National / International News

Where Obamacare is shunned, insurance brokers step in

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-03-19 13:39

Uninsured people only have until the end of the month to buy coverage under the Affordable Care Act if they want to avoid the new penalty for not having health insurance.

In states where politicians are dead set against Obamacare, the task of getting people enrolled is falling to a group that's only too happy to help – private insurance agents.

Despite having one of the highest rates of uninsured people in the nation, Georgia is no friend to the Affordable Care Act. Recently, the state House passed the “Georgia Health Care Freedom and ACA Noncompliance Act” by Republican State Rep. Jason Spencer.

Among other things, Spencer’s bill would nix an already modest program administered by the University of Georgia. It pays 11 people called “navigators” to help almost 2 million uninsured in Georgia buy coverage through the federal exchange.

There are, however, many more people like Helen Grove, a private insurance broker in Warner Robins, Ga.

Grove recently helped veterinary technician Andrea Wallace sign up for coverage – something she’s done for a living for almost a decade, though the process has changed of late.

“Alright, so we’ll just go to Healthcare.gov,” Grove says as she types in the web address on Wallace’s computer. The online marketplace offers a much smaller range of plans, and one of them was the clear winner for Wallace – one that comes with a reduced deductible of $3,250.

Back in her office, Grove acknowledges that just about anybody can do this on the website by themselves.

“But first of all, do you really want to? I mean some people, they are just intimidated by the whole thing,” she says.

And the best part is that brokers do this at no cost to the consumer. The insurance company pays their commission.  Except, that’s also the worst part, says Rick Chelcko, president of a health benefits consulting firm in Cleveland.

“Insurance companies give brokers not only commissions for the products they sell, but they give them lots of incentives, ‘bonuses’ or what have you,” Chelcko says. “That motivates brokers to concentrate business with a particular favored carrier.”

Officials in Florida are investigating a brokerage firm for allegedly holding “Obamacare Enrollment Team” events without disclosing ties to particular insurers. But any broker who shoves clients toward the company with the best bonuses isn’t going to last long, Grove says.

“People can see that,” she says. “You build a reputation.”

And in Grove’s politically conservative market, insurance brokers are often the only source of real information, she says.

“I did have one person, I had spoken with his wife at length, and then when I went out to speak he said, ‘Whoa, I didn’t know this was gonna be Obamacare,’” Grove recalls. 

Grove had to break it to the guy – all insurance is Obamacare now.

MP demands health board resignations

BBC - Wed, 2014-03-19 13:28
Labour MP Ann Clwyd calls for the chair and chief executive of a health board to resign claiming it released private details on the investigation into the death of her husband in hospital.

Al-Qaida Spokesman: I Warned Bin Laden That U.S. Would Kill Him

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 13:16

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith took the stand in a Manhattan court on Wednesday. He said that in a conversation with the al-Qaida leader he predicted the U.S. "will not settle until it kills you."

» E-Mail This

Why Ukraine's Situation Makes Russia's Other Neighbors Nervous

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 13:12

From the Baltic states to Central Asia, plenty of former Soviet satellites have large populations of ethnic Russians — and more than a few of them are yearning to be free.

» E-Mail This

Smith College president talks affordable education

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:53
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 15:51 Wikimedia Commons

A postcard of Smith College back in 1923.

What’s  it like to run the institutions that are on the front lines of the debate we're having in this country over higher education and its merits?

Kathleen McCartney, who  just took over as the president of Smith College a little less than six months ago, says cost is a big part of her thinking.

She said one of her main focuses is making a college education affordable for low-income students. McCartney comes from a middle-class family and is the oldest of five children.  She attended Tufts University because of generous financial aid, and says the country needs to make sure students from a background like hers can go to the best schools, no matter the cost.

“We have students who are going to be enrolling at Smith next year who went to charter schools, just from the lowest of low families,” said McCartney. “So we’re doing as much outreach as we can, and I know that other colleges are doing the same.”

 McCartney said one thing students and families need to do is think past the “sticker price” of a college education.

"I think we have to educate families, because some colleges are not a good bargain," said McCartney.  "What parents and students need to do is find things out like ‘How much debt does the average student leave this college with?'"

 

Marketplace for Wednesday March 19, 2014Interview by Kai RyssdalPodcast Title: Smith College president talks affordable educationStory Type: InterviewSyndication: SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond: No

Smith College president talks affordable education

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:51

What’s  it like to run the institutions that are on the front lines of the debate we're having in this country over higher education and its merits?

Kathleen McCartney, who  just took over as the president of Smith College a little less than six months ago, says cost is a big part of her thinking.

She said one of her main focuses is making a college education affordable for low-income students. McCartney comes from a middle-class family and is the oldest of five children.  She attended Tufts University because of generous financial aid, and says the country needs to make sure students from a background like hers can go to the best schools, no matter the cost.

“We have students who are going to be enrolling at Smith next year who went to charter schools, just from the lowest of low families,” said McCartney. “So we’re doing as much outreach as we can, and I know that other colleges are doing the same.”

 McCartney said one thing students and families need to do is think past the “sticker price” of a college education.

"I think we have to educate families, because some colleges are not a good bargain," said McCartney.  "What parents and students need to do is find things out like ‘How much debt does the average student leave this college with?'"

 

Ad For Surgical Robot Violated University of Illinois Policies

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:50

A medical center surgical team endorsed the da Vinci robot in an advertisement that ran in The New York Times Magazine in January. A university review found no fraud but said rules weren't followed.

» E-Mail This

I want to play in four World Cups - Adam Jones

BBC - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:22
In his BBC column, prop Adam Jones says he has an ambition to reach 100 Wales caps and play in four Rugby World Cups

Bungling burglar snared by selfie

BBC - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:22
A bungling thief who sent a picture of himself burgling a house to his victim's colleagues is jailed.

In First Press Conference, New Fed Chair Goes Vague

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:20

In her first press conference as chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen pledged to keep interest rates low, but at times she wavered in word choice.

» E-Mail This

Bin Laden spokesman speaks at trial

BBC - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:16
A man US prosecutors say was al-Qaeda's spokesman after 9/11 testifies Osama Bin Laden wanted him "to deliver a message to the world".

Russian Flags Fly Over Ukrainian Base — But Who Stormed It?

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:14

Masked, pro-Russian forces have taken control of at least part of Ukraine's naval base in Crimea. No one was reported injured, but the Ukrainian commander was taken away by unidentified men.

» E-Mail This

Most U.S. Women Wouldn't Know A Stroke If They Saw Or Felt One

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:02

Acting fast can be key to preventing permanent damage from a stroke. But many women don't realize that face or arm numbness, speech trouble or abrupt, severe headache can mean it's time to call 911.

» E-Mail This

To Save Her Husband's Life, A Woman Fights For Access To TB Drugs

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:01

When doctors ran out of treatment options for her dying husband, Oxana Rucsineanu took matters into her own hands. The costly new drug she got for him has menacing side effects, but it might save him.

» E-Mail This

Alzheimer's Diagnosis Expanding To Catch Early Warning Signs

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:00

The approach would recognize changes in behavior and in the brain. Right now there aren't treatments that slow down the disease, but identifying high-risk patients early on could help with prevention.

» E-Mail This

As Iran Talks Wrap Up, Diplomats Get Specific

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:00

The latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, including the U.S., drew to a close in Vienna, Austria. Both sides were relieved to avoid any dust-ups and plan to meet again in April.

» E-Mail This

In Airliner Search, Countries Still Wonder What Parts To Play

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:00

FBI investigators are now joining the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. It's one more instance of increasingly closer international cooperation in the search — though confusion persists.

» E-Mail This

Toyota's $1.2B Settlement Puts Criminal Probe To Rest

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 12:00

Toyota will pay $1.2 billion to end a federal criminal probe into a vehicle recall. Federal regulators said five people died in accidents related to unintended acceleration prior to the recall.

» E-Mail This

Tesco uses wrong cows in milk advert

BBC - Wed, 2014-03-19 11:56
Supermarket giant Tesco is forced to drop a national advertising campaign after mistakenly using pictures of beef cattle in its milk adverts.

In The Absence Of Answers, We Return Repeatedly To The Questions

NPR News - Wed, 2014-03-19 11:55

The missing Malaysia Airlines jet seems to mirror fiction, and we can't look away. This only makes media want to cover it more, regardless of the information available.

» E-Mail This

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life. Renew here or visit KBBI by April 21 to enter to win one round-trip airfare with Era between Homer and Anchorage. Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

ON THE AIR

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4