ten years. Our cost of health insurance for a family of four has ratcheted up from 25. -- -- In the last rankings by the cat Kaiser family with an eighth highest state highest and keep in mind that's compared with the 42. Highest. Per capita income. That Louisiana. You went to the legislature and you asked to give me permissions I know you're running and what is the what is the has -- Well. Ten years ago it was you know you regulate what actually at that time it was an insurance rating commission you regulate how they regulated auto insurance homeowners and look how high that stuff -- We're right at the national average for health insurance there's no need for that additional. Regulation I have pointed out for the eight years that I've been insurance commissioner. The fact that that's no longer the case we -- Less competitive and more expensive than we wore each year for the past ten. And so that that really. Argued for what ultimately happened but only happened because. The Affordable Care Act said. Either do it at the state level will do it at the federal level. But even in the in the passage of the Affordable Care Act they didn't give authority to the feds -- to the states. For prior approval they just gave the authority. To get all the information the actuarial justification. And you -- bully pulpit either in Washington. Or in Baton Rouge. To critique those who -- -- justified. In raising their rates so exactly how it is -- only a week waiting. Use our first thing that had to happen -- June 27 was every company had to file their rates for January 125. Being with thoughts. State law. Now deferred to a by federal. All of them did. And and we now or reviewing for the past couple weeks. All of these rate filings with a actuarial firm out of Dallas Texas that's on contract through this federal grant. To tell us whether or not rating creases of more than 10% or just per year -- justified or not justify. And we've already found some defects some obvious calculation errors in these initial filings that we've been reviewing for the past month. And we will take it like the feds did last year since we had no authority. They will they did. Issue press releases criticizing this company that company for that 12% or 18%. Rate increase that. Was not actually early just. So you'll be able to say to those companies for your finding these issues. Look ladies and gentlemen this is a problem do you think then they'll change it. They didn't in response to federal criticism. I can have a little louder voice I can go on the injured Angela -- show and talk to their policyholders. And their agents. And say and will say. This company is not justified in the charge that they are proposing for their policyholders next year. What effect will that have. Will have to say I thank you will have more effect on the local level that it would on the federal. If everyone is aware. Of you know. It lets say I have next my company is next in -- saying is insurance commissioner I've studied all this and -- they're out of whack here. But here are other companies that are deny him that choice to change is that will be that'll be the driver. It it really has played -- Angeles since Katrina in the homeowners market. Where the big national players have retreated not just from our coastal exposure. From Massachusetts. Them -- Miami to Mexico all of the coastal states. And and new smaller companies have come in at much lower premiums offering alternatives. To those who wanna leave the bosom of that company they have been with. But twenty years and go to this new smaller company they may not have heard of before. -- savings -- substantial savings in many cases that will be. That's the whole. Hello this transparency. In rate setting in the health insurance market. Well you just said the magic word and I guess it's up to us as consumers we've got to pay attention and we've got to. But we've got to know the facts that try and if it's through your office that we can get can we get a list sure and -- the top ten from I don't know how many health insurance companies there. Are here and not an awful lot -- that's a big part of the problem our competition has diminished over the past ten years. Blue is the dominant player in the individual market there over 70%. Of the market. Humanity is a distant second to that. We lost the plan in this report area called Willis night that a hospital groups similar to. Are -- here and in higher who also used to have a plan but they sold off to Humana a decade ago. Well we're we're served well by a group in the northeast corner of -- moving called vantage healthcare owned by a group of doctors been up and running and very dominant in that corner of the state and now spreading into the southern part of the state United Healthcare has always been our number two player. Two big national company doing business in all fifty states so. No we don't have the kind of competition that we have an auto market and the homeowners market but we do have a little more competition and -- frankly. Our friends in Mississippi and Alabama have Wear their blue is even more dominant than arsons. So in essence. Mean that's very sad affair -- one man you just like everyone knew they do not competition. No question. And I sing that song all the time and blue cross that like to hear it. And it's not a knock on them there -- fine company that actually employs 17100 people there in Baton Rouge but they need competition like all of a student. Is it your role to encourage companies -- optimistic -- hero. I am doing that all the time it truly is and and we have been so successful in the homeowners market. But we are frustrated in the health insurance market actually that's one of the good parts of the Affordable Care -- Eight provision was putting it in to allow the creation of something called co ops and we got one. Two dozen states got one before the the compromise on the debt limit extension. A year and a half ago. Get away with the funding the loan to funding low interest loans were made available. Two groups and -- put together a group and created the Louisiana health co -- to go into the competition. With other health insurance offering health insurance in our state. There were there a little baby group right now. But there -- hoping their plan is their -- cause global war. To grow into become competitive. With the rest of the companies doing business in our state they did offer on the exchange. All over the state. Of their products. What is your overall feeling -- on what has happened since Obama. Well. You know I'm a Republican and I always lead off by saying I would have voted notify had been there as a member of congress. And then I had but I'm -- regulator I'm not a policy make those decisions or four. The congress and the administration and on the state level legislature and the governor. So it's took us two to implement and to enforce whatever the federal and state law it is. Unfortunately. I think because all of the fact that they will rolled the bill I'll. After soon after Kennedy's -- seats switch from Democrat to Republican and the Democrats lost the filibuster proof majority in the senate. I call it half baked it wasn't ready for prime time. And they rolled it out and we're seeing the result of all they had a bill in the house on a bill on the senate side. Invariably. When congress passes an act as complicated as -- over a thousand pages. As this the put him in conference they appoint a conference committee and they get with the staff and legal line full line page for page. Correcting the inconsistencies. And cleaning up those things that need to be tweaked in order to be. Really able to be put in the law. They didn't do that they didn't have the they thought they didn't have the option to do that any longer because a filibuster. Remember this was a straight party line vote and and that I think was the fatal flaw. Because. For the roll out of Medicare the roll out of Social Security controversial as these as this was. They had at least some bipartisan. Buy. And for awhile it looked like the two women senators in Maine we're here to sign on and get concessions and compromises and all of it. When all that went away and it was strict party line and they lost the filibuster proof majority. They rushed with they had on the table into law and I think we're seeing the result of that. Failure to to really. Do it correctly and and. The early. Stay with us everyone we have Jim O'Donnell in here our state insurance commissioner were talking about health care but he's open to talk about anything you have any questions about. Health care insurance. Your homeowner's insurance or car insurance to 601878. Now let's go to the newsroom. Our guest this our state insurance commissioner Jim O'Donnell won. Appreciate these calls let's go to move on Brian on the North Shore Brian. Any light on Jim. -- -- -- out and -- and -- and and I'll -- inches of emergency around. And I wasn't -- I didn't have no information on him from my church state that appeal. Of course couple thousand dollars. They are presented the eight my insurance she's out. Our current or is it fair that they recently added a new built in -- because I got insurance. For like 6000 -- more than the other bill Howard that they're that I have insurance. Well. I'm not sure exactly as you describing that a thought you were going to tell me that when they thought you were paying for it without insurance. They were charging you more because they have a contract with your insurance company blue -- so ever. And and get -- and give them a discount is now. Last. Mike if I've -- trash it was glass and economic they would ensure it will not I don't understand that at all. I'm I'm not sure why that would be the case at all either if you would like to give us a call at the department. I'd be happy to look into it follow you without describing the war. To help 1802595300. Tell them you heard me on -- we spoke. On the into the -- Eight -- 2595300. Surely thank you for calling Bryant a let's go to Donald in Slidell. Yeah I have kind two questions we wanted for myself and went from Malaysia that -- and the army are similar to -- its -- And insurance companies can't be told me if I wanted to do on insulin pump and at the idea that. Out of pocket indeed like 15102000. Dollars so. A well I -- -- to them disable them -- and ended badly now I think it's okay. Well now they finally approved -- and I must state McCain and with that insulin pump it 7500. Dollars it's for the pop. But about the plot that supply. The supply them all pretty 500 dollars. Don't wanna why is this such a difference if -- you know my itself and then you know needed at that we get the big difference. Sure it is and I'm not sure exactly which you're describing but I would ask you this. Do you help the you have health insurance now. It how can check in both situations. It company people felt that way but they do want to do it out of pocket size and then now to. Video people okay enough. Like she's got a different situation. She. She'd. Pregnant right now without my child in. We re planning a complicated and as little as one in. Because. Incomes. An announcement in my disability not be below poverty level so we get Medicaid for the kids. Put down when a -- cable excellent march -- -- became the food at the beginning of march. And then. -- and keep on Medicaid -- -- -- -- and that the economy and the debut of Campbell would be really what we'd be analyzed. An active and insurance. -- -- -- Oh well not if you have Medicaid. Not if you have Medicaid that is considered insurance. For the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Pregnant wife she's gonna lose and Medicaid after sixty weeks because it's only allow watch. -- -- -- Well then then yes she will have to get insurance and and that's that whole if you will. That half the states including -- Did not filled by choosing not to take the expansion of Medicaid that that was offered under the affordable care. So you are falling into that dilemma if I can go back to your condition or you would dialysis patient. Nine I have chocolate drop the money -- -- bad -- fumble on in England Ike Bailey you know going. But that's coming. I've been disabled since 2007. OK you're on many cared Social Security disability. -- -- We lead by 2000 and I go to I hit it stating it once. Little site percent turn to one called. Call us at 802595300. And will look into that. Difference in the price when -- your insulin in -- -- equipment. Yeah well thank you very much for calling. Let's go to Kyle on the North Shore. I patted on. 32 and -- and any medical it during any on barely ever heard of the doctor. Caught that I had never -- I'm not only prescription pills or anything like that. I'm wondering why are there any other options. Sort out here and at least that the weighted common now when it. Lapses. I have a page sixty all of the -- -- now from major medical all Egypt and it major medical problem concerns went. Noted -- advocate that plane. He immediately. -- -- because settle at so long for. It was critical quite a bit and I checked into it it is what it is the court like kicks it out -- -- to like to earn twenty you know and are due out at any other option to -- into a particular Altamont. You know you're probably with a colony and that gave you an extension. Avoid what would you would be called an unqualified. Plant because one of the things in the Affordable Care Act. Is what's called the essential health plans. That all plans have to go to unless they grandfathered. And that's another exception that that. You're not involved with a wall along going to do to confuse the septic. But if you recall back in November of the president actually called. Myself and others from the I was president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to the White House for a meeting. To offer a loss as the insurance regulators the option to extend. To allow companies despite the fact that the federal lawsuit. Unqualified health plans had to go away January 1. He offered us the option to extend the unqualified plans like yours -- bare bones high deductible. Planned for another year and then after that couple months ago even another year beyond that. Some company almost all the companies took up the -- when I in two dozen other states mostly the Republican led states. Did allow the extension of those those policies. The second time companies some of the companies in Louisiana I'm not sure who you whip them frankly off the compromise and I couldn't tell you. By company who didn't who didn't said they're not gonna do it again a second year. And the reason for that the reason they're reluctant to do it they liked the business before they certainly didn't wanna. Send out those notices to. 95000. Of their policyholders saying as of January 1 we are not going to be able to offer you that policy that program anymore. But the reason they're now getting out of it or not extending it -- second year is because they're trying to get all their bull together. And get a better handle on what their real loss experience and what their premium level has to be said that in order to. Breakeven or make money and not breakeven but make money. And in so it it's confusing right now to have to keep two sets of books for companies doing business in this very confusing atmosphere. So as to your company yourself again I would urge you to call lost. We can look up your company and had an answer for you. Your question about whether you'll be able to get a read mule when your policy expires later this year. Okay -- the company had Coventry won and I guess so in going forward I just won't -- any options for major medical plan -- that which are telling me. Know you'll have options you can always go in the exchange and or you can go to an agency. And health -- who W buying right now group. And by a plan. Frankly candidly it's going to be more expensive because it's gonna come with. Increased benefits over the high deductible plan that is quote unqualified. Under the affordable care. We're gonna go -- the -- quickly. I'm not gonna have the option than to not. He -- for Alexi description drug the drug plan in any help or. And that that's basically that's correct there bill or minimum limits of coverage is required for qualified health -- Coventry may give you a sixteen year as they gave you this year beyond January 1 so if you wanna give us -- call weakening -- of that foot. Number 25802595300. -- Thank you very much everyone stay with the Sunday John -- can stay with us. We're gonna take a quick break we'll be right back. I'm so glad we have so many callers -- we're gonna try to get as many as we can't if you can be somewhat brief. And the good Jim Donaldson said even after the show he'll take your calls so let's start with Dave let's go to day. Yes. Impeaching acute acumen can't quick question. -- the 5% -- the deductible on wind damage. What is the 5%. What is in the taxable assessed value. Or value. It's it's that's a great question and it's neither one what it is it's 5%. Of the insured that use. Well you know that's it that's a good question now Jarden John thank you applause. -- Yes side. Thank you to balance the thing you don't consume I'd like this question about the -- Crawl rate increase should talk about this and whether or not it will affect federal -- prison specifically retirees. Probably not I can answer it with certainty but blue cross does an awful lot of what's called TPA work third party administration. As they're doing for the state now for office of group benefits and that plan. They set the rules they set the premiums themselves. Blue cross just issues the policies collect the premiums adjusted claims that's ever. And for the federal government I'm sure that's all they're doing. He is administering the program for the federal government for those federal retirees. It was quite. Thank you so much Tim and Picayune. Hello -- -- OK I have a question why critical war that we got -- the global program. And Colton in the miss -- She had been -- and -- -- stated that they're not there in the -- smile book well we you'd miss (%expletive) beat the there's not lose again the is there anything we can -- -- -- -- I don't know off the top of my head right where do you live you live in Mississippi. And then you need to call commissioner Cheney's office and Jack. But big. Insurance and -- -- and she worked well actually she -- she had. Well blue shield again. She -- war we took up the global program which. Expansion you know we are weeks items that people all Wall Street thousand dollars. And that they say they don't -- the deal calls we use. Mississippi about that and not about. My first question though is would it and be cheaper for you every -- could guarantee issue now. Wouldn't it be cheaper to go buy a policy. While a that we didn't know she'd say she had. What you get pretty jets to get treatment she had the reward is felt. Reach that total doesn't exist anymore under the affordable care as the good thing that's very bright. We did not and she you -- policy. She had a policy that played you know pretty well. So you know we tried -- they wouldn't it but you know it -- we Google bought something now. -- that's the first thing you need to do is get with an agent in and ask about getting a policy second thing if you have an issue with providers -- Louisiana blue cross. Call us 802595300. Will be happy to look into that. Told angry very very much. Quickly he can -- New Orleans. To that moment -- insurance. Not my policy is about three news is that -- -- a month trying to shop from state farm to another company. And one particular company Hartford what it's my mother in battery. Will not right media count alone why is that a lot out. Well because companies are allowed to start writing and stop writing as they choose in any state in America including Louisiana. And an arms of insurance. -- -- -- You know the odds are -- anything we need to take into Tuesday. Right well not really because if you did that all the companies would get out of -- our market because. -- he would take all right all applicants there was a bill in the last session. That said. Anybody that builds to the new statewide building code or retrofit -- any company doing business would have to write that. Well some companies get too much exposure for example in grand dial. Date in the and they can't can't take anymore for a variety of reasons no one the exposure the risk number two the -- there reinsurance. Is is based upon certain exposures. Number three their rating agency standard important AM best it's ever so. That's the law not just here but in every state. America can thank you so much for the call and I want Jay Don and David to stay with this we're gonna take a break but Jim O'Donnell and we'll talk to run after this. -- let's go right to -- and Guerrero -- quickly. Here I'd like analyst -- don't know what the flood insurance. Look at the -- when they brought mapped out and maps and went nowhere in and basically you know it would show -- where. We had a lot more protection than they would tell me it does the my idea. -- it should go there and and company you know like twelve or thirteen hundred dollars a year and I bet neighbors in an effort. Parachute Jefferson in the city of New Orleans have not yet approved the map -- I don't do flood insurance that's a federal program. But we do. Consumer assistance -- 800 number. If you wanna give us -- call -- 2595300. Will be happy to look into it for you we have a contact with FEMA. Who does do the -- National Flood Insurance Program to. Check it out for you if you if you it was. -- -- you out if you can't eat inhaler -- and they'll Leo calling. You know or give them a call he will help. Let's go quickly to dawn. I get that question actually let your collar. -- appear -- -- and neighbor. Who asked. And how it's more injured and there well in there 500 dollar lip and I. Don this is flood insurance on -- in a -- that he you know what we are out of -- but -- I'm on the other rookies and go another of these gonna take Don David John and -- is. Calls so just keep on he's gonna answer I can't thank Jim Donald and to be you're always a great guest tonight accurately instrumental.