SelectHealth Names New Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

MURRAY, UT–(Marketwired – May 12, 2017) – Thomas Risse has been named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of SelectHealth. Thomas has over 25 years of experience in healthcare finance, with experience in health plans, hospital systems, medical groups, and integrated delivery systems. Since 2009, he has been serving as the Chief Financial Officer for the Hawaii region of Kaiser Permanente, recognized as one of Americas leading providers and not-for-profit health plans. He played a significant role in contributing to the growth and financial improvement of the region during his tenure.

From 2003 to 2009, Thomas worked for Providence Health amp; Services in Olympia, Washington, where he served as Chief Financial Officer of the Southwest Washington region. Prior to that, he held finance roles with several organizations in California, including Childrens Hospital of Orange County, Health Net, and Daniel Freeman Hospitals. Thomass background in healthcare services from multiple markets will bring a fresh perspective to SelectHealth, said Pat Richards, SelectHealth President and CEO. His unique blend of strategic and tactical skills will be an asset as we focus our efforts to help people live the healthiest lives possible.

Thomas is originally from Huntington Beach, California and holds a bachelors degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of Southern California. He is a Certified Healthcare Financial Planner and a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. In addition, he completed the Kaiser Permanente Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School. He is also active in the community, having served on the board of directors for the YMCA of Honolulu and Boy Scouts of America – Aloha Council.

About SelectHealth

SelectHealth is a not-for-profit health insurance organization serving more than 850,000 members in Utah and southern Idaho. As a subsidiary of Intermountain Healthcare, SelectHealth is committed to helping people live the healthiest lives possible. In addition to medical plans, SelectHealth offers dental, vision, pharmacy benefit management, and life and disability coverage to its members. SelectHealth plans are available for Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. SelectHealth is also a carrier for the states Childrens Health Insurance Program. For details, visit selecthealth.org.

Stock Market’s Complacency Index Highest in 24 Years

The VIX, unfortunately, is no market timing tool. Stock prices can continue to move higher for weeks and months after hitting new “complacency” highs. On the other hand, warning signs are appearing elsewhere that could make investors increasingly nervous.

One sign is how much investors are willing to borrow to buy more stock. The relationship between margin debt and the Samp;P 500 Index is worth noting. Margin debt surged to astonishing levels in late 1999, peaking in March 2000, the same month that the Samp;P 500 Index hit its all-time high. By April the index was off nearly 50 percent.

Margin debt surged again in 2006, peaking in 2007, three months before the market topped out and began to roll over, declining by a similar amount.

In January margin debt, adjusted for inflation, hit an all-time high. In February it increased by nearly two percent, and closed out March higher still.

Another sign is auto sales. They have been declining for several months now, and April’s numbers were shocking: Ford sales, compared to a year ago, were down 7.1 percent. Fiat Chrysler? Off 7.0 percent. Toyota? Down 4.4 percent. And Honda sank 7 percent.

Consequently unsold vehicles are piling up on dealers’ lots. In April a year ago, there were 681,000 vehicles waiting for buyers. Last month that number was 935,000, up nearly 40 percent.

And car makers have stopped nearly all hiring. Two years ago they hired 40,300 people, but over the last 12 months they’ve hired only 2,400 new workers.

Another sign of weakness comes from the lenders supporting the auto industry. Since 2009 auto loans have skyrocketed 56 percent to more than $1.2 trillion. More unnervingly is the number of sub-prime loans those lenders are making. Seven years ago high-risk poor-credit loans were just five percent of total car loans. Today they are a third. And those lenders are now setting aside massive reserves in anticipation that defaults on those poor credit risk loans will be increasing.

Credit card defaults are mounting as well, with Capital One’s net charge offs jumping 28 percent year over year. And Synchrony Financial, the company that issues credit cards for Walmart and Amazon, just disclosed that it expects its charge offs in 2017 to rise to at least five percent this year. On that news investors unloaded its stock, pushing shares down by 16 percent, and down 27 percent for the year.

The “complacency index” could mean nothing more than higher highs are coming in stock prices. On the other hand, history has shown that it could also be a warning sign.

An Ivy League graduate and former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at badelmann@thenewamerican.com.

Avoid common regrets when buying a home

o Not knowing enough about the house and its location. One regret expressed by 22 percent of homeowners in a 2013 survey by the real estate website Trulia is that they wished they had more information about their homes.

Some people buying homes in tight markets may try to beat competing offers by not requiring a home inspection, says Daisy Kong, a spokeswoman for Trulia. That means they may not discover problems until the sale is complete, she says. Home buyers who overlook these issues before signing could get stuck making expensive repairs and renovations they weren’t prepared for.

Other home buyers forget to research factors important to them, such as the quality of schools in the neighborhood, Kong says. Or they may not learn until closing that a crime was committed on the property, she says. Home buyers can avoid these surprises by making a list of the factors most important to them and asking about those things ahead of time, Kong says.

o Not buying a bigger house. This was the No. 1 regret listed by both NerdWallet and Trulia. Some buyers become so focused on specific neighborhoods that they miss good deals elsewhere, says Sarah Staley, a housing expert for Realtor.com. Branching out can increase your chances of finding a home with the space and features you need, such as a back yard, or number of bedrooms and bathrooms, Staley says.

o Not understanding financial details. About 41 percent of homeowners said they were unaware of all of their loan options, according to the NerdWallet survey. Among millennials, 19 percent of homeowners were surprised by how long it took to buy a house, according to the survey. About 15 percent said they were surprised by hidden fees.

The findings suggest some people do not do enough research about mortgages, fees and other costs of buying a home, Manni says. Some people may underestimate how much they should save to cover closing costs and other expenses, he says.

Buyers who don’t research their credit histories may miss a “black mark” on their credit reports that can lead to a higher mortgage rate, he says. Others may forget to compare mortgage lenders, and miss out on a better rate.

o Not giving a bigger down payment. About 18 percent of home buyers wish they had made a bigger down payment, according to the 2013 survey from Trulia, its most recent survey on the topic. Although a smaller down payment can get home buyers into a house sooner, it may lead to higher total cost. For example, some people can buy homes with as little as 3.5 percent of the purchase price down if they use a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But because they are required to pay for mortgage insurance, they may end up paying more, Kong says.

Having a down payment of at least 20 percent can give you a better chance of snatching a home in a hot housing market, Staley says. Generally speaking, the larger the down payment, the lower the interest rate and monthly payment.

o Not saving enough in general. This extends beyond the down payment. Nine percent of homeowners said they did not feel as financially secure as they did before the purchase, according to NerdWallet. Some people were surprised by expenses they faced during the process, such as closing costs, Manni says. Others may be squeezed by other obligations, such as student-loan bills, Kong says.

Potential buyers can use online calculators to estimate monthly payments, Staley says. Families should also consider future expenses, she says. For example, young couples who want children should budget for child-care costs, Staley says.

Republicans accomplish significant tax relief, transportation investments in budget agreement

Republican legislative leaders and Governor Dayton appeared in a joint press conference Monday night to announce a compromise agreement on all areas of the two-year state budget. The final budget will deliver nearly one billion dollars of the state surplus to tax relief and new long-term funding for roads and bridges. The $660 million tax relief package will be the largest in nearly two decades, and the $300 million transportation investment will be the largest since 2008.

The 2017 legislative session will be one of the most productive in recent history once the budget bills have been passed and signed. Earlier legislative accomplishments include health insurance premium relief, health care reform, and a REAL ID driver’s license fix.

“We reached across the table and shook hands. This is how politics should work,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “After a short special session, Minnesotans will soon benefit from an aggressive road and bridge funding package and the largest tax relief passed in nearly two decades.”

Five budget bills have already been passed and sent to Governor Dayton for his signature. The remaining five budget bills, and a bonding bill, will be passed in a short special session to take place on Tuesday, May 23.

United Students Against Sweatshops pressures administration on Nike sponsorship

The WRC released an update April 10 citing that, while some positive changes have been implemented, progress overall “has fallen well short of what we had hoped to see and what university codes require.” In the case of uncompensated overtime, sometimes hundreds of hours per worker, Nike reportedly remedied the situation by paying workers roughly 40 cents.

The current proposal was authored by ACTL co-chairs professor Michael McCann and graduate student Rod Palmquist. The demands come in light of the expiration of the university’s contract with Nike on June 30.

Students from USAS expressed concern over upcoming negotiations with Nike during last Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting following their rally. Sophomore Alissa James made firm her organization’s demands during public comment.

“It is essential to USAS that if the contract with Nike be renewed, the WRC be included,” James said.

Before Thursday’s meeting, Cauce sent out a preliminary response to the ACTL outlining the guiding principles for upcoming negotiations. USAS members were disappointed with a clause which required Nike “grant access to an independent investigator or auditor of the University’s choosing” but not make mandatory WRC inspections. For USAS, it’s the WRC or nothing.

“We hope that President Cauce gets the message that the USAS push for the WRC is non-negotiable,” USAS member Becky Fuller-Phillips said. Georgetown, Rutgers, UC Berkeley, and UCLA have already cut ties with Nike over their refusal to allow WRC inspections at Hansae. McCann suspects that if the university were to drop Nike, Under Armour would be one of the more promising replacements.

“President Cauce would like to know what other vendors are out there and so far Under Armour seems like the best, but matters are still under investigation” McCann said. He cited Under Armour as a potential financial improvement to Nike, as well as a company more compliant with WRC inspections.

Also set to expire on June 30 is the university’s contract with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), which helps more than 200 colleges nationwide manage licensing agreements and production of school-branded materials.

A company requesting permission to use a university’s trademark must sign onto a two-part contract that the CLC administers on behalf of the university. The same template contract is used across all agreements. A company wishing to produce material with university trademarks must sign onto the CLC’s standard licensing agreement, a special agreement outlining the labor code of conduct, and, in some cases, additional riders to the code of conduct, an example of which would be ACTL’s proposal for WRC inspection.

Analysis: Property tax relief doesn’t equal extra money in your pocket

State promises of property tax relief tend to evaporate. Look in your wallet for the $126 in touted average savings you stashed there the last time lawmakers fiddled with property taxes, and the $2,000 boasted average savings you were supposed to get after major school tax reforms in 2006.

Taxpayers did get some relief, whether they felt it or not, from those efforts. But the savings were mostly eaten up by increasing property values and local school property tax increases driven, in large measure, by the Texas Legislature’s cuts in per-student spending on public education.

The 5 Ps Of Buying A House

You never know, you may find out that you can actually afford more house than you had thought! Or when its time to put in an offer, it will be that much stronger and may be chosen over another offer that doesnt have the same types of prequalified documentation and prep work done.

PREVENTS: The saying goes that An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How this resonates with a home purchase! When buying a home, make sure to have a professional home inspection completed. Its better to know what youre purchasing now, then to be surprised with potential costly issues later.

POOR: If something is done poorly, why bother starting at all? If you have a poor vision on the type of home that youre looking for, youll spend a lot of time looking at houses, rather than buying a house. This situation increases exponentially when it comes to partners searching for a home!

Get crystal clear on what it is that youre looking for in: budget, location, amount of fix-up needed, style, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. While you might not find absolutely everything youre looking for in a home, it will help to drill down on whats most important to you.

The better vision that you have ahead of time, the easier and more enjoyable the process will be.

PURCHASE: While you could find your dream house in your next purchase, life marches on and situations change. There may come a time in the future when youll want to sell that home for a different one. Keeping in mind the resale-ability of a home during the home hunt can increase the confidence in the purchase you make today, for the seller in you tomorrow.

Remember the five Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Purchase when buying your next home. Buying a home can be exhilarating, and confusing all rolled into one. By taking the time to plan now, youll feel more confident at the closing table later.

Melissa Rolland is a real estate salesperson and realtor. She lives in Tolland with her husband, Todd, an associate broker and realtor. Together, they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com, https://www.facebook.com/rollandrealtygroup/, or 866-408-8059.