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Visit One News Page for Health Insurance news from around the world, aggregated from leading sources including newswires, newspapers and broadcast media. Search millions of archived news headlines. This feed provides the Health Insurance news headlines.

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    Deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure for senior citizen has been hiked from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 under section 80D. Reported by Zee News 4 hours ago.

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    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech announced a flagship national health insurance scheme that will cover about 50 crore people. Reported by Zee News 3 hours ago.

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    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Thursday it expected economic growth to surge above 8 percent as it announced a 2018/19 budget that allocated billions of dollars for rural infrastructure and unveiled a health insurance programme for around 500 million poor. Reported by Reuters India 2 hours ago.

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    FINEOS to Sponsor 2018 LIMRA Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#Absence--FINEOS Corporation, the market leading provider of core systems for Life, Accident and Health insurance, today announced it will be premier sponsor of the 2018 LIMRA Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar in Jacksonville, Florida from February 6-8. The seminar provides a forum for LIMRA member insurance companies and technology service providers to participate in open discussion on how to cohesively work together and define better outcomes. The theme for this year’s con Reported by Business Wire 3 hours ago.

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    It was always believed that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would announce a Budget friendly towards senior citizens. And he has come out with help on that front. Reported by Firstpost 45 minutes ago.

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    The Narendra Modi government today announced the fifth and last full Budget of its current term, which was delivered by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The government expects economic growth to surge above eight percent post this budget, which has allocated billions of dollars for rural infrastructure and unveiled a health insurance program for around 500 million […] Reported by BGR India 17 minutes ago.

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    Union Finance Minister addressed a press-conference post his budget speech. These are some of the main points outlined by  Arun Jaitley

    1.Budget blends fiscal prudence with requirement of consonancy

    2. Key objective was to help agriculture and rural sector

    3. Second objective was to help people who are financially disadvantaged. Jaitley cites schemes like Ujjwala and Health Insurance scheme among others as steps taken to help the poor.

    4. Regarding taxation, Jaitley says they have helped three major classes. Relaxation for business class, standard deduction for salaried class and relief for the pensioners. 

    5. Jaitley says social security net has to be created and resources have to be available for that. The 1% extra surcharge is for that purpose. 

    6. Jaitley defends taxation on LTCG saying money is needed to fund the major schemes. He says only gain in capital from February 1 that will be liable for LTCG tax.

    7. The budget proposes an institutional mechanism to fix the emoluments of the elected members, thereby addressing the criticism that they fix their own salaries, says Arun Jaitley. 

    8. Step by step, in every budget, I have been putting surplus money in the hands of the middle-class taxpayer: Arun Jaitley

    9. Jaitley says he is confident that government will meet fiscal deficit target for 2018-19

    10. Jaitley says first time salaried class as a whole and its contribution as taxpayers have been singled out and their contribution has been recognised and standard deduction has been given. Jaitley says additional avenues of investment given for senior citizens. Jaitley says MSME will pay 5% less tax from now . 

    11. NIT IAayog will devise a mechanism to increase the Minimum Support Price for crops to 1.5 times of production cost, as promised in Budget; it will be done in consultation with the state

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    Thu, 1 Feb 2018-04:56pm
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    Union Budget 2018: Government to use blockchain tech; will crackdown on bitcoin
    Budget 2018: Salary of President increased to Rs 5 lakh, Governors to get Rs 3.5 lakh per month
    From Print Edition: 
    Highlights:  Reported by DNA 4 minutes ago.

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    KINGSTON, Ontario, Feb. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Empire Life Insurance Company (“Empire Life”) (TSX:EML.PR.A) is introducing a new $7,500 ‘drug only’ pooling product, available February 1, 2018 for new customers and at renewal for current customers.

    With advances in medicine and new, higher cost drugs in the market, it’s important to offer options that help small and medium-sized businesses limit their exposure to high cost claims, since they can have a substantial impact on customers’ ability to manage their risk and budget. That’s why we’re maintaining our $10,000 pooling threshold option and investing in our pooling products by offering this new drug only option.

    The $7,500 drug only pooling product is available to both insured and ASO plans and comes with cost management features including mandatory generic substitution drug plan, specialty drug program, prior authorization, step therapy, and reasonable and customary dispensing fee and drug markups.

    “We’re taking action to protect lower pooling thresholds because they provide value to small and medium-sized businesses,” said Steve Pong, Senior Vice-President, Group Solutions. “At a time when the industry is asking businesses to take on more risk, in the form of higher pooling thresholds, or pay more for the same protection, we’re proud to be offering a solution that helps customers limit their exposure to high cost claims.”

    “This is an important step for Empire Life and our customers, and we’re delighted to be able to offer this solution,” said Michael Perry, Vice-President, Group Product & Marketing. “It’s an innovative response to the changing landscape, and makes it easier for customers to protect their employees while also protecting their plans.”

    *About Empire Life*
    Established in 1923 and a subsidiary of E-L Financial Corporation Limited, Empire Life provides individual and group life and health insurance, investment and retirement products to Canadians. The company’s mission is to make it simple, fast and easy for Canadians to get the investment, insurance and group benefits coverage they need to build wealth, generate income, and achieve financial security. As of September 30, 2017 Empire Life had total assets under management of $16.8 billion. Follow Empire Life on Twitter @EmpireLife or visit www.empire.ca for more information.

    Contact: Catherine Hardwick
    613 548-1890, ext. 4210 or catherine.hardwick@empire.ca Reported by GlobeNewswire 5 minutes ago.

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    Breaking his silence on Prime Minister Narendra Modis government after a long gap, veteran BJP leader L K Advani has heartily complimented him and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on what he described as "making India proud - and also the BJP proud - by presenting a budget that combines ambition and empathy of almost an unprecedented order".

    This is the first time since 2014 that Advani has been so fulsome in his praise of Modi. Hitherto, the BJP leader, who lost to Modi in the race for the PMs post in 2013-14, has always held a studied silence.

    "Overall, the Budget makes me happy to see that my party, the BJP, is pursuing economic growth with a human face. I am sure India is headed towards a brighter future. I cannot recall any Budget in the past that set such high goals, targets and commitments for the growth of all sectors of the economy and also for securing peoples welfare," he said.

    Surprising the BJP circles, Advani was particularly impressed with the Budget announcement to unveil the Ayushman Bharat scheme, which aims at ensuring health protection through an insurance scheme covering nearly 50 crore Indians, providing them up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. This is the worlds largest health insurance initiative.

    "Until now, Health for All was more or less a slogan. Now it will become a reality."

    Advani also said the Budget has many other innovative provisions that address the needs and concerns of farmers, small and medium enterprises, women, senior citizens and youth.

    "I am especially happy to see the sharp focus on improving the quality and learning outcomes in the school education system. These commitments cumulatively show that India has a government that cares for the poor and the needy, and is faithful to the philosophy of Antyodaya that was propounded by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya." Reported by Deccan Herald 8 hours ago.

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    Ahead of elections in eight states and in the run up to 2019 Parliamentary polls, Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys Budget turned its gaze to distressed farmers and rural sector and also launched the worlds largest healthcare scheme for poor.

    It, however, did not pay much attention to the salaried class but gave some relief to small and medium companies by cutting taxes.

    For middle income group, Jaitley only increased the standard deduction on income tax to Rs 40,000 for medical reimbursement and transport allowance.

    But in a typical case of giving from one hand and taking away from the other, Jaitley proposed to increase health and education cess to 4% from the present 3% which will also be applicable on income and corporate tax.

    He also proposed long term capital gains tax (LTCG) of 10% on the profits of more than Rs 1 lakh investments in stock market and equity mutual funds. Until now these investments were tax free.

    While Jaitley said about 2.5 crore salaried employees and pensioners would benefit from the proposed standard deduction, the Opposition Congress said for the middle class taxpayers, LTCG took away the gains of standard deduction.

    Seeking to sooth the agitating farmers, Jaitleys Budget promised to raise the minimum support price (MSP) for their kharif crop by 1.5 times of production cost.

    It also proposed to raise total credit to the agriculture sector this year to Rs 11 lakh crore from Rs 10 lakh crore earlier. Alongside, it gave a 100% tax deduction to companies producing farm products.

    Though Jaitley announced the worlds largest National Health Protection Scheme to benefit 10 crore poor families, providing health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year, his Budget provided only for Rs 1,473 crore this fiscal for such a mammoth programme. Later, talking to media, he said the government will make additional provision for health and farm sector.

    Like Obamacare

    Jaitley said the country was progressing towards universal health coverage and compared the scheme with Obamacare in the USA.

    For senior citizens, the Budget however proposed to exempt interest income on deposits with banks and post offices upto Rs. 50,000 from the current Rs 10,000.

    It also raised deduction limit for health insurance premium or medical expenses to Rs 50,000 from the present Rs 30,000. Exemption from deduction of tax from fixed deposits was also proposed.

    Facing a major challenge on the job creation front, the Budget proposed to allocate Rs 3 lakh crore for flagship MUDRA Yojana.

    Jaitley said the tax reduction of 25% extended to companies with an annual turnover of Rs 250 cr will include most of the small and medium companies which provide the maximum jobs.

    The Budget also proposed an increase of over Rs 1 lakh crore on infrastructure and identified 115 backward districts which would be made model for development by investing in irrigation, rural electrification, potable drinking water and access to toilets.

    The Budget also announced Rs 1.48 crore for capital expenditure in Railways which is touted to be the highest ever.

    It also proposed an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore on education sector in the next four years, mainly on creation of infrastructure and research. Reported by Deccan Herald 8 hours ago.

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    The finance minister has announced a wide-ranging and forward-looking Budget for FY19, which could enable sustainable, long-term and equitable growth of the Indian economy by addressing the key areas of healthcare, Science & Technology (S&T), agriculture and rural infrastructure.

    The announcement of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which provides a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for 10 crore poor families, is a big step towards introducing universal health coverage in our country. It will be transformative for the Indian economy as it aims to provide health insurance to over 50 crore individuals, which is nearly 40% of Indias population. I believe the effective delivery of this scheme will ensure inclusive economic development.

    Similarly, the decision to set up 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country is noteworthy. This would ensure that there is at least one government medical college in each state, which augurs well for overall clinical practice and clinical research in our country.

    Giving Science & Technology its due

    I am also pleased to see the focus on Science and Technology in this Budget. If we are to move the economic needle, we urgently need to raise public spending on R&D.

    Acknowledging the immense potential of next-generation technologies in unleashing exponential economic growth, the Budget announced the launch of a Mission on Cyber Physical Systems to support the establishment of centres of excellence, which will invest in research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, Big Data analysis, quantum communication and Internet of Things.

    The Budget has rightly doubled the allocation on Digital India programme to enable combination of cyber and physical systems, which have the potential to transform the innovation ecosystem and the economy. It also said that the NITI Aayog will establish a national programme to direct efforts in the area of artificial intelligence towards national development.

    The FMs proposal to launch a major initiative named Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022 with a total investment of Rs 100,000 crore in the next four years is a step in the right direction. This will lead to higher investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions.

    Overall, it is a good Budget that offers something for everyone. The fact that it is an inclusive Budget reflects that the NITI Aayog was aligned with the finance ministry in the planning exercise.

    Through this Budget, the government has successfully progressed from its ease of business agenda to ease of living ahead of general elections in 2019.

    (Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited) Reported by Deccan Herald 6 hours ago.

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    Everyone likes to complain about our company-based system, but there have been real examples of innovation. Reported by NYTimes.com 10 hours ago.

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    Major research from sector’s regulator finds trends are changing with the economy Reported by Irish Times 10 hours ago.

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    India Inc on Thursday said the 'Bharat' oriented Budget with a thrust on improving the rural economy will create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship and sets the tone for future growth.

    Sharing views on the Budget 2018-19, corporate honchos cheered measures like the Rs 5 lakh cover per family per year to 10 crore families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, saying these would help the broader objective of universal healthcare.



    At last a beginning of Universal Healthcare - a long overdue need to enable inclusive economic development. Without health protection the poor will remain poor. https://t.co/jqERBljOFA

    — Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw) February 1, 2018



    Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said in a tweet: "In a populous, agrarian country, a populist, pre-election budget can be pro-growth! I'm biased, since it ignites growth in our key rural markets. So instead, I'll laud the budget for health insurance for 10 crore people. That's a REAL step towards becoming a developed society."



    In a Populous,agrarian country,a Populist,Pre-election budget can be Pro-growth! I’m biased,since it ignites growth in our key rural https://t.co/2MyyA4b3HZ instead,I’ll laud the budget for health insurance for 10cr people.That’s a REAL step towards becoming a developed society.

    — anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) February 1, 2018



    CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee termed it a balanced and prudent Budget that sets the foundation for future growth in the economy.

    "In a difficult year, the finance minister has done well to contain the fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent of GDP, a deviation of 0.3 per cent from the Budget estimate. The plan to move towards fiscal consolidation in the coming year would maintain macro stability and enhance investor confidence," Banerjee said.

    However, CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla rated the Budget as a highly mixed one.



    If #Budget2018 had provided some relief on the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) for SEZ units, it would help abate apprehensions of foreign investors, leading to a larger influx of capital and job opportunities.

    — Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) February 1, 2018



    "One of the main focuses of the government in this Budget was touted to be employment generation. However, none of the announcements are expected to boost the creation of jobs in any significant manner.

    "Secondly, I was expecting some relief towards Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT), which was missing in the Budget. It would have catered to India's SEZ units, helping the export business to great extent," he said.

    Assocham President Sandeep Jajodia said the Budget is on expected lines and provides support to sections of the society, where it was needed the most. The finance minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi know how to put the money where the mouth is, he said.

    "The agricultural and rural landscape were in some kind of distress and provision of over Rs 14.34 lakh crore to be spent on rural infrastructure should also add to the employment generation especially in the farm sector," Jajodia said.

    Bharat, or rural India, has been the key focus of the Budget, Dabur India CEO Sunil Duggal said, adding the Budget is on expected lines and is focused on improving the quality of life in rural India.

    PHD Chamber of Commerce President Anil Khaitan said the government has provided a Budget for all. The focus on agriculture, rural economy, health, infrastructure and MSMEs is highly appreciable.

    Ashok Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies said: "The focus on development of agriculture, healthcare, education, employment generation and infrastructure with an innovative approach should comfortably place the economy in the growth trajectory of 8-10 per cent per annum and double its GDP by 2025."

    Ficci President Rashesh Shah is of the view the Budget will drive consumption in a big way, thus helping growth in other related sectors.

    He said the impetus to the rural economy and the overall agriculture sector in the Budget would be a force multiplier for overall growth in the coming years

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    Thu, 1 Feb 2018-05:57pm
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    Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget for 2018-19 on Thursday in the Parliament. Here's how the budget will impact the large salaried and pension class of the country. 

    1. *Personal Income Tax Slabs*: Your personal tax structure remains unchanged and the basic exemption limit is not enhanced . So you will continue to pay tax on the existing tax slabs.

    2*. Increase in Education Cess*: Budget 2018 proposes to increase the current cess on income tax from 3% to 4% which will increase your tax payable across all the categories of tax payers. For example, if your income is Rs. 15 lakh then your tax will go up by Rs 2,625/- and for a person earning between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, his or her tax liability will increase by Rs 1,125/-.  

    3*. Standard Deduction*: The long overdue demand of bringing back the standard deduction is fulfilled. The standard deduction aims to reduce the tax liability and unnecessary paperwork because it does not require you to submit any proof towards your expense or an investment to the extent of allowable limit. The Union Budget 2018 has proposed to offer a standard deduction of Rs 40,000/- from your salary but a very important point to note here is that it also proposes to take away your existing transport allowance of Rs. 15,000/- & medical reimbursement of Rs. 15,000/-. So, after setting off both the effects i.e. reducing these two allowances from Rs. 40000 standard deduction, the tax will be saved only on Rs. 5800/- of income. The same also depends on your income tax slabs and it effectively save only Rs 290/- for those whose slab is 5% at present and Rs 1160/- for a 20% tax bracket person. Anyone earning more than Rs. 10 lakhs i.e. 30% tax slab taxpayer, will be saving Rs 1,740/-. However you will not be able to enjoy any major tax savings due to this because there is an increased cess which will also reduce the overall benefit. 

    4. *Long Term Capital gain Tax:* At present, long-term capital gains (LTCG) on the sale of equity shares and equity-oriented mutual funds is completely tax exempt provided you have sold the stocks or MFs after holding it for more than a year. Now, the budget has introduced the Long-term capital gain tax which will be taxed at 10% but only for the gains which exceeds Rs. 100,000/-. Important point to note here is that the benefit of indexation will not be allowed while calculating the tax liability. There is one relaxation given on account of all your gains as on 31st January 2018 which are set to become grandfathered. Now, what is this grandfather rule?

    A grandfather clause is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from the new rule are said to have grandfather rights or acquired rights, or to have been grandfathered. So, let’s understand, how it is going to apply in this new rule, for e.g. if you would have bought some equity shares 6 months before 31st January 2018 for Rs. 100 and the highest price as on 31st January was Rs. 120, then you do not need to pay any tax on selling these stocks after holding it for a year. But any gains in excess of Rs. 20 (i.e. 120-100) will be taxable at the rate of 10% if you sold the shares after 31st July 2018 i.e. after holding it for a minimum one year. 

    5.* Reliefs for Senior Citizens*:  The budget has some good announcements for your parents who are senior citizens, now the interest income exemption on their FDs with banks & post offices will be increased from the present limit of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000 which means they don’t have to pay any tax on an interest income up to Rs. 50000/-. At present, the interest earned on savings account is allowed as deduction for a maximum yearly limit of Rs 10,000/- under section 80TTA, the same will increase for a senior citizen as mentioned above.  

    6.* NO TDS:* Budget has proposed not to deduct tax i.e. TDS under section 194A for a senior citizen towards their interest income from FDs and recurring deposit schemes, it will save them from filing their tax returns just for claiming the excess TDS. 

    7.* Increase in Medical Premium limit u/s 80D & 80DD*: Senior citizens will also get additional benefit of deduction towards their health insurance premium from an existing limit of Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D. Similarly, there is an Increase in the deduction limit for any medical expenditure towards a critical illness to Rs. 1 lakh for all the senior citizens, U/S 80DDB.  

    8. *Dividend Distribution Tax @10% by Equity mutual funds*: A tax on distributed income by an equity oriented mutual fund will be taxed at 10%. At present, dividend distribution is not there on equity-oriented mutual fund schemes. This move will hit those investors say like a retired person who used dividends from equity schemes for generating their monthly or periodic income. 

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    Thu, 1 Feb 2018-05:47pm
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    Highlights:  Reported by DNA 10 hours ago.

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    BROOKFIELD, Wis., Feb. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Connecture, Inc. (OTCQX:CNXR), a provider of web-based information systems used to create health insurance marketplaces, announced a partnership with Farm Bureau Health Plans to implement a new shopping and enrollment platform for its members in Tennessee that offers individual and family health coverage along with Medicare Supplement products. The partnership also provides digital quoting tools for the health plan’s agents and representatives. Farm Bureau Health Plans launched the first phase of its implementation prior to the annual open enrollment period (OEP) last fall and has already processed more than 4,900 applications.

    Farm Bureau Health Plans, a membership organization and proud affiliate of the Tennessee Farm Bureau, was founded in 1947 as a not-for-profit organization for the purpose of providing healthcare protection to farmers and rural Tennesseans. Today, more than 180,000 Farm Bureau members take advantage of its quality health and dental plans. Now, through Connecture’s smart technology, members can shop and apply for a full range of medical insurance and ancillary options available to them in their areas – including dental, vision and short-term medical – based on their specific needs and financial situation.

    “Our goal was two-fold, as we wanted to implement a solution that would give our members an improved and responsive navigation as well as provide our representatives greater flexibility when quoting and applying,” said LeAnn Tice, Chief Operating Officer at Farm Bureau Health Plans. “With Connecture, we achieved that goal and now have a platform that will grow with our business and give our customers a consistent online solution.” 

    “Healthcare consumers have a lot to consider when it comes to selecting their best-fit coverage. At the same time, health insurers are doing everything they can to streamline the quoting and application process in order to attract new business,” said Connecture President and CEO Jeff Surges. “We’re proud to help Farm Bureau Health Plans implement intuitive, powerful technology that solves for these issues, while keeping them ahead of an ever-changing healthcare market.”*About Farm Bureau Health Plans
    *Tennessee Rural Health Improvement Association (TRHIA) and TRH Health Insurance (TRHH) are branded as Farm Bureau Health Plans (FBHP). FBHP is a Columbia, TN-based company exclusively focused on providing quality, affordable health care coverage for its members. FBHP offers an extensive range of coverage options for both the under 65 and over 65 markets, including traditional membership plans, short term care, dental, dental/vision, Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans.

    FBHP was founded in 1947 as an affiliated service company of the Tennessee Farm Bureau and is a distinctly separate organization from its sister company, Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee which provides automobile, homeowners, property and life insurance products. A designated FBHP representative is available to provide personalized customer service in each of the 180-plus Farm Bureau offices across the state of Tennessee.*

    About Connecture*
    Connecture (OTCQX:CNXR) is a leading web-based consumer shopping, enrollment and retention platform for health insurance distribution. Connecture offers a personalized health insurance shopping experience that recommends the best fit insurance plan based on an individual’s preferences, health status, preferred providers, medications and expected out-of-pocket costs. Connecture’s customers are health insurance marketplace operators such as health plans, brokers and exchange operators, who must distribute health insurance in a cost-effective manner to a growing number of insured consumers. Connecture’s solutions automate key functions in the health insurance distribution process, allowing its customers to price and present plan options accurately to consumers and efficiently enroll, renew and manage plan members.

    *Media Contacts:

    *Anita Nisbet
    Marketing and Communications Manager, Farm Bureau Health Plans
    931-560-0041, Ext. 6219
    anisbet@fbhealthplans.com

    Jeff Hyman
    Marketing Director, Connecture
    818-415-2569
    jhyman@connecture.com Reported by GlobeNewswire 9 hours ago.

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    The government on Thursday announced the 'world's largest' health insurance scheme for India's 50 crore poor in its last full budget before general elections, focusing heavily on uplifting agriculture and rural sectors while paying little attention to the middle class. Reported by Zee News 8 hours ago.

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    *Technology*

    * Mr. Arvind Bali, CEO, Videocon Wallcam*

    The budget has a clear push towards socio-economic growth of the country with aggressive focus on agriculture, education, rural economy, healthcare and infrastructure. The allocations aimed towards rural India will increase consumption which boost industries and help in nation building. Focus on digital solution and new age technologies is a big push in terms of creating the right environment for the next level of development in India. The increase in customs duty will further boost '*Make in India*'.

     

    *Real Estate*

    *Group Satellite*

    “Disappointing budget from the perspective of private sector involvement in creating mass housing stock that will make homeownership a reality for all Indians. Budget has unfortunately ignored the stressed and vilified real estate sector that is in desperate need of Government support through specific targeted tax breaks that help make building affordable homes in India viable.” - By *Mr. Sarjan Shah, MD, Group Satellite*.

     

    *Pacific India Group*

    “The budget this year is a boost to ‘Make in India’ initiatives and aimed at a progressive development of the rural economy and growth of the entire country. The focus on infrastructure, social inclusion and progress, education, agriculture and healthcare are steps in the right direction. Though there is not much in terms of addressing the problems faced by the realty sector but the move towards no adjustment in case of the circle rate not exceeding 5 % of sale consideration is a welcome move. Standard deduction for transport, medical reimbursement for salaried taxpayers and incentives for Senior citizens will help increase disposable income at hand.” – *by Mr. Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director of Pacific India Group*.

     

    *Mr. Prashant Solomon, Managing Director, Chintels India and Hon. Treasurer, CREDAI NCR and Convenor of CREDAI National (Media and PR Committee)*
    “The budget has several incentives for the rural sector, women etc but I would have liked the benefits of tax reduction to be wide spread with more income tax rebates for middle and salaried classes in order to increase disposable income and boost spending power that will help the economy and our sector grow in the long run. Though there are no major incentives for the growth of real estate industry the re-introduction of LTCG will help in growth of other investment avenues. Concessions in the budget towards the affordable housing sector and the setting up of an Affordable Housing Fund under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna, will help the realty sector ancillaries grow. Though most of the recommendations that we had made on behalf of the real estate industry have not been addressed, the move towards no adjustment to be made in a case where the circle rate value does not exceed 5% of the consideration is a welcome move”.

     

    *Mr. Nagaraju Routhu, CEO of Hero Realty*

    “We must appreciate the fact that the government is very serious on the mission of housing for all and in the same light we have seen some extremely positive announcements in the budget today. The setting up of a separate fund for affordable housing is a welcome move as it will enable an efficient supply of housing projects in the country. The government move of the 5% deviation from circle rates to remove hardship is not enough as in many cases; the actual deviation of circle rates to prevailing market is as high as 30%”.

     

    *Education sector*

    *Prof. (Dr.) Sanjay Gupta, Director General, World University of Design (WUD) *

    “The overall measures have a strong impetus towards social inclusion and economic growth. The budgetary allocation of 1 lakh crore towards higher education and research is a welcome move. In terms of development of cities, the budget gives an added fillip to the smart cities mission and urbanisation along with the proposal to develop 10 prominent tourist destinations as iconic tourism destinations. This is where the proposal to open 18 new schools of planning and architecture in order to to generate skilled designers and architects will create the necessary impetus and awareness towards the importance of design in every aspect of education be it urban planning, architecture, management or engineering. The need for sustainable environment friendly urbanisation and preservation of the fabric of an old city syncing it with modern growth can be addressed aggressively with the right education and awareness. The Smart Cities programme is progressing well and with continued budgetary support, these cities will greatly benefit from a new ecosystem of infrastructure leveraged with modern digital solutions and new age technologies like Artificial Intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data intelligence, quantum communications and art of the things”.

     

    *Mr. Farhan Pettiwala, President, Enactus India*

    Education, Healthcare and Agriculture are strong focus areas of this budget – these are understandable and laudable steps. From a skill development perspective, I welcome the decision of government to Integrate teacher training program – under Right to Education Act – to further use technology to upgrade skills of teachers – thereby moving from black board to digital board. Reduction in Corporate tax for MSME firms (having turnover below `250 cr from 30 to 25%) will certainly leave more money with firms to expand their operations and businesses, thereby creating more employment opportunities. Whilst I appreciate that 70 lk formal jobs were created this year (as mentioned in Budget Speech), to achieve the VISION of generating large-scale employment, all policies should be about jobs, jobs and more jobs.

     

    *Finance Secto**r*

    *Mr. Ranjeet S Mudholkar, Vice Chairman and CEO, Financial Planning Standards Board India (FPSB)*

    This Budget balances populism with pragmatism and, on a holistic basis, is good from Financial Planning perspective for long-term investing. There are slight benefits for salaried class taxpayers by way of Standard Deduction in lieu of Transport and Medical reimbursements. There are also incentives for senior citizens in exemption of interest income and exemption under Section 80D towards health insurance. The reintroduction of 10% long term capital gains on stocks exceeding Rs. 1 lakh gains might initially dampen spirits, however the provision of grandfathering of gains as of 31st January, 2018 for equity purchases up to six months prior will soothe this impact. The period of grandfathering may be extended until 31st March, 2018 to enable effective cash management and tax planning.

     

    *Entrepreneur*

    *Ruby Sinha, Founder, sheatwork.com- a one stop knowledge hub for women entrepreneurs*

    Union Budget 2018 perfectly blends reforms and populism with a keen eye on fiscal discipline. FM Arun Jaitley makes a strong push for digitisation, infrastructure development and better quality of education. The move to integrate technology into education is a step in the right direction. The government’s initiative to provide 5 lakh WiFi hotspots in rural areas will allow more grassroot level internet-run businesses to come up. Measures announced for Small and Medium Enterprises will help budding enterprises and help them contribute to the growth in consumer-oriented sectors. Also, the initiative to increase loans to women self-help groups by 37% is welcome. However, there is a lot more that remains to be done to improve the state of women entrepreneurship in the country - like extended tax holidays so women are motivated to look beyond mere jobs and become entrepreneurs, leading to growth of the economy.

     

    *Auto Industry*

    *Post Budget Reaction: Dharmesh Arora - CEO, Schaeffler India*

    Finance minister ArunJaitley has presented a balanced budget. He has stayed on the growth momentum and allowed small widening of fiscal deficit in the short term to focus on continued growth agenda. There is a huge focus on infrastructure development towards road construction railways and air travel, that bodes well for Union that bodes well for spurring economic activity in many sectors such as construction equipments, commercial vehicles in addition to thecore sectors. The minimum support prices for the agriculture segment and higher budgetary allocation for the rural, agriculture and allied sectors should generate discretionary spending that is likely to spur consumption led demand and push rural economic growth. Relaxation of Corporate Tax on smaller industries show positive intent in line with previous announcements of reduction of corporate taxes. This also means surplus cash available for capital expenditures and growth in those sectors.

     

    All these initiatives together are expected to create a positive effect with respect to demand, generate employment and boost investments in the private sector. While the budget has refrained from providing any direction to the country’s automotive sector, we are hopeful that the impending EV policy will provide clarity. On the whole, we expect Budget 2018 to create a positive investment climate. Reported by NewsVoir 8 hours ago.

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    The government on Thursday announced the 'world's largest' health insurance scheme for India's 50 crore poor in its last full budget before general elections. Reported by Zee News 7 hours ago.

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    Goa CM Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said that he was glad that the state government`s universal health insurance scheme had been emulated by the Centre. Reported by Zee News 5 hours ago.

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