Insurance

HMOs report steady profits, falling membership: Indiana insurers performed well overall in 2005Restricted Content

March 27, 2006
Tom Murphy
Most of Indiana's largest HMOs managed to turn profits in 2005, even as other kinds of health insurance gained market share, sucking away 6 percent to 15 percent of their customers. Technology improvements and more efficient operations helped counter those losses, health maintenance organization executives said. However, annual reports filed with the state Department of Insurance show that profit for some of these managed care options slipped compared to 2004. Industry insiders say many companies are reluctant to offer HMOs...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Legislature wastes another sessionRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Morton Marcus
The 150 men and women who make up the Indiana General Assembly have finished their annual freak show, folded their tents, and departed from Indianapolis. In their wake, they left some truly terrible legislation and another record of neglect for the interests of Indiana's too-long-suffering population. What was wrong with this session of the General Assembly? Your local editor will not grant me the space to be either sufficiently complete or detailed. Let's start with the governor's Major Moves program....
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NOTIONS: A kid, a shave, a health care dilemmaRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
For the second time in his young life, 9-year-old Joey Chamness had his head shaved last week. This time, the skinhead look is voluntary. Last time, it was chemotherapy. On a Thursday afternoon in January 2005, Joey was playing soccer when he felt pain in his left leg. He'd experienced this before, but not this bad. So Joey's parents called the family pediatrician to schedule an appointment. The following Monday, the doctor took a look and said it was probably...
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Health care developers eye their next frontier: Northeast Hamilton County offers a lucrative marketRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Tom Murphy
Chris Hamm's phone started buzzing with calls from health care developers once plans for an extension of 146th Street east to Interstate 69 crystallized a couple years ago. The Noblesville economic development director said several organizations have shown "significant interest" in planting health care businesses along 146th Street, which will see a big boost in traffic once workers complete the interstate connection in the fall of 2007. At least three health-care-related deals are in the works, he added, declining to...
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Ad firm's new HQ shows imagination: Former school gets makeover for Young & LaramoreRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Tammy Lieber
The Indianapolis-based advertising firm's former building, at 409 Massachusetts Ave., featured an interior atrium, open work spaces and a large fish sculpture in the window that caught the eye of passersby on the busy commercial corridor. For its new building, a former school tucked into Lockerbie Square a few blocks away, the firm had to decide how to creatively use a choppedup floor plan, complete with a gymnasium in the middle. Young & Laramore enlisted Eric Rowland and Sarah Schwarzkopf...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Waiter shines light on educationRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Morton Marcus
I spent most of a recent weekend in the hospital, but no one seems to want to hear that story. It wasn't much of a story, as it turns out, but the bill, which will fall on you, will be enormous. My part of the bill will be small because I am covered by Medicare and private health insurance. This means you will see my use of the health care system reflected in your future taxes and in your future...
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WellPoint freezes pensions: Insurer joins national trend, shifts focus to 401(k) planRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Tom Murphy
WellPoint Inc. quietly froze pension contributions for most of its 42,000 employees earlier this year, a move that draws criticism but falls in step with what many other big employers are doing. The Indianapolis-based health insurance giant noted deep in an annual report filed late last month that on Jan. 1 it stopped adding pay credits to the pension accounts of employees not nearing retirement. The insurer rang up a $2.5 billion profit last year and, unlike some other companies...
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Short session long on action: Led by Major Moves, telecom successes, biz interests fared well in 2006 General AssemblyRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
In less than three months, the Indiana General Assembly approved a pair of blockbuster economic-development measures designed to dramatically upgrade the state's infrastructure. With the passage of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves initiative, Indiana will lease the Indiana Toll Road to an Australian-Spanish consortium for 75 years. It will use the upfront, $3.9 billion payment to build roads. Meanwhile, the approval of telecom deregulation sets the stage for more local phone, cable and Internet competition. Daniels, a Republican, argued that...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revised data shows state faring better than thoughtRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Patrick Barkey
If you were watching this space to see what-if any-silver lining for Indiana could be found in the harsh blows about to fall on the high pay, full benefit, Big Three automaker production jobs I promised to talk about last week, I ask your forbearance. The Toyota Corp. has beaten me to the punch. The company's announcement that it plans to build its top-selling Camry in Lafayette says it better than any words I could come up with. The future...
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Bill boosts hope for bariatric patients: Measure would make it easier for morbidly obese to receive surgeryRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Tom Murphy
Bariatric surgeons hope a bill being considered in the legislature eliminates lifethreatening waits like Shaul's and improves access to a surgical specialty that has seen expansive growth in central Indiana over the past few years. The measure, now in conference committee, is expected to win final approval in the waning days of this year's session. Senate Bill 266 would trim the minimum wait insurers can impose before they cover the surgery from 18 consecutive months to six. It also adds...
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BULLS & BEARS: Buffett's skeptical eyes see plenty to fret aboutRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Ken Skarbeck
Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders was posted on the company's Web site early this month. He has a way of distilling complex issues into simple messages using witty anecdotes. Here is my Cliffs Notes version, but first a note of caution: One thing you don't get from Buffett is the world viewed through rose-colored glasses. Derivatives. Buffett resolved that when Berkshire acquired General Re, the large reinsurance company in 2001, he would unwind the company's derivative contracts....
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NOTIONS Bruce Hetrick: Yes, Mama, it's OK to let your baby study liberal artsRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Bruce Hetrick is on vacation this week. In his absence,this column,which appeared on March 17, 2003, is being reprinted. Last summer, an Indiana University English professor sent me an e-mail. It said that she and her colleagues were creating a new course called "Careers in English." Its premise: One might do something with an English degree besides teach English. As they planned their curriculum, the instructors searched for an appropriate textbook. When they couldn't find one, they decided to create...
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How Family Friendly is: Duke Realty Corp.: Locally based, publicly traded, commercial real estate firmRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Duke Realty Corp. Locally based, publicly traded, commercial real estate firm Flexible work arrangements Duke managers support flexible work arrangements whenever possible. Some associates work flexible hours, compressed workweeks, part-time schedules or take advantage of part-time telecommuting. Child care Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts are offered and allow associates to set aside money on a before-tax basis through payroll deductions to cover daycare expenses. Family leave/military leave Eligible associates may take FMLA leave up to 12 weeks. Employees can also...
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Federal deposit insurance reform beefs up coverage: Retirement savings accounts stand to benefit mostRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Scott Olson
Federal deposit insurance reforms signed into law by President Bush last month boost coverage of some retirement accounts and will raise coverage for other bank accounts beginning in 2010. The legislation, debated by lawmakers for the past six years, is significant because it offers the first increase in deposit insurance coverage in more than 25 years, and just the seventh rise since 1935. Federal deposit insurance currently covers as much as $100,000 per depositor. Starting no later than November, depositors...
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Indiana's universities give industry a boost: State touts wealth of higher-ed insurance programsRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Scott Olson
Politicians seem so much more 21st century when they talk about attracting life sciences and information technology jobs to Indiana. But they're not about to ignore the state's second-largest employer-the often-overlooked insurance industry. Indiana insurers employ more than 60,000 Hoosiers, second only to farming, and pay an average annual salary of $47,500, nearly $10,000 more than the state average, according to a 2004 study by Purdue University. Moreover, the industry boasts some of the state's largest public and private companies-WellPoint...
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Wishard bounces back, projects $23M surplus: Improved billing, debt collection dry up red inkRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Tom Murphy
Wishard Health Services made it back into the black in 2005, three years after posting a staggering loss of $77 million. The not-for-profit, public hospital system expects to record a $23 million surplus on $362 million in revenue when budget totals are final in a few months. Its leaders expect to wind up with another surplus in 2006. Such performance is a noteworthy achievement in the public health universe, said Lynne Fagnani, senior vice president for the Washington, D.C.-based National...
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Making the grade: Pay-for-performance system nearing reality for local physiciansRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Tom Murphy
Central Indiana stands on the leading edge of a national push by health care insurance systems to link doctors' pay with their performance. The Indiana Health Information Exchange-a not-for-profit collaboration among some of the state's largest health care providers-is developing a program that uses data collected from insurers and care providers to produce quality reports. Those reports then will be sent to doctors and used by the insurers to develop incentive programs for reimbursement. The goal: Start a system by...
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Insurers: Session a 'dog': Industry's favored bills bark up the wrong treeRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Scott Olson
The state's insurance industry could use coverage for the lumps it has taken this legislative session. The three main issues of interest for the Insurance Institute of Indiana, the sector's lobbying arm, all flamed out early. The disappointing performance prompted Marty Wood, the organization's director of public affairs, to proclaim it a near failure. "I would give this session for insurers a 'D' as in dog. Dog is probably pretty accurate, too," Wood said. "Had we had this kind of...
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Home investors fill portfolios with bricks and mortar: Membership in local investor group grows; national trend, foreclosures are playing a partRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Tammy Lieber
Mike Wilson recalls going to meetings of the Indianapolis Landlords Association in the late 1990s and listening to a "good old boys club" talk about property management problems such as how to fix toilets and get rid of cockroaches. "They were managing properties, not buying," said Wilson, who at the time had just started purchasing single-family homes as investments. With a hunger for knowledge and a hunch that there were others like him, Wilson took a spot on the board...
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Banning 'McLawsuits': State bill outlawing fast-food litigation nears passageRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Matthew Kish
A bill nearing the governor's desk would make it illegal to sue Indiana restaurants-including the state's ubiquitous fast-food joints-for those extra notches in the belt. Commonly referred to as the "cheeseburger bill," the measure is part of a national effort by restaurants and small-business owners to protect themselves from enormous class-action lawsuits that have been filed against some national chains. House Bill 1113 passed out of the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters on Feb. 14 by a...
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Open source gaining traction: Government departments, more businesses seek alternatives to Microsoft, othersRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Scott Olson
The Indiana Department of Education's effort to outfit high schools with computers is a costly endeavor for a state strapped for cash. But installing what is known as open-source software is softening the blow. As the name implies, open-source programming is available for users to study, modify and share freely-a sharp contrast to the proprietary software sold by behemoths such as Microsoft Corp. and Oracle. Expensive licensing fees associated with the proprietary software sent the Education Department looking for alternatives....
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Clarian sizing up south side: Agreement with Morgan Hospital could lead to development projects in St. Francis' back yardRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Tom Murphy
The largest hospital network in Indianapolis will start stretching its reach once again next month, this time south of town, where it could challenge the dominance of St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers. Clarian Health Partners is embarking on a five-year development agreement with Martinsville's Morgan Hospital & Medical Center that could place more building projects on Clarian's already crowded construction agenda. The two systems plan to focus their relationship on improving patient care and research, but representatives of both...
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Know where to look for funding:Restricted Content

February 27, 2006
Charles Sim
Conventional bank loans Banks provide conventional financing, evaluating loan requests against the socalled "five Cs" of credit. They must feel comfortable that borrowers have: capacity to repay the loan; capital of their own invested in the business; collateral to offer as a secondary source of loan repayment; creditworthiness, based on personal and business borrowing history; and character worthy of the bank's trust. It's in banks' best interest to minimize risk. Loans are made only where the likelihood of being repaid...
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Standard stock sinks close to crucial mark: As shares hover around $1, company launches effort to raise $25 millionRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Tom Murphy
Standard Management Corp. shares are sliding into a dangerous price range as the Indianapolis-based company tries to raise $25 million to continue growing its health-services business. The stock price dipped briefly below $1 earlier this month in NASDAQ trading. It rebounded to close at $1.17 Feb. 10 before slipping back to $1 Feb. 15. NASDAQ imposes a $1 minimum bid price for shares to continue trading on its exchange. Market watchers say Standard is in no danger of suddenly being...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Coffee, doughnuts and libertyRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Morton Marcus
There is nothing like the aroma of strong, fresh coffee. So it was as I woke one recent day. My executive officer had left for work, but graciously left the coffee and its aroma for me to enjoy. Down the stairs I tottered with my dog (who pretends to be too feeble to manage the stairs by himself). I let him out, let him back in, gathered a cup of the brew, and entered my office. "Hi," she said in...
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  1. How is the private developer going to repay the bonds. Is this going to be a toll road?

  2. As well as a Portillio'S!!!!!!

  3. A Lou Malnati's would be awesome!!!!!!!!

  4. We aren't broke. We just aren't willing to raise revenues for this that we should be raising them.

  5. OK. now that the state is taking illegal immigrants, willing or not. There is a major concern that needs to be addressed. First: School starts here in 3 weeks in most parts of the country and probably in Indiana. So is the state going to vaccinate these kids before they intermingle with our kids in school? The problem we are going to have here in the US and possibly in Indiana is that some of these kids could be carrying health issues or diseases that are pretty much eradicated in the US. This could cause a major health issue in the US. Second: Who is going to pay for this building disaster? We are flat out broke….. Down here in Texas, we have 14 counties that have been so swamped with kids, (numerous thousands of them), they are on the verge of financial collapse. Now this is happening in counties in New Mexico, Arizona and California. The system is massively overloaded. Swine flu has started back up in San Antonio since they have nearly 2500 kids that have been placed there and lice is rampant. Not to be insensitive, but we need to stop this madness. I find it amazing that we cannot take care of our veterans and yet give carte blanche to illegals entering the country. Recently an article mentioned that these kids and teenagers can get on planes without TSA screening? What? What the Hell???? Keep in mind this about protecting our national sovereignty as a nation and also living under the rule of law. Not only the terrorist threat that can come over the border. This is a deliberate and irresponsible and illegal act from administration ignoring the constitutional duty of protecting the borders and also upholding the supreme law of the land. This is a classic Cloward and Piven strategy to overload the system until it collapses.

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