Highmark, UPMC Health Plan meet medical-loss goals
Highmark Inc. has met the federal government's "medical loss ratio" requirements, which means the Pittsburgh health insurer will not have to issue rebates to its policyholders in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. UPMC Health Plan, Pittsburgh's second-largest health insurer, also met the standard in 2012. The 2010 health care overhaul included a profit-limiting provision that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premium revenues -- and 85 percent when it comes to large group accounts -- on patient care and quality improvement instead of administration, overhead and profits. Those that fall below the standard must issue rebates; in Pennsylvania, 12 insurers will have to pay $6.9 million in rebates to enrollees, led by Aetna, Golden Rule Insurance and UnitedHealthcare, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Consumer confidence index jumps to Jan. 2008 level
Americans' confidence in the economy rose to its highest level in more than five years, bolstered by a more optimistic outlook for hiring. The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index jumped to 81.4 in June. That's the best reading since January 2008.
More missed auto loan payments in first quarter
Banks are increasingly extending auto-loan financing to borrowers with less-than-sterling credit, a trend that's contributing to a higher rate of missed loan payments. The rate of U.S. auto-loan payments late by 60 days or more rose to 0.88 percent in the first three months of the year, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday. That's up from 0.82 percent in the first quarter last year.
New home sales rose 2.1 percent in May
Sales of new homes rose 2.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000, the highest level since July 2008, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The median price of a new home sold in May was $263,900, up 3.3 percent from a year ago. Sales of new homes remain below the 700,000 annual rate that's considered healthy by most economists. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday rose 2.5 percent in April. The index does not include Pittsburgh.
Men's Wearhouse speaks out against Zimmer's efforts
Men's Wearhouse said Tuesday that founder George Zimmer seemed to have difficulty "accepting the fact that Men's Wearhouse is a public company with an independent board of directors and that he has not been the chief executive officer for two years." The retailer fired Mr. Zimmer from his executive chairman role last week. Men's Wearhouse said Mr. Zimmer had advocated for "significant changes that would enable him to regain control." The company said it made "considerable efforts" to appease Mr. Zimmer, but that he wouldn't accept anything other than full control of the company.