3 ways insurers can discourage sick from enrolling
Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul. But consumer advocates warn that companies are still using wiggle room to discourage the sickest — and costliest — patients from enrolling.
Some insurers are excluding well-known cancer centers from the list of providers they cover under a plan; requiring patients to make large, initial payments for HIV medications; or delaying participation in public insurance exchanges created by the overhaul.
Advocates and industry insiders say these practices may dissuade the neediest from signing up and make it likelier that the customers these insurers do serve will be healthier, and less expensive.
Video games come of age as spectator sport
NEW YORK (AP) — Video games have been a spectator sport since teenagers crowded around arcade machines to watch friends play "Pac-Man." And for decades, kids have gathered in living rooms to marvel at how others master games like "Street Fighter II" and "Super Mario Bros."
But today there's Twitch, the online network that attracts millions of visitors, most of whom watch live and recorded footage of other people playing video games —in much the same way that football fans tune in to ESPN.
Twitch's 55 million monthly users viewed over 15 billion minutes of content on the service in July, making Twitch.tv one of the world's biggest sources of Internet traffic. According to network services company Sandvine, Twitch generates more traffic in the U.S. than HBO Go, the streaming service that's home to popular shows such as "Game of Thrones" and "Girls."
10 things to know about corporate inversions
WASHINGTON (AP) — Burger King is drawing a lot of flak over plans to shift its legal address to a foreign country by merging with Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain.
The transaction is called a corporate inversion, a maneuver that is becoming popular among companies looking to lower their tax bills.
Burger King executives insist they are not trying to escape U.S. taxes. But some members of Congress aren't buying it, mainly because the corporate headquarters of the new parent company will be in Canada.
Cantwell targets small business loan gender gap
NEW YORK (AP) — Women still have a hard time getting small business loans. Sen. Maria Cantwell is determined to close the gap.
Cantwell, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, introduced legislation in July that would make it easier for women-owned companies to get loans and government contracts. The Washington state Democrat sees lending to small businesses as key to job creation because loans give companies the means to expand. But women owners in particular struggle to get loans from banks, and that is limiting their ability to hire.
Although women own nearly a third of businesses in the U.S., their companies receive only 4.4 percent of loan dollars, according to a report by the committee's Democratic members.
SEC adopts rules on loan-backed securities
WASHINGTON (AP) — Financial firms that sell securities backed by loans, like the kind that fueled the 2008 financial crisis, will have to give investors details on borrowers' credit record and income under action taken Wednesday by federal regulators.
The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted the rules for securities linked to mortgages and auto loans on a 5-0 vote.
The commissioners also imposed new conflict-of-interest rules on the agencies that rate the debt of companies, governments and issues of securities. That vote split 3-2 along party lines, with the two Republican commissioners opposing adoption of the rules.
US economy forecast to grow by 1.5 percent in 2014