Insurance

VIEWPOINT: Unleash your employees' service potentialRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Tim Mulherin
As anyone in the field of emergency management will tell you, the regrettably sluggish governmental response to the Hurricane Katrina natural and manmade disaster boils down to the argument over jurisdictions (a perennial challenge in the world of emergency management) and a gross lack of execution. As a result of the governmental infighting and dearth of critical decision-making in the early stages of this catastrophe, American citizens were victimized. People suffered, people died. In the analysis of the Hurricane Katrina...
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Premiums continue to climb: Rate increases may dip, but not by very muchRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
After four years of double-digit rate hikes, average health care insurance premiums rose less than 10 percent in 2005. And they're expected to rise less than 10 percent again in 2006, according to several national surveys. But excuse employers if they don't get excited about the trend. They are still faced with having to pay much higher prices or trimming benefits-or both. Health care insurance premiums this year increased 9.2 percent, a 2-percent drop in the average increase from the...
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Taking aim at the middle: New Conseco Insurance leader says growth will be found in average householdsRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Scott Olson
Four months into his job as president of Conseco Insurance Group, Michael Dubes is explaining his strategy to return the subsidiary to profitability. Then, ice cream enters the conversation. Dairy Queen, he argued, continues to thrive despite an onslaught of competitors offering more expensive treats. The key to the franchise's success is that it has never wavered from its middleincome target audience, Dubes said. He is applying the same simple tactic to grow the group's portfolio of policyholders, while many...
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Free market is best hope for health care:Restricted Content

October 10, 2005
Clearly, the U.S. health care system has its share of problems. Costs are rising rapidly, some 45 million Americans are without health insurance, and both doctors and patients decry their loss of options and control. But, would a government-run health care system be any better? Single-payer health care systems have been proposed in a handful of states as the solution to the problem of access for the uninsured. While single-payer plans can offer all citizens some type of health insurance...
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Child-safety concerns lead to new division: Company uses R&D to manufacture innovative car seatRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Indiana Mills & Manufacturing Inc. is creating a new division, launching a new product, and cutting a new path straight to retail consumers. It's a big departure from the 45-year-old company's historical path to profitability. Westfield-based IMMI has long made its money supplying a lengthy list of manufacturers and distributors in the transportation and heavy-equipment sectors with its innovative seat belts, rollover systems for heavy trucks, and restraint systems for school buses and on- and off-road commercial vehicles. But company...
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Speaking of health care: Local experts weigh in on rising costs, the uninsured and whether our current system needs an overhaul Public health priorities, executive salaries and the "gold rush" of health care construction were among the topics tackled SeptRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Public health priorities, executive salaries and the "gold rush" of health care construction were among the topics tackled Sept. 21 in the latest installment of Indianapolis Business Journal's Power Breakfast Series. IBJ reporter Tom Murphy moderated the panel discussion, attended by some of the area's foremost health care experts. Following is an edited transcript of the often-spirited discussion, which included a brief interruption by protestors seeking medical insurance coverage for janitorial staff who clean Anthem Inc. buildings. IBJ: Can you...
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Insurer may be low on targets: WellPoint's latest megadeal could be last for a whileRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tom Murphy
A lack of available targets may steer Well-Point Inc. away from its diet of multibilliondollar acquisitions after it digests the latest purchase, New York-based Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurer WellChoice Inc. That, in turn, might slow the company's frenetic growth rate, according to analysts who follow the health insurance industry. Blockbuster deals like the $20.8 billion merger that created WellPoint last year swelled the health insurer into the biggest player in its industry. In 2004, it reported a $960 million profit,...
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WellPoint company slapped over Medicare: AdminaStar Federal agrees to pay $6 million to resolve old fraud allegationsRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tom Murphy
A WellPoint Inc. subsidiary has agreed to pay $6 million to the federal government to resolve whistleblower accusations of rampant Medicare fraud over a seven-year span in the 1990s. AdminaStar Federal altered claims information, overcharged the government, and even hung up on customers to reduce call times and improve evaluations, according to civil lawsuits filed by several whistleblowers in 1999 and 2000 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The Indianapolis-based company administers and processes Medicare claims...
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Coalition targets disparities in minority health care: Group enlists CEOs to help it develop plan of actionRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Scott Olson
Black people are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes than white people, less likely to engage in leisure activity and, on average, die five years earlier. Those statistics from the Centers for Disease Control provide motivation for a local consortium that wants to improve health care for minorities. Known as the CEO Health Disparities Roundtable, the year-old group has moved from setting objectives to developing a plan of action. The plan is aimed at reducing health care disparities among...
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Parents banking on storage of umbilical cord blood: Founder keeps research alive through Genesis BankRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
Blood from the umbilical cord of a baby expected to be born in Indianapolis later this month will be collected after her birth and saved for her 5-year-old sister, who has been diagnosed with cancer. The stem cells extracted from the baby's umbilical cord blood might someday save the life of her sibling. While doctors at Riley Hospital for Children wait and see if the young cancer patient responds to standard treatment over the next couple of years, the stem...
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M-Plan might be ready to deal: State's No. 2 health insurer talks merger with Ohio firmRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tom Murphy
M-Plan Inc., Indiana's second-largest health insurer, has entered preliminary talks that could lead to a merger with Ohio's oldest medical insurer. A source familiar with the discussions said they have centered on merging M-Plan's Indianapolisbased parent, The HealthCare Group LLC, with Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio. The source, who asked not to be identified, said Medical Mutual would end up with the majority stake. M-Plan, a nearly 20-year-old insurer owned partly by the city's Clarian and Community hospital systems, would...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Health care close to implosion?Restricted Content

October 3, 2005
The rash of specialty-hospital construction in the suburbs is a gold rush, driven more by greed than the desire to satisfy an unmet need. The fact that 45 million people in America are without health insurance is a deplorable national disaster. The best way to use America's health care system is to not get sick. These aren't the rants of a deranged publisher. These are comments made by a doctor and a pair of health care executives who were panelists...
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Atlas tenderloin tradition lives on: Family pays homage to 'sticker lady' at Carmel deliRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Scott Olson
But her connection to the grocery runs deeper. Her mother, Debbie Davis, was an Atlas institution, earning her "sticker lady" nickname from children who received the treats she kept in a toy treasure chest at her register. Debbie died in June 2004 at age 52, following a prolonged battle with breast cancer. In her memory, husband Mike Davis created the "Debbie's Make You Smile Fund" to benefit the Indiana University Cancer Center. It is supported by the sale of the...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Charitable trusts: Creating gifts that keep on givingRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Paul Coan
For people who are looking to help a worthy cause, and provide an income stream from a valuable asset, creating a charitable trust may be a good solution. There are various options for the creation of charitable trusts. At most university and charity Web sites, you'll see a reference to them. They've become a popular way for organizations to build their endowment. Charitable remainder trusts With a charitable remainder trust, an individual places assets in the trust-stock, real estate, bonds,...
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Flexible spending extension expected to be little-used: Planners say total elimination of use-it-or-lose it rule would increase participation, make plans more usefulRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
A new Internal Revenue Service rule relaxes the "use it or lose it" rule in flexible spending accounts by extending the period during which expenses may be incurred beyond the end of the plan year. Health care flexible spending accounts allow participants to set aside at the beginning of the year a predetermined amount of pretax money to be used for medical, dental and vision expenses not covered by insurance. Dependent care spending accounts do the same thing for child...
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Are you prepared for DISASTER?: Despite warnings, many businesses fail to plan for the worstRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Scott Olson
Are you prepared for Despite warnings, many businesses fail to plan for the worst Frank Hancock didn't have a disasterrecovery plan when a tornado tore past his east-side printing company two years ago, causing $5 million in damage. Severe wind gusts from the Sept. 20, 2003, storm shredded Sport Graphics Inc.'s 5-month-old warehouse and manufacturing facility and tore 13 1,800-pound air-conditioning units from the roof, dumping them on the parking lot below. One was never recovered. Amid the mayhem that...
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FAMILY BUSINESS: Are you protecting your business from potential disasters?Restricted Content

September 26, 2005
Eric Manterfield
The recent news from New Orleans and Mississippi points out the need for family businesses to have disasterrecovery plans. Fortunately, we have little in Indiana to worry about from hurricanes, but other disasters are not uncommon. Consider the possi ble catastrophes that might strike your business. What have you done to protect the business against the consequences? Business-continuation and other insurance can mitigate the consequences of a wholesale destruction of your business facilities after a tornado or other natural disaster....
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Investors face long odds in latest Conseco class actionRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Greg Andrews
Class-action attorneys hit the jackpot three years ago when Conseco Inc. agreed to settle securitiesfraud litigation for $120 million. At the time, it was the 10thbiggest settlement for a case of its kind. This time around, attorneys, and the investors they represent, appear likely to go home empty-handed. Indianapolis federal Judge David Hamilton in July quietly dismissed a securitiesfraud case filed three years ago on behalf of investors who held Conseco stock between April 2001 and August 2002, a span...
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Pocket-protector crowd to preach quality: Group plans first conference to promote better practices in information technologyRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Because of them, people stocked basements with food, guns and ammo. Others fell prostrate on hilltops and sang Kumbaya. There was fear software developers would inadvertently destroy the world with the infamous Y2K computer glitch, in the opening hours of 2000. These days, however, it is the developers who are worried-about things like how a glitch can give hackers access to customer credit card and Social Security numbers. Or get companies in trouble when software doesn't capture information required by...
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Opportunity ... .. or Albatross?: Winona bankruptcy creditors move toward sheriff's saleRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
Tom Murphy
A sheriff's sale to the highest bidder may be the fate of the once-bustling Winona Memorial Hospital. Bankruptcy creditors, frustrated that they haven't found a buyer for the vacant near-northside property, plan to seek a foreclosure that clears the way for public auctions of the hospital and an adjacent nursing home. A sale and renovation of the properties could boost the neighborhood surrounding Winona, a part of town that has struggled but is riding a wave of good news the...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Let's build a new New OrleansRestricted Content

September 12, 2005
Morton Marcus
At the moment, rescue and relocation are the primary concerns along the Gulf Coast ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. In time, restoration will become the leading issue. Most property owners from Mobile to New Orleans will want their buildings repaired or replaced. They will seek to recreate the past instead of looking to the future. A more comprehensive approach is appropriate. Let's consider the Gulf Coast as a region, centered on New Orleans, that stretches from Florida to Texas. This area...
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State unrolls insurer-friendly plan: New strategy aims to recruit, nurture insurance businesses; watchdogs wary of approachRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Tom Murphy
The state of Indiana is aggressively courting the insurance industry to add high-paying jobs to the economy, a strategy that comes with a touch of controversy. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced late last month the appointment of Mike Chrysler as Indiana's first-ever director of insurance initiatives. Chrysler then hit the ground driving. He's already visited the Fort Wayne market and plans to reach several other corners of Indiana to let insurers know the state appreciates their business and wants...
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Contractors work to resurrect historic church: Buggs Temple being rebuilt from inside out into entertainment venueRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Tammy Lieber
When a team of developers took on the renovation of downtown's Buggs Temple in fall 2003, most windows in the historic church were missing, the roof was riddled with holes, and much of the sanctuary floor was in the basement. Almost two years later, it's difficult to gauge the progress of the project by sight. The floor is entirely gone, as are the balcony, the doors and the few windows that remained. In that time, however, the building on West...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Rising health care costs killing jobs and incomeRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Most of us have been in a doctor's office, and many of us have had conditions that require treatment. But few of us are likely to hear any information presented on the cost of different treatment options along with their benefits, especially if we are one of the 170 million people covered by employer- or governmentprovided health insurance. It is an amazing fact that nearly $3 trillion of health care goods and services are ordered off a menu that has...
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NOTIONS: The power of nature and the perils of human natureRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Bruce Hetrick
Some colleagues and I drove south into Evansville last week just as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina blew in from the north. As we pulled into the parking lot of our destination, we watched workers battling wind and rain on the walk from their cars to the office. Twice, we saw sturdy umbrellas, held nearly horizontal against the oncoming gale, collapse upon their users. The drenched souls fumbled with the resulting maze of metal and fabric as they struggled across...
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