Today’s News: Digital Medical Records on 5-Year Deadline, AG Probes Life Insurance Industry and Policyholders Choose Not to Sue Auto Insurance Companies

The Obama administration has given the medical world five years to figure out how to move all medical records to a digital format, the New York attorney general is pushing for a probe into the life insurance industry and individuals recently surveyed revealed that if given the opportunity, they would not be interested in suing their auto insurance companies.

Digital Medical Records Get 5-Year Deadline

In mid-July, President Barack Obama dished out an ambitious five-year plan that would require doctors and hospitals to move all medical records to a digital format. This, according to his administration, would offer greater safety for patients, as well as lower costs for health care and health insurance.

As soon as 2011, the medical world will have access to federal money that could use to help lower the costs of the systems, as well as train workers for their use. Those who don’t comply with these guidelines by 2015 will face Medicare payment cuts (MSNBC).

AG Probes Life Insurance Industry

New York State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, recently stated he plans to open a fraud investigation into how life insurance companies pay out benefits after their policyholders die. Cuomo said that he believes some insurers are retaining life insurance beneficiaries’ funds in company-controlled accounts, rather than paying out lump sums because they earn higher rates of interest by holding on to the money. So far, his office has already subpoenaed Prudential Financial, Inc. and MetLife, Inc. in hopes of learning more about their use of life insurance policies (Associated Press).

Policyholders Choose Not to Sue Auto Insurance Companies

A new survey released by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) revealed that most Americans don’t believe that adopting new laws allowing people to sue their own auto insurance company for punitive damages is a good idea. The law relates to a first-party bad-faith lawsuit that allows one person to sue their own insurance company because they feel that the company acted in “bad faith” in the settlement of their claim.

So far, only a few states allow policyholders to sue their companies for this reason. However, according to the survey, 57 percent of respondents think the ability to do this is either a poor or only fair idea (PR Web).