Friday, November 23, 2012

Michigan Health Care Claims Tax Fight -- Additional Rounds Ahead

It’s been a tough fight thus far in opposition to the Michigan Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act, which imposes a one percent (1%) assessment on all health care payers, including self-insured employers and certain business partners, for medical services rendered to Michigan residents in the state of Michigan.

As this blog has previously reported, business groups in Michigan signed off on the legislation last year noting it was part of a larger budget deal that was not as bad as possible alternatives.   ERISA preemption concerns were outweighed by the belief that self-insured employers could absorb the new tax without much disruption. 

Then in August of this year, a federal district court in Michigan dismissed an ERISA preemption lawsuit, which contended that the administrative obligations imposed by the Act are unlawful.    

Game over?  Well, not exactly.

An appeal of the District’s court ruling has just by filed with the Sixth Circuit Court Appeals and incorporates some very strong arguments to justify a reversal.  And this time, the self-insurance industry will have an unlikely ally in this legal fight – organized labor. 

What has not been widely recognized is that the tax applies to self-insured Taft-Hartley plans and the ERISA preemption argument is even stronger as it relates to these plans.   So it is a positive development that at least two Taft-Hartley plans are expected file amicus briefs next week. 

But while more pressure is being applied in Federal Court, things are heating back up in the Michigan State Legislature to make the tax significantly more onerous.

The Act was structured based on the assumption that it would raise $400 in annual revenue from all payers.   Of course, government budgeting is often suspect and Michigan bureaucrats have lived up to this reputation.  Through the first half of 2012, the state collected only $109 million from the health claims tax, which means the annualized estimate is short nearly $200 million.

So it should not come as any surprise that the Michigan Legislature is now considering a proposal during a lame duck session to significantly hike the tax.  SB 1359, introduced earlier this month, would allow for an unlimited and variable rate on the claims tax so that it would float up and down to ensure that the tax generates $400 million annually.  The bill would also eliminate the proportional credit/refund provision should the tax collect more than the $400 million target amount.

Interestingly, state business groups who provided tacit approval to the tax last year have now launched an aggressive lobbying effort to defeat the proposed 2.0 version.   We’ll see if labor groups join the cause. 

While it’s certainly encouraging that there is strong push back against SB 1359, the opposition remains focused on the economic argument.    Yes, this is clearly important but arguably not as important as the ERISA preemption issue.

We’ll concede that the most self-insured employers in Michigan have figured out how to comply with this new tax obligation, but multi-state employers will also tell you that if other states implement a similar tax scheme this would greatly complicate compliance efforts.  In turn, this could make the self-insurance option much less attractive – a particularly troubling development in the post-ACA world where self-insurance offers a critical safe harbor.

Look around.  Most states have budget challenges, especially as it relates to health care obligations.  If the Michigan tax withstands legal and legislative challenges then we should not be surprised if other states attempt the same approach.

So the stakes are high in Michigan as it is now ground zero in the ERISA preemption fight.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Safety Tips from NFPA

Here is an article from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on Thanksgiving Safety Tips.  From our family here at Fey Insurance Services to yours, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! 

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Safety tips:

•Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

•Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

•Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.

•Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.

•Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.

•Keep knives out of the reach of children.

•Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

•Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.

•Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.

•Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Captives & Dodd-Frank -- Hitting the Right Target

The recent announcement of an industry coalition to push for federal legislation clarifying that the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act (NRRA), included as part of the Dodd-Frank law, does not apply to captive insurance companies certainly sounds like a positive initiative.  But despite good intentions, this blog is skeptical that it will acheive the desired result.

We have actually been tracking this issue for some time and is aware of discussions that have taken place with key congressional sources regarding the viability of a possible legislative fix (two conversations as recent as yesterday).  The consensus is that it could be done technically, but DC politics dictate that such an effort would be a heavy lift.

The political reality is that neither Democrats nor Republicans have the appetite to open up the Dodd-Frank Law for any changes at this point. 

Truth be told, congressional Republicans don’t want to do anything to help the law actually work, as this was a highly partisan piece of legislation, much like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The only way Republicans would be motivated to even consider amending the legislation is if such action would substantively lessen the administrative burdens on the banking industry and provide certainty to the business community, especially small business.

 Democrats, for their part, will be resistant to “technical amendment” legislation even if they support it in principle for fear that it would become a legislative vehicle where additional amendments would be grafted on with the intent of watering down the law.

And neither party wants to come back under fire from the powerful financial services industry lobby, which would surely happen if Dodd-Frank is opened back up – even for so-called technical fixes.   

But just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that legislation is introduced and some co-sponsors are lined up.  Does that mean success is any more likely?  Probably not.  To understand this assessment, we need to talk about the relative political power of interest groups in DC. 

While many of the larger lobbying organizations active in DC have the ability to block and/or shape legislation, there are far fewer who have enough political juice to get their own special interest legislation passed through Congress, no matter how limited. To be blunt, the captive insurance industry simply does not fit into this latter, more exclusive group.   

Finally, the country’s biggest captive domiciles simply do not have powerful congressional delegations with regard to insurance-related issues, which could potentially offset the deficiencies and complications described above.  That is not to say these members of Congress would not be forceful advocates, they simply are not positioned to move legislation envisioned by proponents of this approach.

So does all this mean that there will never be clarity relative to whether the NRRA applies to captives?  Well, it may not to come from Congress for the reasons we just explained, but it may come from federal regulators as part of the Dodd-Frank rule-making process. 

In fact, this avenue is now being actively explored by self-insurance industry lobbyists.   This strategy can best be described as a “surgical strike,” as opposed to an expensive and pro-longed “land war,” which the congressional route would surely become. 

We’ll see if the political operatives now engaged with the regulators can hit the target.  But at least an arguably clearer path has been identified.







Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cash Loans Till Payday: Solution For Financial Clash

In today's uncertain economy, clash between unplanned expenses and limited funds has lifted the popularity of cash loans till payday. Cash till payday loans are small short term loans that fulfill the needs of borrower before his upcoming payday.

Cash loans till payday are named so because cash loan acts as credit transaction that bridges the borrower’s unplanned expenses with the upcoming payday. Cash loans till payday are opted when borrowers finds his situation very repressive. 

Cash loans overcome the expenses that have emerged in the mid of month and demands instant approach before upcoming payday. Therefore cash loan till payday helps the borrower when he is in need of urgent cash.

Cash loans till payday are small, short term loans which are based on the borrower’s present financial condition or on their regular employment. Today, demand for cash loans till payday is increasing on day to day basis because of it various factors like:

* no credit check

* no collateral

* offers easy payback facility

* transaction through active bank account

* fast cash approval

* For everyone i.e. borrower with good or bad credit history

Cash loans till payday, requires no collateral or credit check for a loan but for acquiring cash loans till payday borrower must be 18 years of age. Other than this borrower should be employed with minimum salary of £1200 moreover he must posses the active bank account.

Getting a cash loan can be the life saver for your current situation but before opting cash loans, borrower must know that it carries higher interest rate. So, while opting for cash loan till payday borrower must be careful enough as it can lead you down the slippery slope of despair.

Cash loans till payday can be even availed by the borrowers with the bad credit rating. Borrowers with bad credit are those who are suffering from defaults, arrears, CCJ’s, etc.

Cash loans till payday are known by different names like cash loan, payday loan, advance loan and instant loan.

Fast Cash Loans: Great Assistance In Need Of The Hour

For quicker deliverance of loan what can be the better source of money rather than fast cash loans? Moreover, its name also indicates its quick speed to reach in the hands of the applicant. In fact, anyone can become acquainted with all the profits of preferring these loans just after looking at the advantages that are being offered by it. These cash loans are mainly designed for people to meet their uncertain expenses anytime in the month without taking help from anyone else. The good part of the fast cash loans is that they come with no credit check facility and thus, they are accessible even by those who are facing bad credit scores.

The borrowers would be benefited by its quick cash delivery method, as their debt situation can be settled at the earliest. This is because, there would be no obstacle in the deliverance of the loan and anyone can have quick money to cater one’s needs. The endorsement and funds delivery methods are so quick, only for the reason that they are free from credit scrutiny and long formalities. It means that no applicant would be refused to access these loans, inclusive of individuals with poor or bad credit scores.

Usually, the presented loaned amount through fast cash loans varies from £100 to £1,500 and the reimbursement tenure ranges from 14 to 31 days. Since, the repayment process is easy, the borrowers can easily repay the money within a short time frame. In this way, it would be easier for you to hold the settlement stresses.

The allocated sum through fast cash loans would be involuntarily shifted to the lender from your current account and you won’t need to bother about how to repay the money. Fast cash loans can be used for any purpose you want without any restrictions. You can use the fast cash loans for grocery bills, medical bills, school and tuition fees of your children, loan installments and a lot more other expenses. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Loan Till Payday: Instant Cash Loans Till The Payday

Loan till payday is a short-term loan made against the following month’s salary or wages as collateral. This suits the borrower’s purpose as he is able to get assistance through cash advance payday loans quickly, as no time is wasted conducting credit checks.
These loans are available even to those people who do not have a good credit history. Borrowers with bad credit history like CCJ’s, IVA, payment defaults, arrears etc can apply for the cash till payday loans. These loans are the small short term unsecured loans which do not require any collateral.

It is easy to apply for loan till payday. Borrowers can easily avail loans by filling up an online application form. Being available online, the borrowers can apply at any time of the day. Cash loans till is usually given at high interest rates, yet with online search you can find the most nominal among the available deals by drawing comparisons. You can visit the websites of lenders and download free loan quotes.

Borrowers can borrow an amount as much as £1200 within 24 hours of the application.
Delay in repayment of the loan amount can spoil your credit score. Therefore, repayment should be done in time without fail. It can be extended on genuine grounds. Cash till next payday loan takes care of all your unexpected, unplanned expenses like repairs, accident injury, bills etc and provide you with the instant cash as cash flow gap is very common these days among people.

The other requirements of cash till payday loan include the borrower’s age which should be at least 18 and he should have a regular bank account as well as a regular job.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Organising Your Shoes - Tips From Fast Cash Loans

Women and shoes are a pair that no one dare refute. For a fancy and expensive pair of stilletos, women go through skipping meals and bar hopping with friends, just to come up with the amount to get their hands on that dreamy footwear. Others boldy apply for cash loans just to add to their budget to buy another pair. If you are no different and have this shoe obsession, your shoe collection must be piling and overflowing now that you need to do these shoe organizing tips:

Pair them all. With your Imeldific collection, it’s not surprising if some shoes are missing a pair. To start organizing, find all your shoes and their pairs. Arrange them so you could easily identify them according to color, season, type, and whatnot. Inspect each pair well and decide whether they need polishing, washing, repair, or for those hopeless cases, throw them out.

Divide by the season. Some shoes are best for summer, others for fall, and so on. Since you won’t be using all of them in just one season, divide your shoes according to the season you will use them in. Doing so makes it easier for you to find the right shoes and formulate an outfit around them.

Make an arrangement scheme. A helter-skelter of shoes provides the possibility of more damages to the pairs, shoes getting lost, and neglect to some pairs. It is more wonderful if you can easily find the pair you are looking for. It is practical too if you can see all of your collection so you can rotate in using each of them. Arrange them by color or style. Use racks for them. Flats should be separated, as well as flip flops, stilettos, and others. Put them in boxes and place the frequently used one on the lower shelves and the rarely used on the upper part.

Pick the best shoe organizer. Depending on the number of your shoes, you should choose an organizer that would fit most, if not all, of your collection. For a meager shoe collection, an over-the-door rack would be good. For your hundreds of shoes, choose a horizontal cube organizer. You can buy an entire cabinet for your shoes, too.

Shoes organizers are plenty. But you have to spend some money to find the ones that can accommodate your vast collection. Use bad credit cash loans too in choosing the right rack or shelf. Once you splurge for shoes, expect that there is an accompanying organizer with that. This way, your shoes last longer and your money don’t simply go to waste. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flood Insurance Facts (Re post from 11/23/09)

With all the flooding that has occurred as a result of Sandy we thought this might be a good time to re post an old flood insurance blog article that gives a few facts about flood insurance.

Posted November 23, 2009 on

Flood insurance had its fifteen minutes of fame after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005. During this time period the media was making everyone well aware that flood insurance is not part of your typical homeowner policy. Today that is still the case and with this post I would like to point out a few more facts about flood insurance.

Flood insurance is run through a government program called FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). You can purchase it through insurance agency such as Fey Insurance Services but the backing is from FEMA. Typically it takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect. The one exception would be for a mortgage closing where flood insurance is required. So you need to plan ahead. Hearing about a big rain on the nightly news and calling your agent the next day will not work. Many people think of flood insurance when they think about what is stored in their basement. Flood insurance will only cover things such as furnaces, water heaters, washers, dryers, air conditioners, freezers, pumps and utility connections. Everything else you store down there (old cloths, furniture, carpet, TV, etc) is not covered unless those items are on the first floor of your house and the flood reaches that level.

In some cases flood insurance is required in order to get a loan. If your home or a home you are about to purchase is in a 100 year flood plain (meaning at least once every 100 years your location is under several feet of water) you will be required to purchase a flood insurance policy to close on your loan.