Minnesota’s Biggest (And Cheapest) Obamacare Insurer Drops Out Over Overwhelming Costs

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Sarah Hurtubise
Reporter

The largest insurer with the lowest premium rates on Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is dropping out because the government health-exchange is unsustainable, the company announced Tuesday.

PreferredOne Health Insurance told MNsure, the state-run exchange, Tuesday morning that it would not continue to offer its popular insurance plans on the marketplace in 2015. It’s “purely a business decision,” spokesman Steve Peterson told KSTP-TV. The company is losing money on administrative costs for plans offered on the bureaucratic and glitchy government exchange.

Part of the problem, according to PreferredOne, is that MNsure hasn’t even been able to verify its customers’ information. PreferredOne said that some of its customers have turned out not to even live in Minnesota.

Insurers are required to accept customers who’ve been approved by the exchange for coverage, but states and the federal government have been struggling for months to determine which applicants are actually eligible for the benefits. (RELATED: Obama Admin Is Kicking 115K Off Obamacare Plans)

“Our MNsure individual product membership is only a small percentage of the entire PreferredOne enrollment but is taking a significant amount of our resources to support administratively,” the company said in a statement. “We feel continuing on MNsure was not sustainable and believe this is an important step to best serve all PreferredOne members.”

PreferredOne was Minnesota’s largest exchange insurer with 59 percent of individual MNsure sign-ups, according to KSTP. Another four insurance companies — Blue Cross Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare — will continue to offer plans on the exchange next year.

This leaves Minnesota Obamacare customers in a tricky situation. PreferredOne had significantly lower rates than any other insurer on the exchange. When these plans disappear, customers will see a significant rate hike if they choose to continue on the Obamacare exchange, independent of yearly rate hikes.

Minnesota is scheduled to announce premium rates for 2015 Obamacare plans in October and signs point to looming price hikes that will hit Minnesotans doubly hard.

Scott Leitz, CEO of the state exchange, released a joint statement with PreferredOne CEO Marcus Merz, emphasizing that the company will work with MNsure to “minimize impact” to current enrollees.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/16/minnesotas-biggest-and-cheapest-obamacare-insurer-drops-out-over-overwhelming-costs/#ixzz3DVxB7KMx

REPORT: Illegals rushing border fearing crackdown…

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BY PAUL BEDARD | SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 | 12:52 PM
Illegals rushing border fearing U.S. crackdown

The summer lull in illegal border crossings from Mexico is about to give way to a rush of even more immigrants in a frenzy of fear that Washington is about to shut the door, according to several Hispanic leaders.

TOPICS: WASHINGTON SECRETS IMMIGRATION BORDER SECURITY LAW HONDURAS EL SALVADOR HISPANICS GUATEMALA

The summer lull in illegal border crossings from Mexico is about to give way to a rush of even more immigrants in a frenzy of fear that Washington is about to shut the door, according to several Hispanic leaders.

In Honduras, for example, U.S. threats coupled with those from local leaders warning about the dangers of crossing the border have instead reenergized children and adults to run fast to America and pay inflated fees to “coyotes” to get them there.

“As I am speaking, hundreds of children are trying to leave Honduras,” said Jose Guadalupe Ruelas, a Honduran leader who advocates for children. “When people in Honduras hear that the U.S. is going to get stricter with immigration rules and laws then people think to themselves, ‘Now is the time for me to go,’” he said through an interpreter.

Ruelas and several other Hispanic leaders met in Washington on Tuesday after spending a week in Latin nations responsible for sending over 50,000 children across the U.S. border this year. Officials expect another 145,000 next year.

He and several of the others blamed domestic crime and U.S. policies, notably a lack of social spending in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, for the wave of some 90,000 illegals, mostly youths, into America this year.

Ruelas added that deportation typically backfires. “Every time a child is deported back to their country, they gain more experience and they will return,” he said.

Oscar A. Chacon, executive director of the Nation Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities, scoffed at U.S. claims that border officials have choked off the flow of illegals since it peaked in July.

He said that summer months are too hot for people to make the trip and he said it will begin again in fall unless the U.S. shifts its policies in Latin America.

“If the root causes that are driving people to make that sad choice of having to immigrate despite all the risk, despite all the fear, are not addressed,” he warned, “we may well be seeing chapter one of a book of many chapters.”

At a press conference, Abel Nunez, executive director of the Central American Resource Center, also demanded that U.S. officials pay to give illegal youths and adults legal representation at immigration hearings and called on Congress to pass what amounts to open border legislation.

US to send 3,000 troops to Ebola danger zone as Obama administra​tion shuffles military’s mission in Africa

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The United States government is sending thousands of military troops to the west African nation of Liberia as part of the Obama administration’s Ebola virus-response strategy, the White House said late Monday night.

‘U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts,’ a statement from the White House press office said.

‘A general from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), will lead this effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces.’

Liberia is the hardest-hit of the four west African nations that have confirmed Ebola cases, accounting for more than one-half of the fatalities. The others are Sierra Leone, Guinea and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria.

Ebola crisis unparalleled in modern times, WHO says

Some of what America’s armed personnel will do in Liberia is unclear. The White House said ‘many’ of them will be stationed at an ‘intermediate staging base’ where they will supervise the movement of medical staff, supplies and heavy equipment.

AFRICOM already warns its own personnel that they should ‘avoid nonessential travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.’

And the Defense Department is concerned, one Pentagon official told MailOnline, about the public perceptions aroused when American G.I.s patrol ground zero in a disease outbreak that could plunge three or more countries into chaos if it worsens significantly.

Combat soldiers and Marines ‘will be on hand and ready for anything,’ said the official, who has knowledge of some, but not all, of the Ebola-related planning. ‘But hopefully it will be all logistics and hospital-building.’

‘The president has ordered us to help, and we’re eager to do it,’ he said. ‘Now it looks like we’re going to be the lead dog, and that’s bound to make a lot of people nervous. It’s understandable.’

‘But no one wants U.S. personnel enforcing someone else’s martial law if things go south and the entire region is at risk.’

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‘At this point in a response like this, we would normally play a support role for USAID and the CDC,’ he said, referring to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Fox News Channel reported on Sunday that the U.S. military’s emphasis on Ebola prevention, driven by President Barack Obama, has stretched thin most if not all of its other missions.

A senior military official told Fox that General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a recent meeting that ‘the Department of Defense’s number one priority is combating Ebola.’

The network’s source commented that ‘we don’t need to be taking planners away from the CT [counter-terrorism] mission, and that is what is going on.’

Defense spending is down 21 per cent since 2010, the first fiscal year for which the Obama administration presided over the federal budget.

But the president is insisting that the military carry much of the burden in Africa.

In a Sept. 7 interview on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ he called it a ‘national security priority.’

‘If we don’t make that effort now, and this spreads not just through Africa, but other parts of the world, there’s the prospect then that the virus mutates, it becomes more easily transmittable, and then it could be a serious danger to the United States,” said Obama.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest fielded questions Monday about the threat that a mutated Ebola virus could endanger the American population.

‘Right now,’ Earnest said, ‘the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low. But that risk would only increase if there were not a robust response on the part of the United States.’

‘And that’s why the president – among other things – that’s one of the things that’s motivating the president to direct an aggressive response.’

Obama will visit the CDC in Atlanta on Tuesday for a situation update, and to give a public speech about the need to regard Africa’s public health crisis as a threat to the United States.

Earnest’s office said Monday night that military engineers would be on hand in Liberia to build makeshift hospitals, and that the American government ‘will help recruit and organize medical personnel to staff them.’

The Pentagon has also committed to construct and staff at least one 25-bed ‘field-deployable hospital,’ in Liberia, but The Washington Post reported last week that it will treat only infected health care workers – not civilian victims of the outbreak.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will send 65 administrators, clinicians and support staff to run the facility.

That’s a change from a week ago, when Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters that the military would turn the field hospital over to the Liberian government after it was built.

‘No U.S. personnel right now will be providing patient care,’ Col. Warren said on Sept. 8. We are deploying the hospital facility, setting it up, stockpiling it. We’ll turn it over to the government of Liberia and then the DoD (Defense Department) personnel will depart,” he said.

The World Health Organization says the current Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, a form of hemorrhagic fever, has infected more than 4,900 west Africans and killed at least 2,400, mostly in Liberia.

The State Department purchased a shipment of 5,000 body bags for its USAID mission in Liberia last month.

USAID is also procuring up to 160,000 hazmat suits for medical workers. The White House aid Monday night that USAID will soon airlift 130,000 of those ‘sets of personal protective equipment’ to health care workers in affected countries.

Read more: ¿It doesn¿t make sense¿: Concerns over enlisting DoD in Ebola response | Fox News
Preventing and Understanding Ebola | United States Africa Command

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2757360/US-send-3-000-troops-Ebola-danger-zone-Obama-administration-shuffles-military-s-mission-Africa.html#ixzz3DVnoCs6S
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