insurance



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A health insurance cooperative is a cooperative entity that has the goal of providing health insurance and is also owned by the people that the organization insures. It is a form of mutual insurance.

United States




The Health Co-Op - A better way to health care - The Health Co-Op presents individuals, families churches and Christian businesses and organizations an affordable, reliable alternative to health insurance ...

In the debate over healthcare reform, health care cooperatives are posited as an alternative to both publicly funded health care and single-payer health care.

It has been proposed as part of the health care reform debate in the United States by the Barack Obama administration as a possible compromise with Blue Dog Democrats (as well as with Republicans) in the search for universal health care in the United States. As it is being proposed by President Obama and others, a future health insurance cooperative would not be government owned or run, but would instead receive an initial government investment and would then be operated as a non-profit organization.

While a health insurance co-op is not strictly run by the government, hence not making it a public entity, it has been described by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who is also the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Finance as "tough enough to keep insurance companies’ feet to the fire." He has proposed a bill that includes a health insurance cooperative instead of the public option.

There once were numerous rural health cooperatives established by the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Most of them closed or merged over the years, generally because they lacked a sufficient economy of scale (i.e., they were too small to function efficiently). Thus, co-operatives currently have so little market share as to be "invisible".

The bill proposed by Max Baucus, the America’s Healthy Future Act, which uses health insurance cooperatives, was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost $829 billion over ten years, and because of the increase in taxes of $210 billion over 10 years on premium insurance plans with high benefits, would lead to a reduction in the deficit of $81 billion. It would expand coverage to 94 percent of all eligible Americans.

Support

During a September 2009 report by John King of CNN, he stated that "supporters know, here in Minnesota and other farm states think co-ops could solve at least a big chunk of the health care access and affordability problem." He interviewed Bill Oemichen, President of the Cooperative Network, who remarked that "where co-ops are, they tend to be very, very high quality because it is the consumer who owns them, that is making sure that their health care provider is a quality health care provider." Oemichen also stated that 65% of those who switched from typical health insurance reported better coverage and service.

In June 2009, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters, "if it’s all done entirely within the private sector, you know, it doesn’t seem to me it’s got the faults that you have... by having the government institute something." Steven Hill, a program director at the New America Foundation, has written for Salon.com that "co-ops may hold the key to a substantive compromise", comparing the U.S. reform proposals with health care in Germany. He argued that they can produce quality care for less money given that they would lack the profit motive, they would negotiate fees for service, and that they would end current market monopolies that insurance companies have in several states.

Criticism

Howard Dean and other Democrats have criticized abandoning the idea of a federally run, statewide, public option in favor of co-ops, questioning whether the co-ops would have enough negotiating power to compete with private health insurers. The activist groups SEIU and MoveOn.org have also stated their opposition. Prominent economists such as 2008 Nobel Economics Laureate Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have also questioned co-ops' ability to become large enough to reduce health care costs significantly. Thus, they both support the public option instead, which they state has strong opposition from the insurance industry.

Examples



  • Everspring Health
  • Kentucky Health Cooperative
  • Evergreen Health Cooperative
  • Consumers Mutual Health Insurance of Michigan
  • Health Republic Insurance - New York, New Jersey, Oregon
  • Nevada Health CO-OP - Nevada

See also



  • Housing cooperative

References



External links



  • Looking At Health Care Co-ops at Planet Money.
  • Health Democracy: How to Liberate Americans from Medical Insurers (book).




Health Insurance Cooperative – Co Op Insurance Company


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Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to view objects and areas of objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye (objects that are not within the resolution range of the normal eye). There are three well-known branches of microscopy: optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy.


Optical and electron microscopy involve the diffraction, reflection, or refraction of electromagnetic radiation/electron beams interacting with the specimen, and the collection of the scattered radiation or another signal in order to create an image. This process may be carried out by wide-field irradiation of the sample (for example standard light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy) or by scanning of a fine beam over the sample (for example confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy). Scanning probe microscopy involves the interaction of a scanning probe with the surface of the object of interest. The development of microscopy revolutionized biology and remains an essential technique in the life and physical sciences.

Optical microscopy




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Optical or light microscopy involves passing visible light transmitted through or reflected from the sample through a single or multiple lenses to allow a magnified view of the sample. The resulting image can be detected directly by the eye, imaged on a photographic plate or captured digitally. The single lens with its attachments, or the system of lenses and imaging equipment, along with the appropriate lighting equipment, sample stage and support, makes up the basic light microscope. The most recent development is the digital microscope, which uses a CCD camera to focus on the exhibit of interest. The image is shown on a computer screen, so eye-pieces are unnecessary.

Limitations

Limitations of standard optical microscopy (bright field microscopy) lie in three areas;

  • This technique can only image dark or strongly refracting objects effectively.
  • Diffraction limits resolution to approximately 0.2 micrometres (see: microscope). This limits the practical magnification limit to ~1500x.
  • Out of focus light from points outside the focal plane reduces image clarity.

Live cells in particular generally lack sufficient contrast to be studied successfully, since the internal structures of the cell are colourless and transparent. The most common way to increase contrast is to stain the different structures with selective dyes, but this often involves killing and fixing the sample. Staining may also introduce artifacts, apparent structural details that are caused by the processing of the specimen and are thus not legitimate features of the specimen. In general, these techniques make use of differences in the refractive index of cell structures. It is comparable to looking through a glass window: you (bright field microscopy) don't see the glass but merely the dirt on the glass. There is a difference, as glass is a denser material, and this creates a difference in phase of the light passing through. The human eye is not sensitive to this difference in phase, but clever optical solutions have been thought out to change this difference in phase into a difference in amplitude (light intensity).

Techniques

In order to improve specimen contrast or highlight certain structures in a sample special techniques must be used. A huge selection of microscopy techniques are available to increase contrast or label a sample.

  • Four examples of transillumination techniques used to generate contrast in a sample of tissue paper. 1.559 μm/pixel.

Bright field

Bright field microscopy is the simplest of all the light microscopy techniques. Sample illumination is via transmitted white light, i.e. illuminated from below and observed from above. Limitations include low contrast of most biological samples and low apparent resolution due to the blur of out of focus material. The simplicity of the technique and the minimal sample preparation required are significant advantages.

Oblique illumination

The use of oblique (from the side) illumination gives the image a 3-dimensional appearance and can highlight otherwise invisible features. A more recent technique based on this method is Hoffmann's modulation contrast, a system found on inverted microscopes for use in cell culture. Oblique illumination suffers from the same limitations as bright field microscopy (low contrast of many biological samples; low apparent resolution due to out of focus objects).

Dark field

Dark field microscopy is a technique for improving the contrast of unstained, transparent specimens. Dark field illumination uses a carefully aligned light source to minimize the quantity of directly transmitted (unscattered) light entering the image plane, collecting only the light scattered by the sample. Dark field can dramatically improve image contrast – especially of transparent objects – while requiring little equipment setup or sample preparation. However, the technique suffers from low light intensity in final image of many biological samples, and continues to be affected by low apparent resolution.

Rheinberg illumination is a special variant of dark field illumination in which transparent, colored filters are inserted just before the condenser so that light rays at high aperture are differently colored than those at low aperture (i.e. the background to the specimen may be blue while the object appears self-luminous red). Other color combinations are possible but their effectiveness is quite variable.

Dispersion staining

Dispersion staining is an optical technique that results in a colored image of a colorless object. This is an optical staining technique and requires no stains or dyes to produce a color effect. There are five different microscope configurations used in the broader technique of dispersion staining. They include brightfield Becke line, oblique, darkfield, phase contrast, and objective stop dispersion staining.

Phase contrast

In electron microscopy: Phase-contrast imaging

More sophisticated techniques will show proportional differences in optical density. Phase contrast is a widely used technique that shows differences in refractive index as difference in contrast. It was developed by the Dutch physicist Frits Zernike in the 1930s (for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953). The nucleus in a cell for example will show up darkly against the surrounding cytoplasm. Contrast is excellent; however it is not for use with thick objects. Frequently, a halo is formed even around small objects, which obscures detail. The system consists of a circular annulus in the condenser, which produces a cone of light. This cone is superimposed on a similar sized ring within the phase-objective. Every objective has a different size ring, so for every objective another condenser setting has to be chosen. The ring in the objective has special optical properties: it, first of all, reduces the direct light in intensity, but more importantly, it creates an artificial phase difference of about a quarter wavelength. As the physical properties of this direct light have changed, interference with the diffracted light occurs, resulting in the phase contrast image. One disadvantage of phase-contrast microscopy is halo formation (halo-light ring).

Differential interference contrast

Superior and much more expensive is the use of interference contrast. Differences in optical density will show up as differences in relief. A nucleus within a cell will actually show up as a globule in the most often used differential interference contrast system according to Georges Nomarski. However, it has to be kept in mind that this is an optical effect, and the relief does not necessarily resemble the true shape. Contrast is very good and the condenser aperture can be used fully open, thereby reducing the depth of field and maximizing resolution.

The system consists of a special prism (Nomarski prism, Wollaston prism) in the condenser that splits light in an ordinary and an extraordinary beam. The spatial difference between the two beams is minimal (less than the maximum resolution of the objective). After passage through the specimen, the beams are reunited by a similar prism in the objective.

In a homogeneous specimen, there is no difference between the two beams, and no contrast is being generated. However, near a refractive boundary (say a nucleus within the cytoplasm), the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary beam will generate a relief in the image. Differential interference contrast requires a polarized light source to function; two polarizing filters have to be fitted in the light path, one below the condenser (the polarizer), and the other above the objective (the analyzer).

Note: In cases where the optical design of a microscope produces an appreciable lateral separation of the two beams we have the case of classical interference microscopy, which does not result in relief images, but can nevertheless be used for the quantitative determination of mass-thicknesses of microscopic objects.

Interference reflection microscopy

An additional technique using interference is interference reflection microscopy (also known as reflected interference contrast, or RIC). It relies on cell adhesion to the slide to produce an interference signal. If there is no cell attached to the glass, there will be no interference.

Interference reflection microscopy can be obtained by using the same elements used by DIC, but without the prisms. Also, the light that is being detected is reflected and not transmitted as it is when DIC is employed.

Fluorescence

When certain compounds are illuminated with high energy light, they emit light of a lower frequency. This effect is known as fluorescence. Often specimens show their characteristic autofluorescence image, based on their chemical makeup.

This method is of critical importance in the modern life sciences, as it can be extremely sensitive, allowing the detection of single molecules. Many different fluorescent dyes can be used to stain different structures or chemical compounds. One particularly powerful method is the combination of antibodies coupled to a fluorophore as in immunostaining. Examples of commonly used fluorophores are fluorescein or rhodamine.

The antibodies can be tailor-made for a chemical compound. For example, one strategy often in use is the artificial production of proteins, based on the genetic code (DNA). These proteins can then be used to immunize rabbits, forming antibodies which bind to the protein. The antibodies are then coupled chemically to a fluorophore and used to trace the proteins in the cells under study.

Highly efficient fluorescent proteins such as the green fluorescent protein (GFP) have been developed using the molecular biology technique of gene fusion, a process that links the expression of the fluorescent compound to that of the target protein. This combined fluorescent protein is, in general, non-toxic to the organism and rarely interferes with the function of the protein under study. Genetically modified cells or organisms directly express the fluorescently tagged proteins, which enables the study of the function of the original protein in vivo.

Growth of protein crystals results in both protein and salt crystals. Both are colorless and microscopic. Recovery of the protein crystals requires imaging which can be done by the intrinsic fluorescence of the protein or by using transmission microscopy. Both methods require an ultraviolet microscope as protein absorbs light at 280 nm. Protein will also fluorescence at approximately 353 nm when excited with 280 nm light.

Since fluorescence emission differs in wavelength (color) from the excitation light, an ideal fluorescent image shows only the structure of interest that was labeled with the fluorescent dye. This high specificity led to the widespread use of fluorescence light microscopy in biomedical research. Different fluorescent dyes can be used to stain different biological structures, which can then be detected simultaneously, while still being specific due to the individual color of the dye.

To block the excitation light from reaching the observer or the detector, filter sets of high quality are needed. These typically consist of an excitation filter selecting the range of excitation wavelengths, a dichroic mirror, and an emission filter blocking the excitation light. Most fluorescence microscopes are operated in the Epi-illumination mode (illumination and detection from one side of the sample) to further decrease the amount of excitation light entering the detector.

An example of fluorescence microscopy today is two-photon or multi-photon imaging. Two photon imaging allows imaging of living tissues up to a very high depth by enabling greater excitation light penetration and reduced background emission signal. A recent development using this technique is called Superpenetration Multi Photon Microscopy, which allows imaging at greater depths than two-photon or multi-photon imaging would by implementing adaptive optics into the system. Pioneered by the Cui Lab at Howard Hughes Medical Center and recently reported by Boston University on focusing light through static and dynamic strongly scattering media. By utilizing adaptive optics,it has allowed the optical wavelength control needed for transformative impacts on deep tissue imaging.

See also: total internal reflection fluorescence microscope Neuroscience

Confocal

Confocal microscopy uses a scanning point of light and a pinhole to prevent out of focus light from reaching the detector. Compared to full sample illumination, confocal microscopy gives slightly higher resolution, and significantly improves optical sectioning. Confocal microscopy is, therefore, commonly used where 3D structure is important.

Single plane illumination microscopy and light sheet fluorescence microscopy

Using a plane of light formed by focusing light through a cylindrical lens at a narrow angle or by scanning a line of light in a plane perpendicular to the axis of objective, high resolution optical sections can be taken. Single plane illumination is also accomplished using beam shaping techniques incorporating multiple-prism beam expanders. The images are captured by CCDs. These variants allow very fast and high signal to noise ratio image capture.

Deconvolution

Fluorescence microscopy is a powerful technique to show specifically labeled structures within a complex environment and to provide three-dimensional information of biological structures. However, this information is blurred by the fact that, upon illumination, all fluorescently labeled structures emit light, irrespective of whether they are in focus or not. So an image of a certain structure is always blurred by the contribution of light from structures that are out of focus. This phenomenon results in a loss of contrast especially when using objectives with a high resolving power, typically oil immersion objectives with a high numerical aperture.

However, blurring is not caused by random processes, such as light scattering, but can be well defined by the optical properties of the image formation in the microscope imaging system. If one considers a small fluorescent light source (essentially a bright spot), light coming from this spot spreads out further from our perspective as the spot becomes more out of focus. Under ideal conditions, this produces an "hourglass" shape of this point source in the third (axial) dimension. This shape is called the point spread function (PSF) of the microscope imaging system. Since any fluorescence image is made up of a large number of such small fluorescent light sources, the image is said to be "convolved by the point spread function".

Knowing this point spread function means that it is possible to reverse this process to a certain extent by computer-based methods commonly known as deconvolution microscopy. There are various algorithms available for 2D or 3D deconvolution. They can be roughly classified in nonrestorative and restorative methods. While the nonrestorative methods can improve contrast by removing out-of-focus light from focal planes, only the restorative methods can actually reassign light to its proper place of origin. Processing fluorescent images in this manner can be an advantage over directly acquiring images without out-of-focus light, such as images from confocal microscopy, because light signals otherwise eliminated become useful information. For 3D deconvolution, one typically provides a series of images taken from different focal planes (called a Z-stack) plus the knowledge of the PSF, which can be derived either experimentally or theoretically from knowing all contributing parameters of the microscope.

Sub-diffraction techniques

A multitude of super-resolution microscopy techniques have been developed in recent times which circumvent the diffraction barrier.

This is mostly achieved by imaging a sufficiently static sample multiple times and either modifying the excitation light or observing stochastic changes in the image.

Knowledge of and chemical control over fluorophore photophysics is at the core of these techniques, by which resolutions of ~20 nanometers are regularly obtained.

Serial time-encoded amplified microscopy

Serial time encoded amplified microscopy (STEAM) is an imaging method that provides ultrafast shutter speed and frame rate, by using optical image amplification to circumvent the fundamental trade-off between sensitivity and speed, and a single-pixel photodetector to eliminate the need for a detector array and readout time limitations The method is at least 1000 times faster than the state-of-the-art CCD and CMOS cameras. Consequently, it is potentially useful for a broad range of scientific, industrial, and biomedical applications that require high image acquisition rates, including real-time diagnosis and evaluation of shockwaves, microfluidics, MEMS, and laser surgery.

Extensions

Most modern instruments provide simple solutions for micro-photography and image recording electronically. However such capabilities are not always present and the more experienced microscopist will, in many cases, still prefer a hand drawn image to a photograph. This is because a microscopist with knowledge of the subject can accurately convert a three-dimensional image into a precise two-dimensional drawing. In a photograph or other image capture system however, only one thin plane is ever in good focus.

The creation of careful and accurate micrographs requires a microscopical technique using a monocular eyepiece. It is essential that both eyes are open and that the eye that is not observing down the microscope is instead concentrated on a sheet of paper on the bench besides the microscope. With practice, and without moving the head or eyes, it is possible to accurately record the observed details by tracing round the observed shapes by simultaneously "seeing" the pencil point in the microscopical image.

Practicing this technique also establishes good general microscopical technique. It is always less tiring to observe with the microscope focused so that the image is seen at infinity and with both eyes open at all times.

Other enhancements

Microspectroscopy:spectroscopy with a microscope

X-ray

As resolution depends on the wavelength of the light. Electron microscopy has been developed since the 1930s that use electron beams instead of light. Because of the much smaller wavelength of the electron beam, resolution is far higher.

Though less common, X-ray microscopy has also been developed since the late 1940s. The resolution of X-ray microscopy lies between that of light microscopy and electron microscopy.

Electron microscopy



Until the invention of sub-diffraction microscopy, the wavelength of the light limited the resolution of traditional microscopy to around 0.2 micrometers. In order to gain higher resolution, the use of an electron beam with a far smaller wavelength is used in electron microscopes.

  • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is quite similar to the compound light microscope, by sending an electron beam through a very thin slice of the specimen. The resolution limit in 2005 was around 0.05 nanometer and has not increased appreciably since that time.
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) visualizes details on the surfaces of specimens and gives a very nice 3D view. It gives results much like those of the stereo light microscope. The best resolution for SEM in 2011 was 0.4 nanometer.

Electron microscopes equipped for X-ray spectroscopy can provide qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis.

Scanning probe microscopy



This is a sub-diffraction technique. Examples of scanning probe microscopes are the atomic force microscope (AFM), the Scanning tunneling microscope, the photonic force microscope and the recurrence tracking microscope. All such methods use the physical contact of a solid probe tip to scan the surface of an object, which is supposed to be almost flat.

Ultrasonic force

Ultrasonic Force Microscopy (UFM) has been developed in order to improve the details and image contrast on "flat" areas of interest where AFM images are limited in contrast. The combination of AFM-UFM allows a near field acoustic microscopic image to be generated. The AFM tip is used to detect the ultrasonic waves and overcomes the limitation of wavelength that occurs in acoustic microscopy. By using the elastic changes under the AFM tip, an image of much greater detail than the AFM topography can be generated.

Ultrasonic force microscopy allows the local mapping of elasticity in atomic force microscopy by the application of ultrasonic vibration to the cantilever or sample. In an attempt to analyze the results of ultrasonic force microscopy in a quantitative fashion, a force-distance curve measurement is done with ultrasonic vibration applied to the cantilever base, and the results are compared with a model of the cantilever dynamics and tip-sample interaction based on the finite-difference technique.

Ultraviolet microscopy



Ultraviolet microscopes have two main purposes. The first is to utilize the shorter wavelength of ultraviolet electromagnetic energy to improve the image resolution beyond that of the diffraction limit of standard optical microscopes. This technique is used for non-destructive inspection of devices with very small features such as those found in modern semiconductors. The second application for UV microscopes is contrast enhancement where the response of individual samples is enhanced, relative to their surrounding, due to the interaction of light with the molecules within the sample itself. One example is in the growth of protein crystals. Protein crystals are formed in salt solutions. As salt and protein crystals are both formed in the growth process, and both are commonly transparent to the human eye, they cannot be differentiated with a standard optical microscope. As the tryptophan of protein absorbs light at 280 nm, imaging with a UV microscope with 280 nm bandpass filters makes it simple to differentiate between the two types of crystals. The protein crystals appear dark while the salt crystals are transparent.

Infrared microscopy



The term infrared microscopy refers to microscopy performed at infrared wavelengths. In the typical instrument configuration a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) is combined with an optical microscope and an infrared detector. The infrared detector can be a single point detector, a linear array or a 2D focal plane array. The FTIR provides the ability to perform chemical analysis via infrared spectroscopy and the microscope and point or array detector enable this chemical analysis to be spatially resolved, i.e. performed at different regions of the sample. As such technique is also called infrared microspectroscopy. Infrared microspectroscopy is frequently used for infrared chemical imaging, where the image contrast is determined by the response of individual sample regions to particular IR wavelengths selected by the user, usually specific IR absorption bands and associated molecular resonances . A key limitation of conventional infrared microspectroscopy is that the spatial resolution is diffraction-limited. Specifically the spatial resolution is limited to a figure related to the wavelength of the light. For practical IR microscopes, the spatial resolution is limited to 1-3X the wavelength, depending on the specific technique and instrument used. For mid-IR wavelengths, this sets a practical spatial resolution limit of ~3-30 μm.

IR versions of sub-diffraction microscopy (see above) also exist. These include IR NSOM, photothermal microspectroscopy, and atomic force microscope based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR).

Digital holographic microscopy



In digital holographic microscopy (DHM), interfering wave fronts from a coherent (monochromatic) light-source are recorded on a sensor. The image is digitally reconstructed by a computer from the recorded hologram. Besides the ordinary bright field image, a phase shift image is created.

DHM can operate both in reflection and transmission mode. In reflection mode, the phase shift image provides a relative distance measurement and thus represents a topography map of the reflecting surface. In transmission mode, the phase shift image provides a label-free quantitative measurement of the optical thickness of the specimen. Phase shift images of biological cells are very similar to images of stained cells and have successfully been analyzed by high content analysis software.

A unique feature of DHM is the ability to adjust focus after the image is recorded, since all focus planes are recorded simultaneously by the hologram. This feature makes it possible to image moving particles in a volume or to rapidly scan a surface. Another attractive feature is DHM’s ability to use low cost optics by correcting optical aberrations by software.

Digital pathology (virtual microscopy)



Digital pathology is an image-based information environment enabled by computer technology that allows for the management of information generated from a digital slide. Digital pathology is enabled in part by virtual microscopy, which is the practice of converting glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, managed, and analyzed.

Laser microscopy



Laser microscopy is a rapidly growing field that uses laser illumination sources in various forms of microscopy. For instance, laser microscopy focused on biological applications uses ultrashort pulse lasers, in a number of techniques labeled as nonlinear microscopy, saturation microscopy, and multiphoton fluorescence microscopy.

Amateur microscopy



Amateur Microscopy is the investigation and observation of biological and non-biological specimens for recreational purposes. Collectors of minerals, insects, seashells, and plants may use microscopes as tools to uncover features that help them classify their collected items. Other amateurs may be interested in observing the life found in pond water and of other samples. Microscopes may also prove useful for the water quality assessment for people that keep a home aquarium. Photographic documentation and drawing of the microscopic images are additional tasks that augment the spectrum of tasks of the amateur. There are even competitions for photomicrograph art. Participants of this pastime may either use commercially prepared microscopic slides or engage in the task of specimen preparation.

While microscopy is a central tool in the documentation of biological specimens, it is, in general, insufficient to justify the description of a new species based on microscopic investigations alone. Often genetic and biochemical tests are necessary to confirm the discovery of a new species. A laboratory and access to academic literature is a necessity, which is specialized and, in general, not available to amateurs. There is, however, one huge advantage that amateurs have above professionals: time to explore their surroundings. Often, advanced amateurs team up with professionals to validate their findings and (possibly) describe new species.

In the late 1800s, amateur microscopy became a popular hobby in the United States and Europe. Several 'professional amateurs' were being paid for their sampling trips and microscopic explorations by philanthropists, to keep them amused on the Sunday afternoon (e.g., the diatom specialist A. Grunow, being paid by (among others) a Belgian industrialist). Professor John Phin published "Practical Hints on the Selection and Use of the Microscope (Second Edition, 1878)," and was also the editor of the "American Journal of Microscopy."

In 1995, a loose group of amateur microscopists, drawn from several organizations in the UK and US, founded a site ([1]) for microscopy based on the knowledge and input of amateur (perhaps better referred to as 'enthusiast') microscopists. This was the first attempt to establish 'amateur' microscopy as a serious subject in the then-emerging new media of the Internet. Today, is an established resource for all ages, to input their findings and share information. It is a non-profit web presence dedicated to the pursuit of science and understanding of the small-scale world.

Examples of amateur microscopy images:

See also



  • Acronyms in microscopy
  • Imaging cycler microscopy
  • Digital microscope
  • Digital pathology
  • Interferometric microscopy
  • Köhler illumination
  • Microdensitometer
  • Timeline of microscope technology
  • Two-photon excitation microscopy
  • List of microscopists
  • USB microscope

References



Further reading



External links



General

  • Microscopy glossary, Common terms used in amateur light microscopy.
  • Boston Micromachines Corporation, General Microscopy and Superpenetration Multi-Photon Microscopy.
  • Nikon MicroscopyU Extensive information on light microscopy
  • Olympus Microscopy Microscopy Resource center
  • Andor Microscopy Techniques - Various techniques used in microscopy.
  • Carl Zeiss "Microscopy from the very beginning", a step by step tutorial into the basics of microscopy.
  • Microscopy in Detail - A resource with many illustrations elaborating the most common microscopy techniques
  • WITec SNOM System - NSOM/SNOM and Hybrid Microscopy techniques in combination with AFM, RAMAN, Confocal, Dark-field, DIC & Fluorescence Microscopy techniques.
  • Manawatu Microscopy - first known collaboration environment for Microscopy and Image Analysis.
  • Audio microscope glossary

Techniques

  • Ratio-metric Imaging Applications For Microscopes Examples of Ratiometric Imaging Work on a Microscope
  • Interactive Fluorescence Dye and Filter Database Carl Zeiss Interactive Fluorescence Dye and Filter Database.
  • Analysis tools for lifetime and spectral imaging Analysis tools for lifetime and spectral imaging.
  • New approaches to microscopy Eric Betzig: Beyond the Nobel Prize -- New approaches to microscopy.

Organizations

  • Royal Microscopical Society (RMS)
  • Microscopy Society of America (MSA)
  • European Microscopy Society (EMS)
  • Non-membership International online organisation (Mic-UK)
  • Quekett Microscopical Club (QMC)


Microscopy – Auto Insurance Comparisons Org Review



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A nursing home, convalescent home, skilled nursing facility (SNF), care home, rest home or intermediate care facility provides a type of residential care. It is a place of residence for people who require, as determined by a local hospital social worker and their nursing facility provider, continual nursing care and have significant difficulty coping with the required activities of daily living. Nursing aides and skilled nurses are usually available 24 hours a day, and most are large congregate care facilities with government funding. These facilities are supplemental or competing classes to home care, home health, community services-non-facility, and home and community-based Medicaid waiver services.

History




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Before the Industrial Revolution, elderly care was largely in the hands of the family who would support elderly relatives who could no longer do so themselves. Charitable institutions and parish poor relief were other sources of care.

Regulations and Facility versus LTSS Oversight



In most countries, there is a degree of government oversight and regulation over the nursing home industry. These regulatory bodies are usually tasked with ensuring patient safety for the residents and improving the standard of care.

Ombudsmen

Residents may have specific legal rights depending on the nation in which the facility is located.

By country



Canada

United Kingdom

Care homes, both private and local authority, are regulated by SCSWIS (Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland) in Scotland. In England, care homes are regulated by the CQC – The Care and Quality Commission.

United States

See also



  • Assisted living
  • Certified Medical Director
  • Eldercare
  • Home care
  • International Association for Homes and Services for the Aging
  • List of companies operating nursing homes
  • Retirement village
  • Supported housing
  • Community integration

Footnotes



External links



  • "Effect of a pharmacist-led multicomponent intervention focusing on the medication monitoring phase to prevent potential adverse drug events in nursing homes," by Dr. Lapane, Carmel M. Hughes, Ph.D., Lori A. Daiello, Pharm.D., and others in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society 59, pp. 1238–1245, 2011.
  • "Potential underuse, overuse, and inappropriate use of antidepressants in older veteran nursing home residents," by Joseph T. Hanlon, Pharm.D., M.S., Xiaoqiang Wang, M.S., Nicholas G. Castle, Ph.D., and others in the August 2011 Journal of the American Geriatric Society 59(8), pp. 1412–1420.
  • "Diagnosis and treatment of depression in older community-dwelling adults: 1992–2005," by Ayse Akincigil, Ph.D., Mark Olfson, M.D., James T. Walkup, Ph.D., and others in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 59(6), pp. 1042–1051, 2011.
  • "Implications of the accuracy of MEPS prescription drug data for health services research," by Dr. Hill, Dr. Zuvekas, and Mr. Zodet, in the Fall 2011 Inquiry 48(3), pp. 242–259. Reprints (Publication No. 12-R026) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

External links



United States

  • Nursing Home Compare Tool — Medicare's past performance results of every certified nursing home in the USA




Nursing Home Care – Rest Home Insurance


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American International Group, Inc. – also known as AIG – is an American multinational insurance corporation with more than 88 million customers in 130 countries. AIG companies employ over 64,000 people in 90 countries. The company operates through three businesses: AIG Property Casualty, AIG Life and Retirement and United Guaranty Corporation (UGC). AIG Property Casualty provides insurance products for commercial, institutional and individual customers. AIG Life and Retirement provides life insurance and retirement services in the United States. UGC focuses on mortgage guaranty insurance and mortgage insurance. AIG also focuses on global capital markets operations, direct investment and retained interests.

AIG’s corporate headquarters are in New York City, its Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) headquarters are in London, and its Asian headquarters are in Hong Kong. The company serves 98% of the Fortune 500 companies, 96% of Fortune 1000, and 90% of Fortune Global 500, and insures 40% of Forbes 400 Richest Americans. AIG was ranked 40th largest company in the 2014 Fortune 500 list. According to the 2014 Forbes Global 2000 list, AIG is the 42nd-largest public company in the world. On March 31, 2015 AIG had a market capitalization of $75.04 billion.

History




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The Early Years: 1919 to 1945

AIG traces its roots back to 1919, when American Cornelius Vander Starr (1892-1968) established a general insurance agency, American Asiatic Underwriters (AAU), in Shanghai, China. Business grew rapidly, and two years later, Starr formed a life insurance operation. By the late 1920s, AAU had branches throughout China and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In 1926, Mr. Starr opened his first office in the United States, American International Underwriters Corporation (AIU). He also focused on opportunities in Latin America and, in the late 1930s, AIU entered Havana, Cuba. The steady growth of the Latin American agencies proved significant as it would offset the decline in business from Asia due to the impending World War II. In 1939, Mr. Starr moved his headquarters from Shanghai, China, to New York City.

International and Domestic Expansion: 1946 to 1959

After World War II, American International Underwriters (AIU) entered Japan and Germany, to provide insurance for American military personnel. Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, AIU continued to expand in Europe, with offices opening in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In 1952, Mr. Starr began to focus on the American market by acquiring Globe & Rutgers Fire Insurance Company and its subsidiary, American Home Fire Assurance Company. By the end of the decade, C.V. Starr's general and life insurance organization included an extensive network of agents and offices in over 75 countries.

Reorganization and Specialization: 1960 to 1979

In 1960, C.V. Starr hired Maurice R. Greenberg to develop an international accident and health business. Two years later, Mr.Greenberg reorganized one of C.V. Starr’s U.S. holdings into a successful multiple line carrier. Greenberg focused on selling insurance through independent brokers rather than agents to eliminate agent salaries. Using brokers, AIU could price insurance according to its potential return even if it suffered decreased sales of certain products for great lengths of time with very little extra expense. In 1967, American International Group, Inc. (AIG) was incorporated as a unifying umbrella organization for most of C.V. Starr’s general and life insurance businesses. In 1968, Starr named Greenberg his successor. The company went public in 1969.

The 1970s presented many challenges for AIG as operations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia were curtailed or ceased altogether due to the changing political landscape. However, AIG continued to expand its markets by introducing specialized energy, transportation, and shipping products to serve the needs of niche industries. By 1979, with a growing workforce and a worldwide network of offices, AIG offered clients superior technical and risk management skills in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

New Opportunities and Directions: 1980 to 1999

During the 1980s, AIG continued expanding its market distribution and worldwide network by offering a wide range of specialized products, including pollution liability and political risk. In 1984, AIG listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Throughout the 1990s, AIG developed new sources of income through diverse investments, including the acquisition of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a provider of leased aircraft to the airline industry. In 1992, AIG received the first foreign insurance license granted in over 40 years by the Chinese government. Within the U.S., AIG acquired Sun America Inc. a retirement savings company, in 1999.

Further expansion and decline: 2000 to now

Growth

The early 2000s saw a marked period of growth as AIG acquired American General Corporation, a leading domestic life insurance and annuities provider, and AIG entered new markets including India. In February 2000, AIG created a strategic advisory venture team with the Blackstone Group and Kissinger Associates "to provide financial advisory services to corporations seeking high level independent strategic advice." AIG was an investor in Blackstone from 1998 to March 2012, when it sold all of its shares in the company. Blackstone acted as an adviser for AIG during the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

In November 2004, AIG reached a US$126 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department partly resolving a number of regulatory matters, but the company must still cooperate with investigators continuing to probe the sale of a non-traditional insurance product.

Accounting scandal

In 2005, AIG became embroiled in a series of fraud investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Justice Department, and New York State Attorney General's Office. Greenberg was ousted amid an accounting scandal in February 2005. The New York Attorney General's investigation led to a $1.6 billion fine for AIG and criminal charges for some of its executives.

On May 1, 2005, investigations conducted by outside counsel at the request of AIG's Audit Committee and the consultation with AIG's independent auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP resulted in AIG's decision to restate its financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000, the quarters ended March 31, June 30 and September 30, 2004 and 2003 and the quarter ended December 31, 2003. On November 9, 2005, the company was said to have delayed its third-quarter earnings report because it had to restate earlier financial results, to correct accounting errors.

Expansion to the credit default insurance market

Martin J. Sullivan became CEO of the company. He began his career at AIG as a clerk in its London office in 1970. AIG then took on tens of billions of dollars of risk associated with mortgages. It insured tens of billions of dollars of derivatives against default, but did not purchase reinsurance to hedge that risk. Secondly, it used collateral on deposit to buy mortgage-backed securities. When losses hit the mortgage market in 2007-2008, AIG had to pay out insurance claims and also replace the losses in its collateral accounts.

AIG purchased the remaining 39% that it did not own of online auto insurance specialist 21st Century Insurance in 2007 for $749 million. With the failure of the parent company and the continuing recession in late 2008, AIG rebranded its insurance unit to 21st Century Insurance.

On June 11, 2008, three stockholders, collectively owning 4% of the outstanding stock of AIG, delivered a letter to the Board of Directors of AIG seeking to oust CEO Martin Sullivan and make certain other management and Board of Directors changes. This letter was the latest volley in what the Wall Street Journal called a "public spat" between the company's board and management, on the one hand, and its key stockholders, and former CEO Maurice Greenberg on the other hand.

On June 15, 2008, after disclosure of financial losses and subsequent to a falling stock price, Sullivan resigned and was replaced by Robert B. Willumstad, Chairman of the AIG Board of Directors since 2006. Willumstad was forced by the US government to step down and was replaced by Edward M. Liddy on September 17, 2008. AIG's board of directors named Robert Benmosche CEO on August 3, 2009 to replace Mr. Liddy, who earlier in the year announced his retirement.

Liquidity crisis and government bailout

AIG faced the most difficult financial crisis in its history when a series of events unfolded in late 2008. The insurer had sold credit protection through its London unit in the form of credit default swaps (CDSs) on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) but they had declined in value. The AIG Financial Products division, headed by Joseph Cassano, in London, had entered into credit default swaps to insure $441 billion worth of securities originally rated AAA. Of those securities, $57.8 billion were structured debt securities backed by subprime loans. As a result, AIG’s credit rating was downgraded and it was required to post additional collateral with its trading counter-parties, leading to a liquidity crisis that began on September 16, 2008 and essentially bankrupted all of AIG. The United States Federal Reserve Bank stepped in, announcing the creation of a secured credit facility of up to US$85 billion to prevent the company's collapse, enabling AIG to deliver additional collateral to its credit default swap trading partners. The credit facility was secured by the stock in AIG-owned subsidiaries in the form of warrants for a 79.9% equity stake in the company and the right to suspend dividends to previously issued common and preferred stock. The AIG board accepted the terms of the Federal Reserve rescue package that same day, making it the largest government bailout of a private company in U.S. history.

On March 17, 2009, AIG announced that they were paying $165 million in executive bonuses, according to news reports. Total bonuses for the financial unit could reach $450 million and bonuses for the entire company could reach $1.2 billion. President Barack Obama, who voted for the AIG bailout as a Senator responded to the planned payments by saying "[I]t's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" and "In the last six months, AIG has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury. I've asked Secretary Timothy Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole." Politicians on both sides of the Congressional aisle reacted with outrage to the planned bonuses. Political commentators and journalists expressed an equally bipartisan outrage.

Due to the Q3 2011 net loss widening, on November 3, 2011, AIG shares plunged 49 percent year to date. The insurer's board approved a share buyback of as much as $1 billion.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury in December 2012 published an itemized list of the loans, stock purchases, special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and other investments engaged in with AIG, the amount AIG paid back and the positive return on the loans and investments to the government. Treasury said that it and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York provided a total $182.3 billion to AIG, which paid back a total $205 billion, for a total positive return, or profit, to the government of $22.7 billion. In addition, AIG sold off a number of its own assets to raise money to pay back the government.

AIG since September 2008 marketed its assets to pay off its government loans. A global decline in the valuation of insurance businesses, and the weakening financial condition of potential bidders, challenged its efforts. AIG closed on the sale of its Hartford Steam Boiler unit on March 31, 2009 to Munich Re for $742 million, which was announced December 22, 2008. On April 16, 2009, AIG announced plans to sell 21st Century Insurance subsidiary to Farmers Insurance Group for $1.9 billion. June 10, 2009. AIG sold down its majority ownership of reinsurer Transatlantic Re. The Wall Street Journal reported on September 7, 2009 that Pacific Century Group had agreed to pay $500 million for a part of American International Group's asset management business, and that they also expected to pay an additional $200 million to AIG in carried interest and other payments linked to future performance of the business.

AIG agreed in March 2010 to sell its American Life Insurance Co. (ALICO) to MetLife Inc. for $15.5 billion in cash and MetLife stock. Bloomberg L.P. reported on March 29 that after almost three months of delays, AIG had completed the $500 million sale of a portion of its asset management business, branded PineBridge Investments, to the Asia-based Pacific Century Group. Fortress Investment Group purchased 80% of the interest in financing company American General Finance in August 2010. AIG in September sold AIG Starr and AIG Edison, two of its Japan-based companies, to Prudential Financial for $4.2 billion in cash and $600 million in assumption of third party AIG debt by Prudential. On November 1, AIG announced it has raised $36.71 billion from both the sale of ALICO and its IPO of AIA. Proceeds go specifically to pay off FRB of New York loan.

In October 2010 the WSJ reported that a family sued AIG for alleged complicity in a 'stranger-originated life insurance' scheme, whereby AIG managers allegedly welcomed people without an insurable interest to take out life insurance policies against others. The case involved JB Carlson and Germaine Tomlinson, and was one of many similar lawsuits in the US at the time.

Reported in January 2011, AIG sold its Taiwanese life insurance company, Nan Shan Life, to a consortium of buyers for $2.16 billion.

On May 7, 2012, the United States Department of Treasury announced an offering of 188.5 million shares of AIG for a total of $5.8 billion. The sale reduced Treasury’s stake in AIG to 61 percent, from 70 percent before the transaction.

On September 6, 2012, AIG sold $2 billion of its investment in AIA to repay government loans. The board also approved a $5 billion stock repurchase of government-owned shares in AIA.

On September 14, 2012, the Department of Treasury completed its fifth sale of AIG common stock, with proceeds of approximately $20.7 billion, reducing the Treasury’s ownership stake in AIG to approximately 15.9 percent from 53 percent. Government commitments were fully recovered, and Treasury and the FRBNY to date had received a combined positive return of approximately $15.1 billion.

On December 14, 2012, the Treasury Department sold the last of its AIG stock in its sixth stock stale for a total of approximately $7.6 billion. In total, the Treasury Department realized a gain of more than $22 billion from the sale of AIG common stock and $0.9 billion from the sale of AIG preferred stock.

AIG began an advertising campaign on January 1, 2013, called "Thank You America," in which several company employees, including AIG President and CEO Robert Benmosche, talked directly to the camera and offered their thanks for the government assistance. In January 2013, AIG's board discussed joining a lawsuit against the United States government because the bailout they received was unfair to their investors. The idea was rejected. AIG was criticized, however, when news stories soon appeared that it was considering joining a lawsuit brought by AIG shareholders and former CEO Maurice Greenberg against the New York Federal Reserve Bank for what the plaintiffs considered unfair terms imposed on AIG by the New York Fed. The AIG board announced on January 9, 2013, that the company would not join the lawsuit, and on January 9, 2013, Bob Benmosche told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo that it would not be “socially acceptable” for AIG to sue the government, continuing that while people may be angry, "a deal’s a deal."

The specific issue was whether the New York Federal Reserve transferred $18 billion in litigation claims on troubled mortgage debt to Maiden Lane II, an entity created by the Fed in 2008, and thus prevented AIG from recouping losses from insured banks. On May 7, 2013, Los Angeles U.S. District Judge, Mariana Pfaelzer, ruled that $7.3 billion of the disputed claims had, in fact, not been assigned. AIG withdrew the case "with prejudice" on May 28, 2013. Praelzer was overseeing a suit between AIG and Bank of America (BAC-US) concerning possible misrepresentations by Merrill Lynch and Countrywide as to the quality of the mortgage portfolio. In signing the order closing the case, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan who also adjudicated the Maiden Lane case, American International Group Inc. et al. v. Maiden Lane II LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-00951 admonished the Fed saying, "On the face of it" some of its actions "perhaps are unattractive and, indeed, wrongful.”

Court Rulings

On June 15, 2015, Judge Thomas Wheeler of the United States Court of Federal Claims ruled that the bailout actions by the Federal Government were illegal, The Court finds that the first plaintiff class prevails on liability because of the Government’s illegal exaction. In contrast to other major bailouts of the Great Recession, the Federal Government took control of 79.9% percent of the company and expelled the chief executive of the company. Judge Wheeler ruled that these conditions were draconian and therefore illegal. The weight of the evidence demonstrates that the Government treated AIG much more harshly than other institutions in need of financial assistance. In September 2008, AIG’s international insurance subsidiaries were thriving and profitable, but its Financial Products Division experienced a severe liquidity shortage due to the collapse of the housing market. Other major institutions, such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, encountered similar liquidity shortages. Thus, while the Government publicly singled out AIG as the poster child for causing the September 2008 economic crisis (Paulson, Tr. 1254-55), the evidence supports a conclusion that AIG actually was less responsible for the crisis than other major institutions.

However, Judge Wheeler did not award monetary compensation to the plaintiffs ruling that they did not suffer economic damage because 'if the government had done nothing, the shareholders would have been left with 100 percent of nothing.'

Corporate governance



Board of directors

  • Peter D. Hancock – President and Chief Executive Officer, American International Group, Inc.
  • W. Don Cornwell – Former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Granite Broadcasting Corporation
  • Peter R. Fischer - Former Head of Fixed Income Portfolio Management, Blackrock Inc.
  • John H. Fitzpatrick – Chairman, Oak Street Management Co., LLC
  • Christopher S. Lynch – Former Partner, KPMG LLP
  • Arthur C. Martinez – Former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sears, Roebuck and Co.
  • George L. Miles, Jr. – President and Chief Executive Officer, WQED Multimedia
  • Henry S. Miller – Chairman and Managing Director, Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC
  • Robert S. Miller – Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, American International Group, Inc.
  • Suzanne Nora Johnson – Former Vice Chairman, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Ronald A. Rittenmeyer – Former Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Electronic Data Systems Corporation
  • Douglas Steenland – Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Airlines Corporation
  • Theresa M. Stone - Former Executive Vice President and Treasurer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • William G. Jurgensen - Former Chief Executive Officer Nationwide Insurance

As of September 1, 2014

Business



In the United States, AIG is the largest underwriter of commercial and industrial insurance.

AIG offers property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, mortgage insurance and other financial services. In the third quarter of 2012, the global property-and-casualty insurance business, Chartis, was renamed AIG Property Casualty. SunAmerica, life-insurance and retirement-services division, was renamed AIG Life and Retirement, other existing brands continue to be used in certain geographies and market segments.

Recent News



On October 12, 2012, AIG announced a 5 ½ year agreement to sponsor six New Zealand-based rugby teams, including world champion All Blacks. The AIG logo and the Adidas logo, the league’s primary sponsor, will be displayed on the league’s team jerseys.

In June 2015, Taiwan’s Nan Shan Life Insurance acquired a stake in AIG’s subsidiary in Taiwan for a fee of $158 million.

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Federal Court of Claims ruled that the Federal Reserve's bailout of AIG was illegal and not authorized by the Federal Reserve Act. The court also ruled that no damages were due Starr Int'l as without the Federal Reserve bailout, AIG equity would have gone to zero, so Starr and other shareholders suffered no damages.

See also



  • Holdings of American International Group
  • AIG Advisor Group
  • AIG Retirement
  • Bailout
  • Late-2000s financial crisis
  • Lemon socialism
  • List of United States insurance companies
  • MBIA

References



Further reading



  • Maurice R. Greenberg and Lawrence A. Cunningham, The AIG Story (2013)
  • Sjostrom, Jr., William K. "The AIG Bailout".  (2009)
  • "An Insurance Giant, Brought Down". New York Times. September 27, 2008. Archived from the original on September 30, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.  (Graphic)
  • "Losses in Perspective" New York Times. September 17, 2008. (Graphic of AIG quarterly net profit & losses over five years, comparing Finance vs. Insurance activities.)
  • Marsh, Bill (September 28, 2008). "A Tally of Federal Rescues". New York Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  • Schneiderman, R.M; Caulfield, Philip; Fang, Celena; Goodridge, Elisabeth; Bajaj, Vikas (September 15, 2008). "How a Market Crisis Unfolded: Some of the key events in the upheaval". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2008.  (Graphic and interactive timeline.)
  • Shelp, Ron (2006). Fallen Giant: The Amazing Story of Hank Greenberg and the History of AIG. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-91696-X. 
  • For a list of counterparties receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars, see: Business Week – List of Counterparties and Payouts

External links



  • Official website
  • Aig Sigorta Türkiye
  • List of AIG subsidiary companies
  • AIG at Google Finance
  • AIG at Yahoo! Finance
  • AIG topics at The New York Times.


American International Group – Aig Insurance Car


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The New York State Insurance Department (NYSID) was the former State agency responsible for supervising and regulating all insurance business in New York State. It was regarded in the industry as one of the most state-of-the-art insurance regulatory agencies.

Effective October 3, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature consolidated the New York State Insurance Department and the New York State Banking Department and created the New York State Department of Financial Services.

History




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Until 1849, insurance companies doing business in New York State were chartered by special acts of the New York State Legislature. In 1849, the Legislature passed a law requiring prospective insurance companies to file incorporation papers with the New York Secretary of State. The law also vested regulatory power over insurance companies with the State Comptroller, who was authorized to require the companies to submit annual financial statements and to deny a company the right to operate if capital securities and investments did not remain secure.

In 1859, the New York State Legislature created the New York State Insurance Department, and assumed the functions of the Comptroller and Secretary of State relating to insurance. The Department began operations in 1860 and William F. Barnes was the first Superintendent of Insurance. The Home Life Insurance Company based in Brooklyn, New York was the first life insurer to be authorized by the newly formed New York State Insurance Department in 1860. Superintendent Barnes supervised the filings of 155 fire insurance companies and 16 life insurance companies during his first year in office.

By the 1870s, each state regulated insurance in some manner and most had an insurance department or agency. However, because different state requirements led to confusion in the insurance industry, New York State Superintendent George W. Miller, in 1871, invited the heads of insurance departments or agencies from other states to meet in New York to strive for more uniform regulation. Eighteen states met that year for the first session of what is now the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ("NAIC").

Mismanagement in the life insurance business, including exorbitant salaries and questionable investments, resulted in a 1905 investigation led by Charles Evans Hughes. The investigation, known as the "Armstrong Investigation", led to the passage of a law that set forth a series of reforms, including mandatory periodic examinations of all life insurers.

During the Great Depression, the Insurance Department promoted new rules clarifying insurer investment requirements, setting more equitable determination of cash surrender values and forfeitures, and recognizing up-to-date values and improvements in mortality tables.

After World War II, the Insurance Department pioneered many consumer protections, including comprehensive mandated health insurance benefits, open enrollment, and prohibitions against insurers arbitrarily dropping an individual’s health insurance coverage.

The New York State Insurance Department was the first insurance department or agency in the United States to establish a capital markets group to examine and measure the risks in insurer investment practices, and was the first state to recognize the importance of segregating multiple lines insurance from financial guaranty insurance as a means of preventing systemic risk.

In 2001, New York was the first state to establish an Insurance Emergency Operations Center ("IEOC"), which was designed to accelerate disaster assessments and expedite claims payments to disaster victims. The IEOC helped New Yorkers recover from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

During the financial crisis of 2008, the Insurance Department helped stabilize financial guaranty insurers and worked with federal regulators to ensure that AIG did not collapse when it experienced a liquidity crisis.

In 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature consolidated the New York State Insurance Department and the New York State Banking Department and created the New York State Department of Financial Services. James J. Wrynn was the fortieth and last Superintendent of Insurance.

List of Superintendents



References





New York State Insurance Department – Ny State Car Insurance



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Homesite Group Incorporated is a homeowners' insurance company based in Boston, MA with offices in Akron, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona. It is the twenty-fourth largest homeowners insurer in the United States and is owned entirely by American Family Insurance. Homesite writes direct-to-consumer homeowners', condominium owners' and renters' insurance policies in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Alliances with insurers and other financial services are the primary avenues for Homesite’s sales. Call centers, licensed agents and producers, as well as the Internet, are used for marketing and product distribution. Homesite was one of the first companies to enable homeowners to quote and purchase insurance policies online.

History



The company was founded in 1997 by James M. Stone, Peter J. Wood and Plymouth Rock Co. under the name Homeowners Direct Corporation, financed through Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. Stone, the founder of Plymouth Rock, has also been Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the youngest Commissioner of Insurance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Wood, an English entrepreneur, has also founded companies including Direct Line and Esure, successful UK financial services and insurance companies.

Homeowners Direct intended to focus exclusively on the homeowners market and address issues associated with homeowners' insurance in the US, such as high fixed costs and minimal technological innovation. The company wrote its first policy in 1999. In February 2000, the company name was changed to Homesite Group Incorporated, though it is alternatively referred to as Homesite Insurance. In early September of 2013, American Family Insurance, a private mutual company that offers primarily property, casualty and auto insurance, reached an agreement to acquire Homesite. The sale was completed in December 2013; however the company functions as a distinct entity, continuing prior operations and business partner relationships.

Awards



In 2006, Homesite received the A.M. Best annual E-Fusion Award for Underwriting and Pricing. The award recognized Homesite’s creation of a Business Geographic Underwriting system to address structural problems inherent in the homeowners product, improving the accuracy and efficiency of the underwriting process.

In 2011, the company received a MarketTools ACE Award for outstanding commitment to providing high quality customer service.

Member Companies



Subsidiaries of Homesite Group include:

  • Homesite Indemnity Company
  • Homesite Insurance Company of California
  • Homesite Insurance Company of Florida
  • Homesite Insurance Company of Georgia
  • Homesite Insurance Company of Illinois
  • Homesite Insurance Company of New York
  • Homesite Insurance Company of the Midwest
  • Homesite Lloyd's of Texas

References



  1. ^ abcd Press Release. "American Family Insurance acquires direct property insurer, Homesite Group, Inc.", "MarketWatch", Madison, 4 September 2013. Retrieved on 2 July 2014.
  2. ^ "About Homesite Group Incorporated"
  3. ^ Francoeur, Tom. "Homesite Group Incorporated Selects Enservio to Provide Comprehensive Contents Claims Solution", "Enservio", Natick, 13 May 2010. Retrieved on 7 July 2014.
  4. ^ A.M. Best Company. "New Company to Focus on Direct Sales of Homeowners", "Best's News", Oldwick, 23 December 1997. Retrieved on 2 July 2014.
  5. ^ Hatfield, Julie. "Insider's Guide to Boston", Executive Travel Magazine, Boston, July-August 2010. Retrieved on 8 July 2013.
  6. ^ Watterson, Thomas. "Take time to evaluate the risks of investments", The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, 28 June 1992. Retrieved on 8 July 2014.
  7. ^ Stevenson, Rachel. "Seventh heaven for the man who started Britain's telephone insurance revolution", "The Independent", Reigate, 30 June 2003. Retrieved on 08 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Company Overview of Homesite Group Incorporated", "Bloomberg Businessweek", Retrieved on 08 July 2014.
  9. ^ The Free Library. "Homesite Group Inc. receives Underwriting and Pricing Award", "Best's Review", Oldwick, 01 December 2006. Retrieved on 07 July 2014.
  10. ^ Kill, Andy. "Winners Announced for the 2011 MarketTools ACE Awards", "PR Newswire", San Francisco, 15 February 2011. Retrieved on 02 July 2014.
  11. ^ FEMA. "Homesite Insurance Company"


User:AC617/draft Article On Homesite Group – Homesite Insurance Company Of ...



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The Affordable Health Care for America Act (or HR 3962) was a bill that was crafted by the United States House of Representatives in November 2009. It never became law as originally drafted. At the encouragement of the Obama administration, the 111th Congress devoted much of its time to enacting reform of the United States' health care system. Known as the "House bill", HR 3962 was the House of Representatives' chief legislative proposal during the health reform debate.

On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed an alternative health care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). In 2010, the House abandoned its reform bill in favor of amending the Senate bill (via the reconciliation process) in the form of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Key provisions




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The central changes that would have been made by the legislation, had it been enacted, included the following:

  • prohibiting health insurers from refusing coverage based on patients' medical histories
  • prohibiting health insurers from charging different rates based on patients' medical histories or gender
  • repeal of insurance companies' exemption from anti-trust laws
  • establishing minimum standards for qualified health benefit plans
  • establishing a National Healthcare Workforce Commission to be composed of 15 individuals who will assess healthcare needs and make recommendations to congressional leaders
  • requiring most employers to provide coverage for their workers or pay a surtax on the workers wage up to 8%
  • restrictions on abortion coverage in any insurance plans for which federal funds are used
  • an expansion of Medicaid to include more low-income Americans by increasing Medicaid eligibility limits to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level and by covering adults without dependents as long as either or any segment doesn't fall under the narrow exceptions outlined by various clauses throughout the proposal,
  • a subsidy to low- and middle-income Americans to help buy insurance
  • a central health insurance exchange where the public can compare policies and rates
  • allowing insurors to continue to dictate limits on evaluation and care provided consumers by their physicians ("managed" or "rationed" care)
  • avoidance of capitating or regulating premiums which are routinely and in accordance with this law, charged by an insurance company for coverage, which might make the coverage non-affordable with regard to a consumer's income
  • requiring most Americans to carry or obtain qualifying health insurance coverage or face a fine for non-compliance
  • a 5.4% surtax on individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $500,000 ($1 million for married couples filing joint returns)
  • a 2.5% excise tax on medical devices
  • reductions in projected spending on Medicare of $400 billion over a ten-year period
  • inclusion of language originally proposed in the Tax Equity for Domestic Partner and Health Plan Beneficiaries Act
  • inclusion of language originally proposed in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2009
  • imposing a $2,500 limit on contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allow for payment of health costs with pre-tax funds, to pay for a portion of health care reform costs

Comparison with Senate version

The main House reform bill was the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which passed November 7, 2009. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the Senate version, passed December 24. The following table compares the two versions.

-2015 year rates are based on the second tier level of a silver plan that was determine by D.O.R.A -2015 Federal Poverty Level is now 133% to 401% -Everyone must obtain health insurance that meets the Minimal Essential Coverage (MEC) that is define by the department of Human Services (DHS) -Affordable is based on percentage of 9.5% annual income of an individual. -There is no out of pocket cost of Preventive care even on grandfather plan

History



The bill was introduced on October 29, 2009 and passed on November 7, during the 1st Session of the 111th Congress. Its primary sponsor was the Dean of the House, John Dingell of Michigan. The bill is a revised version of an earlier measure, the proposed America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (HR 3200 ). The revisions included refinements designed to meet the goals outlined in the President's address to a joint session of Congress in September, 2009 concerning health care reform. In 1989 the idea for the "individual mandate" that every household obtain adequate health care was proposed by a conservative think tank known as the Heritage Foundation and supported in congress by high profile republicans Newt Gingrich, Orin Hatch and Charles Grassley in 1993.

House actions

The Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962, was introduced in the House of Representatives on October 29, 2009, and referred to several Committees for consideration.

On November 6, 2009, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce was discharged. The House Committee on Rules introduced House Resolution 903 (H.Res. 903) along with a Committee Report, No. 111-330. The Committee Report detailed the amendments considered as adopted if and when the bill passed the full House in Parts A & B; it provided the Stupak–Pitts Amendment for consideration in Part C as well as the Boehner Amendment, a substitute for the bill, in Part D. The House Resolution outlined the process to be followed for Parts A through D in relation to H.R. 3962 and set the rules for debating the proposed bill.

The following day, House Resolution 903 was voted on and passed. This, in effect, added the amendments outlined in Rules Committee Report No. 111-330, Parts A & B, to H.R. 3962. Part C, the Stupak–Pitts Amendment, was brought up, considered and passed. Part D, the Boehner Substitute Amendment, was then brought up, considered but failed passage.

The newly amended bill eventually passed the House of Representatives at 11:19 PM EST on Saturday, November 7, 2009, by a vote of 220-215. The bill passed with support of the majority of Democrats, together with one Republican who voted only after the necessary 218 votes had already been cast. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the bill. All members of the House voted, and none voted "present".

Both before and after passage in the House, significant controversy surrounded the Stupak–Pitts Amendment added to the bill to prohibit coverage of abortions – with limited exceptions – in the public option or in any of the exchange's private plans sold to customers receiving federal subsidies. In mid-November, it was reported that 40 House Democrats said they will not support a final bill containing the Amendment's provisions. Stupak has said that 15–20 Democrats will oppose adoption of the Senate bill because of objections to its abortion provisions as well as its tax on high-value health insurance plans. In March 2010, Stupak voted for the Senate language health-care bill excluding the Stupak Amendment language.

Senate actions

The Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962, as engrossed or passed by the House of Representatives, was received in the Senate, read into the record and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders (Calendar No. 210, Nov. 16, 2009).

H.R. 3962 as eventually enacted

A different bill, under the same bill number H.R. 3962, was eventually passed by Congress and, on June 25, 2010, was signed by the President. This is the "Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010."

See also



  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Qualified Health Benefit Plan

References



External links



  • Chris L. Peterson, A Comparative Analysis of Private Health Insurance Provisions of H.R. 3962 and S.Amdt. 2786 to H.R. 3590, Congressional Research Service, R40981, December 16, 2009
  • 111th Congress. "P.L. 111-192 - Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010". U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 29. 
  • 111th Congress. "H.R. 3962 (IH) - To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.". U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 1990.  Plain Text, PDF or XML formats of H.R. 3962, passed in the House of Representatives & as received in the Senate via FDsys
  • Summary of H.R. 3962 as introduced (October 29, 2009) by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) via THOMAS.
  • Briefings of the Alliance for Health Reform, Washington, DC, 2008-2009
  • Entry for the Act at GovTrack
  • Video of Speaker Pelosi and Democrat leaders unveiling the bill : C-SPAN
  • How members of Congress voted on the bill : HealthReformVotes.org
  • How Does Obamacare Work
  • Obamacare pros and cons
Latest Congressional Budget Office scoring (all previous scoring for now superseded; H.R. 3200 no longer applies)
  • Update of Current Analysis - H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, November 25, 2009
    • Superseded analysis - H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, November 6, 2009
    • Preliminary Analysis of Subsidies to and Payments by Enrollees in Insurance Exchanges, November 3, 2009
    • Preliminary analysis - H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, October 29, 2009
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Estimates of the impact of H.R. 3962
  • Estimated Financial Effects of the "America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" (H.R. 3962), as Passed by the House on November 7: 2009 , November 13, 2009
    • Superseded analysis Estimated Financial Effects of the "America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" (H.R. 3200), as Reported by the Ways and Means Committee, October 21, 2009
Additional House committee generated information accompanying H.R. 3962 (November 6, 2009)
  • House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • House Committee on Ways & Means
  • House Committee on Education & Labor
  • House Committee on Rules (Manager's Amendment, Member Amendments, Rules Reports & similar found here)
    • H.Res. 903, and related Rules Committee Report 111-330


Affordable Health Care For America Act – American Affordable Insurance