(MANHATTAN) Justice Court Report: Switzerland’s Largest Insurance Company and Three Subsidiaries Admit to Conspiring with U.S. Taxpayers to Hide Assets and Income in Offshore Accounts #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.15: The Department of Justice today filed a criminal information charging Swiss Life Holding AG (Swiss Life Holding), Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Swiss Life Singapore), and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. (Swiss Life Luxembourg), collectively, the “Swiss Life Entities,” with conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to conceal from the IRS more than $1.452 billion in offshore insurance policies, including more than 1,600 insurance wrapper policies, and related policy investment accounts in banks around the world and the income generated in these accounts.

MANHATTAN: ‘Swiss Life Holding AG, Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG, Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. Enter into Deferred Prosecution Agreement for Criminal Misconduct; Agree to Collectively Pay More than $77 Million’

The Justice Department also announced a deferred prosecution agreement with the Swiss Life Entities (“the Agreement”) under which they agreed to accept responsibility for their criminal conduct by stipulating to the accuracy of the Statement of Facts attached to the Agreement. The Agreement requires the Swiss Life Entities to refrain from all future criminal conduct, enhance remedial measures, and continue to cooperate fully with further investigations into hidden insurance policies and related policy investment accounts. Further, as part of today’s resolution, the Swiss Life Entities agreed to pay approximately $77.3 million to the U.S. Treasury, which includes restitution, forfeiture of all gross fees, and a penalty component. If the Swiss Life Entities abide by all of the terms of the Agreement, the government will defer prosecution on the information for three years and then seek to dismiss the charge.

“Swiss Life today is held responsible for creating and marketing specially designed insurance products to U.S. tax evaders seeking a new way to hide their offshore assets, in light of heightened Justice Department and IRS tax enforcement efforts,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “Financial enablers here and abroad – and the taxpayers seeking their services – should know that we will continue to identify and unmask such schemes.”

“As they admit, Swiss Life and its subsidiaries sought out and offered their services to U.S. taxpayers to help them become U.S. tax evaders,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “The Swiss Life Entities offered private placement life insurance policies and related investment accounts to U.S. customers, and provided services that concealed the policies and other assets from the IRS. Indeed, the Swiss Life Entities saw U.S. authorities’ stepped-up offshore tax enforcement as an opportunity to pitch themselves to tax-evading U.S. customers as an alternative to Swiss banks. Under the terms of today’s agreement, Swiss Life will turn over more than $77 million and be required to continue to cooperate with the United States in identifying U.S. tax evaders.”

“The successful resolution of this investigation is an important victory for the American taxpayer for two primary reasons,” said Chief James C. Lee of the IRS Criminal Investigation. “First, the recovery of more $77 million owed to the U.S. government sends an unequivocal message that offshore evasion is still a high priority of IRS Criminal Investigation. Secondly, this agreement further requires Swiss Life Entities to continue to cooperate with the government and does not shield them from future civil or criminal sanctions, which should put every entity engaged in offshore evasion on notice.”

According to documents filed today in Manhattan federal court:

Swiss Life Holding is the ultimate parent company of the Swiss Life group of companies (Swiss Life), a Switzerland-based provider of comprehensive life insurance and pension products for individuals and corporations, as well as asset management and financial planning services. From 2005 to 2014, Swiss Life through affiliated insurance carriers in Liechtenstein (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Luxembourg (Swiss Life Luxembourg), and Singapore (Swiss Life Singapore), (collectively, the PPLI Carriers) maintained approximately 1,608 Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) policies. The PPLI Carriers’ issuance and administration of those policies (colloquially known as “insurance wrappers”) and the related investment accounts were often done in a manner to assist U.S. taxpayers in evading U.S. taxes and reporting requirements and concealing the ownership of offshore assets.

Moreover, beginning as early as the summer of 2008, the PPLI Carriers were aware that UBS and other Swiss banks were terminating or reevaluating their business relationships with U.S. clients in response to increasing offshore tax enforcement efforts by U.S. authorities. Certain management and sales personnel within the Swiss Life PPLI Business Unit viewed these developments as a business opportunity to expand the PPLI Business by onboarding U.S. clients who were fleeing UBS and other Swiss banks. Such clients with undeclared assets were typically referred within Swiss Life as “non-comprehensive advice seeking,” which was frequently abbreviated to “NCAS.” Because Swiss Life would be identified as the owner of the policy investment accounts, rather than the U.S. policyholder and/or ultimate beneficial owner of the assets, the insurance wrapper policies could be and were used by unscrupulous U.S. taxpayers to hide undeclared assets and income and to evade taxes. In turn, Swiss Life grew its PPLI business and earned fees on those policies. Members of management of the PPLI Business Unit knew about and authorized the onboarding of U.S. clients without regard to whether they were declared or undeclared.

Swiss Life engaged in other misconduct with respect to U.S.-related policies:

  • U.S.-related PPLI Policies were funded or terminated through asset transfers from/to an account maintained by a third party associated with the policyholder, such as an offshore law firm or intermediary.
  • Swiss Life PPLI personnel assisted U.S. taxpayers in establishing and maintaining Swiss Life PPLI policies in the name of a foreign relative with the effect of obscuring the U.S. nexus of the assets used to fund the policy or to repatriate the U.S. taxpayer’s undeclared assets through a sham death payout.
  • Certain U.S.-related PPLI Policies issued by Swiss Life Liechtenstein involved transfers of physical gold, other precious metals, or precious gemstones into or out of the policy investment account, presumably for the purpose of avoiding detection by U.S. authorities.
  • The PPLI Carriers allowed policyholders to designate an authorized recipient – typically the policyholder’s asset manager or other foreign representative – to receive policy documents and custodian investment account statements, rather than having those documents sent directly to the policyholder.
  • Certain Swiss Life Liechtenstein personnel promoted the use of Swiss Life products to turn U.S. taxpayers’ undeclared or so-called “black” money into so-called “white” money by parking the funds in a Swiss Life insurance policy until the clock had run on the perceived statute of limitations for tax offenses.
  • Corporate premium bank accounts were also misused as a transitory account to help conceal the movement of U.S. clients’ funds.

Under today’s resolution, the Swiss Life Entities are required to continue to cooperate fully with ongoing investigations and affirmatively disclose any information they may later uncover regarding U.S.-related insurance policies and related policy investment accounts. The Swiss Life Entities are also required to disclose information consistent with the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program relating to accounts closed between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2019. The Agreement provides no protection from criminal or civil prosecution for any individuals.   

Swiss Life Holding will pay a total of $77,374,337, which has three parts. First, Swiss Life Holding has agreed to pay $16,345,454 in restitution to the IRS, which represents the approximate unpaid taxes resulting from the Swiss Life Entities’ participation in the conspiracy. Second, Swiss Life Holding has agreed to forfeit $35,782,375 to the United States, which represents the approximate gross fees (not profits) that the Swiss Life Entities earned on the penalized insurance policies and related policy investment accounts between 2002 and 2014. Finally, Swiss Life Holding has agreed to pay a penalty of $25,246,508.

The penalty amount takes into consideration that Swiss Life conducted a robust internal investigation, supplied client-related data, facilitated the acquisition by the Justice Department of information relating to custodian banks, asset managers, and other entities and individuals related to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Singapore, and otherwise meaningfully assisted the department’s cross-border tax enforcement efforts. In addition, Swiss Life conducted extensive outreach to current and former U.S. clients to confirm historical tax compliance, and to encourage disclosure to the IRS when policyholders’ historical tax compliance issues had not yet been resolved. Swiss Life further implemented remedial measures to protect against the use of its services for tax evasion in the future.

The IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating this case.

This prosecution is being handled by the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Senior Litigation Counsel Nanette Davis and Trial Attorney Jack Morgan of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Folly and Olga I. Zverovich of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are in charge of the prosecution.    

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.15: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#doj, #insurance, #manhattan, #switzerland

(WASHINGTON) Press Release Report: First Joint Committee Meeting Under the Bilateral Agreement Between the United States of America and the United Kingdom on Prudential Measures Regarding Insurance and Reinsurance #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.30: On March 25, 2021, the United States and the United Kingdom held the first meeting of the Joint Committee established under the U.S.-UK Agreement on Prudential Measures Regarding Insurance and Reinsurance (“the Agreement” hereafter). The United States and the United Kingdom signed the Agreement on December 18, 2018, and the Agreement entered into force on December 31, 2020:

Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 30, 2021: Contact: Alexandra LaManna; Press@Treasury.gov

The Agreement—which is a ‘covered agreement’ as defined by the Dodd-Frank Act for the United States—addresses three areas of prudential insurance oversight: (1) reinsurance, (2) group supervision, and (3) the exchange of insurance information between supervisors.

The Joint Committee meeting was conducted by video conference and attended by representatives from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Her Majesty’s Treasury, and the Prudential Regulatory Authority of the United Kingdom, as well as by U.S. state insurance commissioners and the Federal Reserve Board. 

During this first Joint Committee meeting under the Agreement, participants on both sides discussed progress made toward timely implementation of the Agreement, including the removal of collateral and local presence requirements for reinsurers and the provisions on group supervision measures. In addition, the United States and the United Kingdom affirmed their commitment to the Agreement and to close coordination between the two sides as implementation continues. Consistent with the Agreement, both sides are continuing to encourage relevant authorities to refrain from taking any measures that are inconsistent with any provisions of the Agreement.

#AceNewsDesk report ……..Published: Mar.30: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#agreement, #bilateral, #insurance, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #washington

USA: ‘ MERCURY INSURANCE FINED $27 MILLION FOR OVER CHARGING FEES TO CONSUMERS FOR A POLICY ‘

#AceNewsServices – Featured Report:Update: USA:Feb.03: According to a report by Consumer Watchdog they have just learned that Mercury Insurance has been fined a record $27 million after our nearly decade-long battle with Mercury in an administrative court. 

mercury insurance flyer

mercury insurance flyer

This is the largest fine for an auto and home insurance company in the state, and it reflects the persistence that makes Consumer Watchdog so critical to corporate accountability in California.

The recalcitrant insurance company and its CEO fought us at every turn. In the end, Mercury will pay the state for violating Proposition 103 and creating a sham “broker” system. Mercury charged unapproved agent fees, called “broker” fees, to California consumers, who were overcharged an illegal $100 to $150 fee in order to get a policy. “Mercury Insurance is infamous for playing every angle in its effort to avoid accountability for cheating its customers, and this decision marks a victory for both consumers and California,” Pam said today.

The litigation team had another victory as well:

Friday, a Sacramento judge tentatively upheld Proposition 103 regulations and ruled that Mercury Insurance could not raise homeowners’ rates to pay for institutional advertising, such as its tennis tournament, the Mercury Open. 

#ANS2015

#accountability, #fined, #insurance

WASHINGTON: ‘ HIGH STAKES FIGHT OVER POST-9/11 TERRORISM INSURANCE PROGRAM ‘

#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON: Dec.09 – A high-stakes fight over a post-9/11 terrorism insurance program is holding up a $1 trillion spending bill, just two days before funding for the federal government dries up The Hill reported. 

House GOP leaders on Tuesday were close to unveiling their massive omnibus package, and aides in both parties have repeatedly said there is no risk of missing Thursday’s funding deadline.

But a dispute between two Capitol Hill heavyweights over how to renew the terrorism bill is bogging down the process, pushing Washington perilously close to the second government shut-down in as many years. 

ANS2014 

#deadline, #funding, #insurance

CONGRESS: ‘ OBAMACARE FOR LOW TO MODERATE INCOMES VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION ‘

#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – Dec.01 – In mounting the latest court challenge to the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans are focusing on a little-noticed provision of the law that offers financial assistance to low- and moderate-income people The New York Times reported.  

Under this part of the law, insurance companies must reduce co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for some people in health plans purchased through the new public insurance exchanges.

The federal government reimburses insurers for the “cost-sharing reductions.”

In their lawsuit, House Republicans say the Obama administration needed, but never received, an appropriation to make these payments to insurance companies.

As a result, they contend, the spending violates the Constitution, which says, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

#ANS2014 

#healthcare, #insurance, #law, #plans

‘ Senate Vote 93-4 To Extend Terrorism Insurance Program ‘

#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – July 17 – The Senate voted 93-4 Thursday to extend a terrorism insurance program that business groups say provides a critical backstop in the event of a catastrophic attack.

The bill would extend the program, which was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, for seven years.

By Ramsey Cox @ The Hill 

#ANS2014 

#insurance, #new-york, #senate, #sept, #september-11-attacks, #terrorism-insurance, #terrorism-risk-insurance-act, #thursday

#AceWorldNews MOSCOW March 24 TASS Mandatory health insurance…

#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – March 24. TASS Mandatory health insurance system in Crimea to bу fully implemented by January 1, 2015, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

#ANS2014

Mandatory health insurance system in Crimea to bу fully implemented by January 1, 2015, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

#crimea, #dmitry-medvedev, #health, #insurance, #prime-minister, #russian

`Obamacare Pro’s and Con’s of Enrolment by 31 March 2014 or risk paying a fine ‘

#AceHealthcareNews says according to WASHINGTON (AP) that everyone is sick of hearing about the health care law?
With plenty of people have tuned out after all the political jabber and website woes.

But now is the time to tune back in, before it’s too late, as we are being told that the big deadline is coming March 31.

By that day, for the first time, nearly everyone in the United States is required to be signed up for health insurance or risk paying a fine.

Healthcare.govHere’s what you need to know about this month’s open enrolment countdown:

ALREADY COVERED? NO WORRIES

Most people don’t need to do anything. Even before the health care law passed in 2010, more than 8 out of 10 U.S. residents had coverage, usually through their workplace plans or the government’s Medicare or Medicaid programs. Some have private policies that meet the law’s requirements.

If you’re already covered that way, you meet the law’s requirements.

Since October, about 4 million people have signed up for private plans through the new state and federal marketplaces, the Obama administration says, although it’s not clear how many were already insured elsewhere. In addition, many poor adults now have Medicaid coverage for the first time through expansions of the program in about half the states.

President Barack Obama is urging people who have coverage to help any uninsured friends and relatives get signed up.

NEED COVERAGE? IT’S CRUNCH TIME

Chances are you’ll hear more reminders about health care this month. The push is on to reach millions of uninsured people.

The administration, insurers, medical associations and non-profit groups are teaming up with volunteers to get the word out and guide people through the sometimes-rocky enrollment process. They plan special events at colleges, libraries, churches and work sites.

Singing cats, dogs, parrots — even a goldfish — are promoting the message in TV and online spots from the Ad Council.

A big hurdle for the effort: As recently as last month, three-fourths of the uninsured didn’t know there was a March 31 deadline, according to polling conducted for the Kaiser Family Foundation. Most said they didn’t know much about the law and had an unfavourable opinion of it.

Plus, many worry they won’t be able to afford the new plans.

The enrolment campaign is emphasizing that subsidies are available on a sliding scale to help low-income and middle-class households pay for their insurance.

How to enrol? Start at HealthCare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596. Residents of states running their own marketplaces will be directed there; people in other states go through the federal exchange.

After March 31, many people won’t be able to get subsidized coverage this year, even if they become seriously ill.

The next open enrolment period is set to begin Nov. 15, for coverage in 2015.

DEADLINE DETAILS

There are exceptions. The big one is the Medicaid program for the poor.

People who meet the requirements can sign up any time, with no deadline.

Also, people remain eligible for Medicare when they turn 65.

If you are insured now and lose your coverage during the year, by getting laid off from your job, for example, you can use an exchange to find a new policy then. People can sign up outside the open enrolment period in special situations such as having a baby or moving to another state.

You can choose to buy insurance outside the marketplaces and still benefit from consumer protections in the law.

People who do that wouldn’t normally be eligible for premium subsidies. But the Obama administration says exceptions will be made for people whose attempts to buy marketplace insurance on time were stymied by continuing problems with some enrolment websites.

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WON’T GET COVERED

Some 12 million people could gain health coverage this year because of the law, if congressional auditors’ predictions don’t prove overly optimistic.

Even so, tens of millions still would go without.

That’s partly because of immigrants in the country illegally; they aren’t eligible for marketplace policies.

Some of the uninsured will not find out about the program in time, will find it confusing or too costly, or will just procrastinate too long. Some feel confident of their health and prefer to risk going uninsured instead of paying premiums. Others are philosophically opposed to participating.

Figuring out just how many of the uninsured got coverage this year won’t be easy because the numbers are fuzzy.

The administration’s enrolment count includes people who already were insured and used the exchanges to find a better deal, or switched from private insurance to Medicaid, or already qualified for Medicaid before the changes.

Some who sign up will end up uninsured anyway, if they fail to pay their premiums.

The budget experts predict enrolment will grow in future years and by 2017 some 92 percent of legal residents too young for Medicare will have insurance.

But even then, about 30 million people in the United States would go uncovered.

SOME ARE LEFT OUT

A gap in the law means some low-income workers can’t get help.

The insurance marketplaces weren’t designed to serve people whose low incomes qualify them for expanded Medicaid instead. But some states have declined to expand their Medicaid programs. That means that in those states, many poor people will get left out.

People who fall into the gap won’t be penalized for failing to get covered.

Some others are exempt from the insurance mandate, too: American Indians, those with religious objections, prisoners, immigrants in the country illegally, and people considered too poor to buy coverage even with financial assistance.

THE IRS IS WATCHING YOU

The law says people who aren’t covered in 2014 are liable for a fine. That amounts to $95 per uninsured person or approximately 1 percent of income, whichever is higher. The penalty goes up in later years.

A year from now, the Internal Revenue Service will be asking taxpayers filing their forms for proof of insurance coverage. Insurance companies are supposed to provide that documentation to their customers.

If you owe a penalty for being uninsured, the IRS can withhold it from your refund.

The agency can’t put people in jail or garnishee wages to get the money. But it can withhold the penalty from a future year’s tax refund.

Courtesy of: #ConnieCass

#AHN2014

 

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#acehealthcarenews, #acehealthnews, #ahn2014, #barack-obama, #health-insurance, #insurance, #internal-revenue-service, #kaiser-family-foundation, #medicaid, #medicare, #united-states

UK: ” Government `Care and Support’ Comes at a Cost to the `Taxpayer’ Namely Supporting Insurance Providers `Better Known’ as Private Healthcare”

#AceNewsServices says “UK Governments” way of helping people is making sure they protect their interests by looking after business first and our elderly last.

News Story:

Care needs: financial services industry to develop products to help people plan

Government and Association of British Insurers (ABI) have committed to working together to help people plan for their future care costs.

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Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, and the Director General of the ABI, Otto Thoresen, have signed a joint ‘statement of intent’ committing to work together to:

  • help people get the information they need to plan and make decisions about how to pay for their long-term care
  • create the right conditions for a larger market of financial products that will give people more choice

Norman Lamb said:

The current care and support system doesn’t work and is hugely unfair. People face losing almost everything they’ve worked hard for or being forced to sell their family home in a time of crisis to pay for the care they need.

Our reforms will not only stop this from happening but will provide the financial services industry with the certainty it needs to develop products that can help people plan for the future. I welcome this commitment from the industry and am excited to see how this new market could transform the way we pay for our care.

Otto Thoresen said:

The insurance industry can play an important role in developing solutions to help people fund their long-term care needs. We have supported the introduction of a new care funding model, and believe the Care Bill provides a sustainable framework for both industry and consumers.

The statement of intent sets out our commitment to working with the government to create the conditions for the development of an insurance market that offers a range of products to help people meet their long-term care needs.

A number of companies have stated a commitment to developing this financial market and have indicated the sorts of products that could emerge. These include Aegon, Aviva, Legal & General and Swiss Re.

Aviva said:

We stand behind the statement of intent as a great summary of how government and the industry can work together in the best interests of consumers. We are committed to the long-term care market and making sure people of an older age have the peace of mind that being adequately planned and prepared for older age brings.

Legal & General said:

Legal & General is committed to helping government by developing workable financial products to help individuals finance long-term care. Likely solutions will involve a mix of products reflecting different individual and family circumstances.

The government is introducing the biggest reforms to the way care people pay for their care in more than 60 years. These reforms will include a cap on the cost of care to protect people from unlimited bills. They will also give people the option of deferring payments so they aren’t forced to sell their homes to pay for the care they need.

These reforms aim to provide greater certainty about what people will be expected to pay and therefore provide greater opportunity for a new market of care products to emerge. In March 2013 the government asked the financial services industry to lead a review of the market, to identify opportunities for new products and barriers to them being realised.

The findings of this industry-led review have now been published, which marks the first step towards giving people greater choice about how they can meet the costs of their care. Swiss Re said:

Swiss Re feels that the issue of social care is important to the UK community and we are pleased to have been actively involved in the review which led up to the statement. The review identified a number of areas where more work is needed to give people access to appropriate information and advice and more choice about how they meet their care costs.

Aegon said:

The growth of platform solutions makes it easier for individuals to look at all of their assets together on a consolidated basis – pensions, other savings and even housing equity. This will allow people to make the best use in later life of the savings and assets they’ve worked hard to build up.

Read the companies’ full statements on the DH media centre’s news feed.

This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may contain sensitive or protectively marked material up to RESTRICTED and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

 

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#acenewsservices, #aegon, #aegon-uk, #association-of-british-insurers, #care, #financial-services, #government, #insurance, #legal-general, #long-term-care, #norman-lamb, #support, #tax-payers, #uk

Jason Linkins – As Unemployment Insurance Debate Heats Up, Dems Accused Of Using Unemployed As ‘Distraction’

#AceNewsServices

Jason Linkins wrote a new post As Unemployment Insurance Debate Heats Up, Dems Accused Of Using Unemployed As ‘Distraction’

photo
Jason Linkins 01/06/14

This past weekend, your Sunday morning news shows finally and at long last took notice of the fact that 1.3 million Americans, unemployed for the long-term, were poised to lose their unemployment…

#AceNewServices #JasonLinkins #Unemployment #Insurance #Dems

This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may contain sensitive or protectively marked material up to RESTRICTED and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy or use it, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error please notify the sender immediately.

#acenewsservices, #debate

“Affordable Healthcare What Affordable Healthcare – I Am Still Not As Healthy”

#AceGuestNews says this was provided by a guest and colleague who sends items to us on a regular basis, and asks should we like to feature the post. So we are pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor.

Affordable Healthcare … Hi! I’m from the Government to Help You

Better than Paper – The healthcare industry has made tremendous strides in patient care and records management by riding themselves of paper records and doing more and more on-line and on device. The increased use of technology has helped control quality and cost, except when it comes to reporting patient services/care to the government.

I haven’t bothered to sit down and read the American affordable healthcare act that was passed a year ago, so that makes me about as qualified to talk about it as anyone in Congress (either side).

But in doing a little research, I have come to realize that:

–        The American healthcare system just is not working for most folks

–        The idea that you sign up or else (something like that) sort of bothers me

–        Bureaucrats can’t develop a website to save their behinds

–        To believe they can ensure data security defies logic

Globally, around 54.5 million people die each year because of disease or preventable healthcare issues.

One in eight of these deaths occur in children under the age of five.

At the same time, our worldwide population is over 7 Billion and climbing.

Since people are not going simply disappear when they turn 30 (as they did in Logan’s Run), we’re going to have to address the healthcare issue with the same focus and determination that has produced today’s feature-rich technologies.

It can’t be that the countries of the world are not spending enough on health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, we’ll spend more than $6.5T this year. Despite that expenditure, healthcare isn’t available to everyone.

In fact, there are gross shortages of healthcare professionals in way too many countries.

Care Distribution – While industrialized countries have done a lot to ensure better healthcare and services are provided to citizens, there is still a very large part of the world’s population that does not have even the basic assistance.

While WHO indicates the U.S. has sufficient services available, they also noted:

–        The government spends more than any other country – $8362/person per year

–        That works out to about $948 per person per year

–        The WHO’s highly contested 2000 health report put the U.S. healthcare system in 15th in overall performance

–        The US was 37th in overall ranking

WHO did not bother ranking countries in their 2010 report but … the Commonwealth Fund ranked seven developed countries on their health care performance and surprise … the U.S. was dead last.

The U.S. may be last, but they are investing in healthcare.

According to McKinley, seven percent of the average household income goes for healthcare and another 11 percent for personal insurance and pensions (if you live that long). That expenditure is expected to be 13.6 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) this year; and by 2020, it is expected to be 19.8 percent of GDP.

All of those U.S. healthcare payments come from:

–        32 percent private health insurance

–        20 percent Medicare

–        15 percent Medicaid

–        13 percent other government funds

–        12 percent out of the consumer’s pocket

–        8  percent from private funds

It just does not look like Americans are getting the same ROI as people in other countries.

Room for Improvement – Even though the U.S. government, citizens and companies spend more on healthcare that others on the planet, citizens still have a lower average life expectancy than people in many other countries.

Americans have a lower life expectancy as well as higher rates of infant mortality, low weight birth, injuries and homicides, adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, drug-related deaths, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and disability than people in other industrialized countries.

Throwing more money at the problem is not working.

 It’s easy to see why Senator Ted Kennedy championed healthcare reform right up until he died, and Hillary Clinton (among others) pushed really hard for it.

 The U.S. Affordable Healthcare Program got off to a rocky start…it sucked!

 We spent $630 Million in technology to get the federal health insurance website open for business. Right after it was unveiled, someone figured they’d use it and … BAM!!!

 Did not anyone run the numbers and notice that there are $300 Million plus people in the U.S. who might sign up or at least be a little curious?

 Rotten Take-Off – The federal government said the healthcare web site was open for business and ready to fly, but it crashed within hours of being made available. Even a duck knows you try a few test flights, including take-offs/landings, before you show folks how good you are.

Instead of a showcase for Verizon’s data centers and the site developer, it’s an embarrassment … it crashed right out of the gate.

Amazon, Google, Oracle, Microsoft and other folks have jumped in to bail out CGI, “the important part of the team,” and straighten things out.

These folks don’t work for the government; they work for a living and understand the importance of availability, fast response/page refresh, customer satisfaction.

Hey, I am not an IT guy but after 20-plus years, I know IT is complex, was never meant to be commercialized like it is and that the Internet was not developed to handle the media and workload it does.

It’s so complex. With constantly changing with each browser, each device, system/tablet/smart phone, it’s a wonder that websites and the Internet work at all!

That’s why the companies listed earlier let people test it, try to break it, find the bugs … there are thousands of folks who just love doin’ that sorta’ thing.

If the federal folks had done some testing, they might have figured out, “Hey, this pig isn’t ready to be put on display.”

Big, Ugly – It didn’t take long for people to find out that the government’s healthcare services site was a bloated pig with a lot of serious issues. Not a great way to start a new, better program.

 Millions of people tried, but early reports said only 100 – 250 struggled through the early process.

Even though they worked for the government or were trained government contractors, they should have figured out it had been thrown together, had not been thoroughly tested and was not ready for prime-time.

All they had to do was have the Cajone’s to go to the boss and say, “we’re going to have to have a few more weeks before we’re ready for business.”

 The boss would have been ticked and the opposition would have something to crow about for a little while, but that’s better than showing the world you’re incompetent.

 All they have done is insulted the intelligence of the people they’re trying to win over.

Trust is hard to win back–especially when you’re asking people to give you all of their personal and vital information.

Heck, we all know government spies, hackers, whacker’s and cyberspie’s are rubbing their hands together just waiting to start mining the site.

 Inside, Outside – Most IT people will tell you that their major security problems arise from inside the organization, not from outsiders attempting to penetrate the organization. Most of the time, the security breaches aren’t malicious, it’s just easier if you bypass the security hurdles. But then, there are bad folks on the inside as well … sometimes.

 As the recent Snowdon “excitement” has proven, government agencies can’t even handle their own internal security.

 With all the stuff Snowdon “releases” the dude had to be taking 8-10 6 TB HD’s home every night!

 And that was all about grabbing information from … well everyone.

 The idea that suddenly one government department is going to keep a citizen’s information safe and secure from others is a real leap of faith.

 We all know that bugs, crashes, delays and hacks are a fact of life in the industry. But if you’re trying to convince folks the site is good for their health and well being, putting up a garbage site as a finished product just doesn’t resonate.

Poor Norm – The U.S. Affordable Care Act was designed – and heavily promoted– to Americans to reduce fee-for-service provider payment updates and lower payments to private plans. The way the website registration has gotten off the ground, you may wonder.

 It would not have taken much to dodge the bullet … label it BETA and you’d attract techie’s like flies who love telling you where you mucked up!

 True to governmental protocol though, they opened a finished site and then were selective in the “facts.”

 They tried to make you believe the site was pretty good, even though there were/are “a few problems.”

–        HHS (Health and Human Services) said 15 million site visits proved it was popular

–        Pew Research said 70 percent of the visitors have insurance  and were curious.

–        Pew Research reported that 46 percent said that the online exchanges weren’t working well

–        65 percent of the uninsured were going to get regardless of the law

The biggest issue with the site’s failure is that it makes people question the credibility, viability of the entire program and the competence of the people in charge.

Anyone who turns on a device and surfs the web knows the stuff should work perfectly – the first time, every time.

You also know that is not going to happen.

Just don’t lie to us … it makes us mad.

 

#aceguestviews, #affordable-healthcare, #american, #commonwealth-fund, #congress, #government, #health-care-in-the-united-states, #health-care-reform, #health-insurance, #insurance, #life-expectancy, #patient-protection-and-affordable-care-act, #united-states, #united-states-congress, #world-health-organization

Public Healthcare Registers Bumpy Launch of Healthcare Exchange’s

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Courtesy of: The: Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press

A few weeks after the launch of the state-level on–line health insurance exchanges that are a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, the public’s impression is that it has been a bumpy Bumpy Launch for Health Insurance Exchangeslaunch. About three-in-ten Americans (29%) say the on-line health insurance exchanges are working very or fairly well while 46% say they are not.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults, finds that awareness of the exchanges has increased significantly over the past month. In early September, barely half (51%) knew that exchanges were going to be available in their state; that has risen to nearly two-thirds (65%) today.

One-in-Seven Have Visited Health Care ExchangesNationwide, 14% of adults report having visited an exchange, and another 23% say they intend to. These figures are higher among the 18% who say they currently do not have health insurance: 22% of uninsured Americans have already visited a site, and another 42% say they intend to do so.

So Far, Most Exchange Site Users Just Learning About ExchangesSo far, most of the visitors to the exchange websites are people who have insurance: 41% of exchange visitors have employer-provided insurance, and another 15% are covered by Medicare, Medicaid or another government program. Some 10% of exchange visitors are self-insured, and 29% of visitors are uninsured. Most (58%) who have visited the sites say they went just to learn more about the exchanges, while 32% say they were looking for health care options for themselves or their families.

Despite offering critical evaluations of how well the exchanges are working, many of the sites’ actual visitors report that they did not face significant problems. Among those who have visited an exchange website, more say the exchanges overall are not working well by a 56%-37% margin. Yet when asked about their own experience on an exchange website, a 56% majority say they personally found the site to be very or fairly easy to use, while 40% say it was difficult to use.

More at: http://www.people-press.org/2013/10/21/public-registers-bumpy-launch-of-health-care-exchange-websites/

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