After weeks of negotiations, California said it has selected 13 health plans for a new state-run insurance marketplace where as many as 5 million people will shop for coverage next year.
Officials at Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, said Thursday that the winning bidders reflected a mix of large commercial insurers and smaller regional plans.
The state also released some sample rates, illustrating how premiums will vary across health plans in this new market.
In a southern Los Angeles County region, for instance, rates for a 40-year-old person purchasing a "Silver" plan ranged from $242 a month for Health Net Inc. to $325 per month for Kaiser Permanente. Blue Shield would charge $287 a month.
Each company must now file detailed rate filings with state regulators, and these proposed premiums are still subject to that review in the coming weeks.
SEVERAL LARGE INSURANCE COMPANIES OPTED OUT...
Some prominent health insurers, including industry giant UnitedHealth Group Inc., are not participating in California's new state-run health insurance market, possibly limiting the number of choices for millions of consumers.
UnitedHealth, the nation's largest private insurer, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. are sitting out the first year of Covered California, the state's insurance exchange and a key testing ground nationally for a massive coverage expansion under the federal healthcare law.
Meanwhile, the biggest insurers in the state — Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California — are all expected to participate in the state-run market for individual health coverage.
An audit by the California state controller’s office reveals that the city of Bell is still reeling financially three years after it was discovered the working-class suburb’s municipal leaders had looted millions of dollars from its treasury.
State Controller John Chiang released the audit Wednesday.
He says it shows Bell’s general fund balance has a shortfall of more than $1 million. Bell also owes its residents more than $3 million in taxes and fees that were collected illegally.
Chiang praises the city's new leaders, but he says if these and other financial woes aren’t addressed the city faces a “fiscal crisis.”
A Senate panel on Tuesday approved legislation to give millions of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, setting up a spirited debate next month in the full Senate over the biggest changes in immigration policy in a generation.
President Barack Obama, who has made enactment of an immigration bill one of his top priorities for this year, praised the Senate Judiciary Committee's action, saying the bill was consistent with the goals he has expressed.
"I encourage the full Senate to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor at the earliest possible opportunity and remain hopeful that the amendment process will lead to further improvements," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
By a vote of 13-5, the Senate panel approved the bill that would put 11 million illegal residents on a 13-year path to citizenship while further strengthening security along the southwestern border with Mexico, long a sieve for illegal crossings into the United States.
A Florida man, believed to be an ethnic Chechen, was fatally shot Wednesday by an FBI agent who was questioning him about his ties to the Boston bombing suspects and about an unsolved 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Mass., a law enforcement official said.
Ibragim Todashev, 27, of Kissimmee, Fla., was killed in a condo in Orlando, near Universal Studios, while allegedly brandishing a knife, said the official who is not authorized to comment publicly on the matter.
Todashev is not believed to have been involved in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people. But the official said he was being questioned about his interactions with bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and about the 2011 killings.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement that the agent had acted on an "imminent threat" in killing Todashev, WKMG-TV reported.
Eric Garcetti has won the race to be the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles, becoming the first Jewish person elected as mayor in the city's history.
City Controller Wendy Greuel conceded defeat early Wednesday to Garcetti, a City Council member and former Council president, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Garcetti, 42, will succeed Antonio Villaraigosa, who was unable to run again because of term limits. Garcetti takes office July 1.
"Thank you Los Angeles — the hard work begins but I am honored to lead this city for the next four years," Garcetti tweeted shortly before 3 a.m. PT. "Let's make this a great city again."
Click on the link below to learn 5 important things about our new mayor.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky wants the board to consider tearing down part of the troubled Men's Central Jail and building a facility to house mentally ill and drug addicted inmates, which he says would offer all prisoners a better chance of rehabilitation while potentially saving the county millions of dollars.
Supervisors have been struggling over what to do with their aging and overcrowded jails for more than a year. Sheriff Lee Baca, who oversees the nation's largest jail system, initially called for spending nearly $1.4 billion to replace or renovate the Men's Central Jail and the adjacent Twin Towers, but the price tag was more than supervisors would accept.
Several supervisors recently expressed frustration over what they saw as a lack of progress in finding solutions and also complained that they were not getting timely and accurate information from county employees, including county Chief Executive William T Fujioka.
In addition to the high cost, Yaroslavsky opposed the earlier plans, saying they did not do enough to help rehabilitate prisoners.
Bucking longstanding patterns in the United States, more poor people now live in the nation's suburbs than in urban areas, according to a new analysis.
As poverty mounted throughout the nation over the past decade, the number of poor people living in suburbs surged 67% between 2000 and 2011 — a much bigger jump than in cities, researchers for the Brookings Institution said in a book published today. Suburbs still have a smaller percentage of their population living in poverty than cities do, but the sheer number of poor people scattered in the suburbs has jumped beyond that of cities.
Authors Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube cited a long list of reasons for the shift.
More poor people moved to the suburbs, pulled by more affordable homes or pushed by urban gentrification, the authors said. Some used the increased mobility of housing vouchers, which used to be restricted by area, to seek better schools and safer neighborhoods in suburbia. Still others, including immigrants, followed jobs as the booming suburbs demanded more workers, many for low-paying, service-sector jobs.
Firefighters from Los Angeles and Orange counties were being dispatched Monday night to help with rescue operations in Oklahoma, where a massive tornado left dozens dead and many others injured. The number of fatalities has been revised down to 24, including 9 children.
Two members of the Los Angeles Fire Department's command staff were being sent to work with federal officials as part of command team, the agency said in a statement.
A firefighter who is a licensed paramedic with the Orange County Fire Authority was also en route to Oklahoma as part of an incident support team, an agency spokesman said. The team includes includes firefighters from several California fire departments.
Fire officials said that more Southern California rescuers may be needed, depending on how the situation unfolds Tuesday.
"We've alerted everybody to prepare and be ready," Capt. Jon Muir of the Orange County Fire Authority told The Times. "This is what we train for."
Click on the photo above for more images from the tragedy.
Apple Inc. has used an elaborate web of offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes on $44 billion in foreign income over the past four years, a Senate investigation has found.
Many of the tactics, such as cost-sharing arrangements, are common among large multinational corporations seeking to shift profits to countries with lower tax rates. The investigation did not find Apple violated any laws.
But three of its subsidiaries in Ireland claim to have no responsibility to pay income taxes to any country, according to a 40-page, bipartisan report released Monday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
One of those subsidiaries, Apple Operations International, which has no employees but reported $30 billion in income from 2009-2012, has not filed an income tax return in any country for the past five years, the investigation found.