Seeking cure for health hostagesWe encourage readers to write letters concerning New Jersey business issues. Please keep letters to fewer than 400 words. We reserve the right to edit letters and reproduce them at njbiz.com. Please sign your name and include a telephone number. List your town, or if you prefer, your title and companyÂs name. Send letters to [email protected].
Seeking cure for health hostages
I am a sole practitioner management consultant working out of my home for the last 19 years. Because I am my only employee, I had to buy an individual health care policy. Every year, the premium has been going up.
First of all, there are only two providers here in New Jersey who even take individual subscribers, so I am basically locked into taking their services. I have gone back and forth between the two, and neither one is good.
Since I turned 60 this year, my monthly premium went up $100 a month, even though I have no serious illnesses and have not even used my $1,000 deductible maximum. I am now paying $8,000 a year just for my own basic policy as my husband has been on Medicare for the last 11 years.
If our government wants to do something positive about health care for small businesses, it needs to take care of those who are sole employees and are held hostage with their health care options. What is the government Â state and federal Â going to do for us Âhealth care hostagesÂ?
Terry Kurzawa, president
Wellington Group Inc.
Foreign tax credits benefit business
Working in the import/export business, I see firsthand the many benefits of international trade and the growth of American companies in overseas markets. In an increasingly globalized world, it is essential that American companies have the ability to compete on a level playing field with rivals from other nations and tap the vast potential of international markets. Without this, our companies will not be able to expand and drive economic growth and job creation here in the United States.
I am disturbed, then, by reports that the federal government is considering eliminating three key tax provisions that worldwide American companies rely on to remain competitive abroad. Foreign tax credits, Âcheck-the-boxÂ and deferral are not, as their detractors claim, tax loopholes for big business. They are the current law, and todayÂs corporations are using them as intended.
Taking away these provisions will add $200 billion to the tax burden of these companies, crippling them in foreign markets. These companies are major players in our economy Â they contribute $2.5 trillion to the national economy, and directly or indirectly support tens of millions of jobs nationwide. In New Jersey, they contribute $240 billion to our economy and support more than 2 million jobs. Damaging them means damaging our entire economy.
In a time of economic insecurity, taking away these key engines of business growth is a bad idea. While I understand the desire to increase revenues to pay for important domestic programs, this is not the way to do it. I urge them to look for other sources that do not cripple business.
Pat Nake, president
Ruling helps insurance industry
New Jersey drivers have finally caught a break. A recent decision by New JerseyÂs Appellate Division has ruled in favor of the New Jersey Personal Injury Protection fee schedule, which was sitting in legal limbo for nearly two years after the Department of Banking and Insurance made it effective in late 2007. This decision will help keep insurance costs down for New Jersey drivers, and may even allow New Jersey to lose the title of having the highest auto insurance rates in the country.
New Jersey operates as a Âno-faultÂ PIP state, which means when people are injured in a car accident their auto insurance pays for their treatment for injuries regardless of who was at fault in the accident. When treatment is rendered, auto insurers are billed and must pay the medical providers for each treatment if it is deemed medically necessary and not subject to any other exclusion. This is where it gets tricky: If the treatment rendered is listed on a set ÂPIP fee schedule,Â the rates that must be paid by the auto insurer are not legally challengeable. However, if the treatment is not listed on the schedule, auto insurers are obligated to pay the Âusual, customary and reasonableÂ rates.
The ambiguity of what is considered Âusual, customary and reasonableÂ is the crux of why this decision is so important. Prior to this new schedule, less than 200 medical procedures were listed on this PIP fee schedule, which allowed certain questionable surgery centers and chiropractors to purposely over-bill for treatments not on the schedule and legally claim the rate was the Âusual, customary and reasonableÂ rate. Some of these providers were found to be billing auto insurers 100 times the customary rate in the region. And when auto insurers disputed these bills, the providers would have contingency fee attorneys to sue and raise the legal costs of the insurers while it was in suit.
Through the expanded fee schedule, which now contains more than 1,000 listed medical procedures, medical bills can be controlled because they will not be legally challengeable and the old standard of long, drawn out, expensive litigation over these certain abusive provider bills can finally come to an end.
The ruling finally puts auto insurers in a position to control costs and pass along savings to our policyholders. While some of the appellants have filed a petition to the New Jersey Supreme Court for another review of this legal issue, this decision, as it stands now, will remain one of the most meaningful decisions in New Jersey auto insurance history.
Eric Poe, chief operating officer
CURE Auto Insurance