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Susan Smith-Harmon

Largest Illinois insurer reacts to Obama's shift

Friday, 15 November 2013 03:19 Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Insurance and the state's major health insurer say they are reviewing changes to the health law announced Thursday by President Barack Obama that address policy cancellations.

   Obama said insurers can continue to sell policies canceled under the Affordable Care Act for at least one more year to existing customers. But insurers aren't required to continue the canceled plans.

   Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois officials say the company is "determining next steps" and will reach out to consumers who may have new options as a result of Obama's announcement.

   A spokesman says Illinois Insurance Director Andrew Boron has been in contact with federal authorities and is evaluating options, keeping in mind what's best for the state's consumers.

   At least 4 million Americans have received cancellation notices.

 

Cedar Hill, MO brush fire prompts caution about burning

Friday, 15 November 2013 03:09 Published in Local News

   A two-alarm brush fire that destroyed several buildings in rural Franklin County Thursday night is prompting a warning from fire officials.  

   It took dozens of firefighters more than an hour to extinguish a brush fire along Highway BB near Beverly Court in Cedar Hill.  No one was hurt, but the fire destroyed a camper and several out buildings in the rural community.

   Cedar Hill Fire Chief Terry Soer says the blaze began as a controlled burn that got out of hand.  The chief told Fox 2 News that brush fires are a real risk this time of year.

"Right now we're really concerned because of the low humidity," he said.  "The leaf cover is very heavy.  Obviously, we're encouraging people -- no burning outside, or anything like that."

   Chief Soer says the rain that's expected this weekend will take some of the pressure off.

 

Prepaid funeral "Ponzi" defendants sentenced

Friday, 15 November 2013 03:00 Published in Local News

   Six people who operated or worked for a St. Louis County-based prearranged funeral company are going to prison for terms ranging from 18 months to 10 years for defrauding customers.  

   The owner of National Prearranged Services, James "Doug" Cassity and his son, Brent Cassity avoided possible life terms by striking plea deals over the summer.  

   Federal prosecutors say the defendants sentenced Thursday operated a business that was nothing more than an elaborate Ponzi scheme and bilked more than 97,000 customers out of nearly a half-billion dollars.  

   All six defendants were ordered to turn themselves in after the holidays.

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