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BUSINESS
September 25, 2011 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
If you're a Pennsylvania resident with Allstate Property & Casualty homeowners insurance, you may face an unpleasant surprise this fall: a sizable boost in your insurance premium. You can just suck it up - as Allstate undoubtedly expects most policyholders to do - or you can use it as a goad to do something you may find nearly as unpleasant: shop around for alternatives. It shouldn't have to be, as I'll explain. But first, a look at what's happening with Allstate. Citing what a spokeswoman calls "an unprecedented year with weather in Pennsylvania," Allstate has asked state officials to approve a plan that would raise premiums an average of 20 percent for the company's 195,000 policyholders - more than twice as steep an increase as sought by any other large insurer during the last six months, according to filings published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2011 | By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Turning a usually routine announcement into a pointed rebuttal of its GOP critics, the Obama administration said Thursday that premiums for popular Medicare Advantage insurance plans would drop for 2012, while enrollment is expected to rise. That's welcome news for President Obama and Democrats, who are struggling with older voters ahead of a hard-fought election looming next year. Republicans have accused Obama of undermining Medicare to finance his health-care overhaul.
BUSINESS
August 5, 2011 | By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration had good news for seniors Thursday: The average monthly premium for Medicare's popular prescription program won't go up next year. Many seniors may even see a dip in their costs, particularly if they shop during open-enrollment season this fall. Officials credited growing use of generic medicines and competition within the program, which is delivered through private insurance companies. Medicare also expects to share in a coming bonanza as a number of top-selling brand-name drugs get generic competition in the next year or so. The Health and Human Services Department projects the average premium for 2012 will be about $30 a month, hardly changed from $30.76 this year.
NEWS
April 19, 2011 | By Beth DeFalco, Associated Press
TRENTON - Gov. Christie has long called for state workers to pay more for their health care, and now is proposing a phased-in plan over three years that would require employees to pay about a third of those costs by mid-2014. The Christie administration Monday laid out more details of the Republican governor's proposal. Under it, current workers would pay 10 percent of their health-care premiums beginning in July; 17 percent in January; 23 percent in January 2013; and 30 percent by July 2014.
SPORTS
April 16, 2011 | By Lou Rabito, Inquirer Staff Writer
Ben Davis, the former Malvern Prep star whose pro baseball career spanned 16 years in the major and minor leagues, and 60 feet, 6 inches of turf and dirt, has retired. The strong-armed catcher was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the second overall pick in 1995, and he played with three major-league teams from 1998 to 2004, batting .237 in 486 games. He was with eight minor-league clubs after that. Davis' hitting woes continued in the minors, and he converted into a pitcher after Baltimore cut him in 2008.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Something was out of sorts with "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the gala opening of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts on Thursday. Odd, foreign notes played like unwanted grit amid the inner working of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Harmonies imposed themselves not from the bottom up but from the top down. A musical flu bug? In fact, this was the Igor Stravinsky version - appropriate, since he's one of the festival focal points - that supposedly upset a 1944 Boston audience so much that the composer was arrested (In truth, he was only warned.)
NEWS
April 3, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
With its vast array of 145 events, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts has one admission requirement for nearly everyone on and off stage: faith that highly touted collaborations - many of which are unprecedented, some of which weren't likely to happen under any other circumstances - will live up to the festival's exterior glitz. Even those intimately involved with some of these high-profile joint efforts of the festival, which begins Thursday night and runs through May 1, can't predict what will happen, if only because the individual pieces often will be assembled quickly before the first performance.
NEWS
September 1, 2010 | By Elizabeth Wellington, Inquirer Fashion Writer
A lot has happened in the 12 years since Sebastian McCall opened Charlie's Jeans in Old City. Cuffed boyfriends have replaced the boot-cut, while skinnies have morphed into the wildly popular jeggings. Darker indigos eclipsed whisker washes, rises have inched back up, and trouser cuts are the latest in tailored britches nirvana. And then there are the labels: Sevens, Citizens, AG's, Rich & Skinnies, Cookies. The list is endless. But whatever the style, shade, or signature, fit rules - and a good one remains super-hard to come by. Hence McCall's latest endeavor, his own line of specialty denim aptly named Sebastian McCall.
NEWS
June 3, 2010 | By Harold Brubaker, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A ruling by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board on Wednesday will boost annual payments to struggling Pennsylvania dairy farmers by an estimated $6.7 million, according to Gov. Rendell. "As one of the few states with the ability to affect pricing, Pennsylvania is taking decisive action to help its dairy producers," Rendell said Thursday. The projected payments are small in Pennsylvania's $1.5 billion industry, but given the industry's difficulties, "any revenue that's out there that can be returned to the farmer is positive, no matter how small," said John Frey, executive director of the state's Center for Dairy Excellence.
NEWS
March 14, 2010
Health-insurance companies are spending $1 million on ads to explain to Americans why their premiums keep going up and up. But the fact that they have a big stash of cash on hand to pay for the expensive ads answers the question. With so much profit sloshing around, the insurance industry can dig into its treasure chest at any time. And it's doing just that to respond to President Obama's recent criticism of the largely unjustified climb in the cost of health insurance. The insurers' ad campaign coincides with the White House's final push toward a vote in Congress on health reforms that would expand access to care and at least moderate the expected doubling of insurance premiums over the next decade.
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