Tag Archives: consumers

Consumers Invited to Take Control of Health Insurance Company

Colorado’s Health Insurance CO-OP Opens Board of Directors Applications

Denver, CO, May 20, 2014 — Colorado HealthOP, Colorado’s first statewide health insurance CO-OP, has initiated a significant shift in how insurance companies are run, introducing greater member control into an industry that historically has had very little. The CO-OP announced today it is now seeking applications for its board of directors, inviting nearly 14,000 of its new Colorado members to run for a seat. The board of directors is elected by CO-OP members, and at least 80 percent of the board will be comprised of CO-OP members by the end of 2015. Board members will have formal decision-making authority to initiate changes in the CO-OP that will benefit all CO-OP members.

“Because Colorado HealthOP is controlled by our members, and not by outside investors, the CO-OP will become what our members want and need it to be – health insurance that is focused on improving the health of our members and the health of the communities we serve,” said Julia Hutchins, chief executive officer of Colorado HealthOP.

In this trailblazing model of member governance, Colorado HealthOP’s board members will be responsible for ensuring that member interests are reflected in the CO-OP’s decisions and actions, with an ultimate goal of lowering costs and providing more efficient and valuable health coverage to Colorado HealthOP members. Specific responsibilities include strategic goal setting, providing input into budgeting and financial reporting, developing policies for CO-OP business operations and overseeing the CEO.

“This call for applications represents a revolutionary time in healthcare,” Hutchins said. “Across the country, health insurance CO-OPs are doing for health insurance what the cooperative model has done for agriculture, electricity and countless other industries; we are introducing greater consumer control, improving efficiency and bringing consumer-demanded change to the healthcare industry.”

Colorado HealthOP opened its board of directors application process on May 1, 2014. Members can submit applications until July 7, 2014. A Nominations and Outreach committee will review all applications and conduct two rounds of applicant interviews to develop a diverse slate of candidates that will be presented to Colorado HealthOP’s members in August. Members will have the opportunity to vote for their board representatives in September and October. The new 11-member board will be seated at the CO-OP’s annual meeting in October.

Colorado HealthOP’s founding board of directors, who will continue to oversee the CO-OP’s operations until the new board is seated, is comprised of a group of volunteer healthcare professionals, policymakers and advocates.

About Colorado HealthOP
Colorado HealthOP is Colorado’s first statewide nonprofit health insurance CO-OP. As a member-governed alternative to traditional health insurance, Colorado HealthOP and its members are committed to providing affordable, quality coverage to individuals and employers interested in making a difference in their own health, their employees’ health and the health of their community. The CO-OP aims to improve health outcomes by putting the responsibility for consumers’ care back into the hands of its members and providers. For more information about Colorado HealthOP, please visit www.COHealthOP.org or call 720.627.8900.

Anna Beaty
3225 East 2nd Avenue
Denver, CO 80206


Will Personal Debt Push Consumers Over the Fiscal Cliff?

7 Tips to Surviving Financial Uncertainty

Phoenix, AZ, December 08, 2012 – Consumers continue to face a lot of financial uncertainty. While the balance of power in Washington looks similar to how it appeared before the election, the big battle over the country’s growing debt load—$16 trillion and continuing to swell—is still raging.

How will the government avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff”—the $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect in 2013? And what does it all mean for consumers, especially those carrying heavy debt loads?

“Your best protection against the impending fiscal cliff is to begin eliminating debt now,” says financial literacy expert and founder of DebtFreeAcademy.com, Anthony Manganiello.

Since the looming fiscal cliff is expected to hit 90 percent of households by tacking on an average additional $3,500 in annual taxes, in addition to working now on becoming completely debt-free, Manganiello also offers the following advice on how families can avoid being pushed over the edge:

1. Know where you sit financially with your personal cash flow, NOT to be confused with a budget. Determine what smaller balances on debt you can pay off NOW, so you can free up monthly payments tied to those balances. You may need that cash flow in the not too distant future.

2. Focus on complete debt elimination. Concentrate all available funds towards eliminating as much debt—as quickly as possible—so your cash flow is in as good a shape as possible should the White House and Congress fail to take action.

3. Learn from the past. Look at your monthly cash flow and ask yourself, “What did I buy that resulted in all of these payments?” If you can’t answer that question with any degree of detail—meaning you’ve spent money on purchases you really didn’t need—let that reality sink in and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

4. Realize that you’re a wealth generator, but not necessarily a wealth accumulator. Think about the past five or 10 years: How much income did you bring home and what do you have to show for it? Then, project what you will likely earn over the next five to 10 years and focus on accumulating as much of that wealth as possible.

5. Add up all your debt payments (mortgage, cars, credit cards, all of it) and ask yourself: If I was completely debt-free and didn’t have to make these payments, how much better off would me and my family be?” Let that be your motivator.

6. Determine how much of your gross annual salary is earmarked for debt payments. Depending on your income tax bracket, ascertain how much of gross income you have to generate in order to bring home enough to make your annual debt payments. Many households have more than 50 percent of their gross annual income earmarked towards servicing debt.

7. Even if the fiscal cliff is avoided, what have you learned? While the administration may be able to curtail the fiscal cliff, and avoid going over the edge, what should this mean to you? If the impending cliff had you in panic mode, then you need to reconsider your plan.

It’s possible that—fiscal cliff or not—your greatest vulnerability is your personal debt load. If that’s the case, then you need to do everything you can to change that reality into achieving a financial position that has you as well prepared as possible in the event economic calamity strikes.

Anthony Manganiello is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur who has spent the last two decades in the research and development—including the investment of millions of dollars, and tens of thousands of interviews with consumers looking for help with their debt and credit problems. The end result was the creation of the Cash-Flow Analysis™, the Cash-Flow Dashboard™ the book, The Debt-FREE Millionaire: Winning Strategies to Creating Great Credit and Retiring Rich, and now the DebtFreeAcademy.com.

Anthony Manganiello
Debt Free Academy
450 Phoenix, AZ 80516

Market Rates Insight’s New Integrated Study Helps Financial Institutions Avoid Costly Mistakes on Service Fees

New Study on Service Fees for Banks and Credit Unions Reveals How to Balance Consumer Preferences with Price Sensitivity and Competitive Offerings.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. (April 24, 2012) – Consumers are demanding more value in exchange for service fees. Banks and credit unions need to reduce the risks associated with fee choices and balance those factors against the need for incremental income from services. In response, Market Rates Insight, Inc. (MRI, http://www.marketratesinsight.com), a leader in pricing intelligence for deposits, personal loans, mortgages, and fees, has created a unique research study designed to reduce risks and uncertainty and help financial services avoid a repeat of the failed debit-fee attempt, and to uncover value-added services consumers want and are willing to pay for.

Traditionally, decisions on service fees were based on a survey of the competitive landscape. Such an approach is no longer valid due to the increased risk associated with the uncertainty about consumers’ reaction to changes in service fees. The newly designed Integrated Study by MRI combines consumers’ preference and price sensitivity with competitive landscape information for a more balanced approach to decisions on service fees. This first-ever Integrated Study helps financial executives reduce the risk of poor decisions and increases the probability of generating incremental income from services.

This twice-annual Integrated Study is specifically designed to identify new and innovative services that consumers value and are willing to pay for. It is scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year, and will specifically assess consumer preference and perceived value for services such as credit score monitoring, identity theft alerts, mobile banking services, personalized couponing services, person-to-person payments, and other services. The Study will gauge likelihood to use and willingness to buy mapped against demographic data such as age, income, and gender. And the Study includes a review of the same service categories compared to the top five U.S. banks for competitive analyses.

“Financial institutions can no longer afford the risk of arbitrarily deciding on new services or fees,” said Dan Geller, Ph.D. Executive Vice President of Market Rates Insight. “Poor service fee decisions can be very costly in loss of customers, damage to reputation and now involvement of the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

The first Integrated Study on Service Fees is scheduled for release in May 2012. It is being offered as an integrated study across all seven services, or as individual studies on each of the seven service areas. Individual studies will be available on credit score services, identify theft protection, personalized couponing, prepaid reloadable cards, overdraft protection, personal money transfer, and mobile remote deposit capture. Each study features consumer research on preferences and perceived value, as well as demographic segmentation.

For more information, contact Market Rates Insight at info@marketratesinsight.com.

About Market Rates Insight
For more than two decades, Market Rates Insight (MRI) has been helping clients price with precision by providing banks, thrifts, credit unions, and other financial institutions with comprehensive market intelligence on deposits, loans, and fees. MRI uses deposit surveys, mortgage and consumer loan surveys, fees and features studies, new product alerts, benchmarking and market share analysis to give subscribers the intelligence needed to strategically position products, optimize pricing and react to emerging trends. MRI’s products include web-enabled, customizable report programming, proprietary product research tools, searchable databases, market alerts, and online dashboards that aggregate key client data to provide real-time interactive views on how they rank against their specific competitors.

Market Rates Insight is located in San Anselmo, California. For more information, see http://www.marketratesinsight.com.

Photos available upon request

For additional information contact:
Tom Woolf
Market Rates Insight
(415) 259-5638

Help Spot and Avoid a Fake Mobile Phone for WCRD 2012

On World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2012, consumers worldwide are reminded that they have the power to make the right choice and avoid fake or knock off mobile phones.

“People can inadvertently purchase a fake or sub-standard phone, through no fault of their own, by trying to find a cheaper price for a phone – especially on the internet,” said Michael Milligan, Secretary General of the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF).

“Everyone wants to be able to buy a product at a good price. But unscrupulous suppliers are exploiting that desire for a bargain to sell products that are not what they claim, or that are just poor quality and perhaps even dangerous. To help consumers identify and avoid these fake or knock-off phones, genuine manufacturers have created the www.spotafakephone.comwebsite.”

Most fake phones are counterfeit copies of genuine handsets, which steal intellectual property such as designs, technologies and trademarks to deliberately deceive consumers. Fake phones are also produced without government approval, safety testing or certification and are sold illegally on the world’s black markets.

“The global black market for fake handsets has grown rapidly over the past few years and is estimated to be in excess of 200 million devices every year,” Mr Milligan said.

“With counterfeiters imitating all facets of a phones appearance, including labeling, design and packaging, it can be hard to spot whether a phone is fake or genuine, so the mobile industry developed this website to help consumers identify fakes and make the right choice.”

“Often it is the sub-standard components, low quality manufacturing and poor performance that impact on consumers after they have already purchased a fake, especially in the area of consumer safety, and usually the consumer has no recourse with the supplier.”

“Another important benefit of buying a genuine phone is that original manufacturers stand behind the quality of their own products and provide important product warranties to consumers should problems arise after purchase.” Mr Milligan said

Consumers can do their part in helping to identify, report and avoid fake or knock off phones by going to: www.spotafakephone.com.