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News State / Region

To help fight health insurance premium hikes

U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced Affordable Care Act grant awards of $3,984,080 to North Carolina that will help fight unreasonable premium increases and protect consumers. HHS also released a new report entitled Rate Review Works detailing how previous rate review grants are fighting premium hikes and helping make the health insurance marketplace more transparent.

“We’re committed to fighting unreasonable premium increases and we know rate review works,” said Secretary Sebelius. “States continue to have the primary responsibility for reviewing insurance rates and these grants give them more resources to hold insurance companies accountable.”

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The North Carolina Social Services Association (NCSSA), organized in 1967 and incorporated in 1969, is the only statewide professional organization representing the interest and concerns of Social Services employees in North Carolina.

In addition to working to develop the professional growth of members and to regulate policy, NCSSA members raise in excess of $50,000 each year that is devoted to community service projects in nearly all 100 counties across the state. These funds provide life-sustaining services and supplies to individuals who have fallen through the cracks of the human services system and/or provide funding for training not otherwise offered through county budgets.

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As foreclosures continue to stack up in Macon County and surrounding areas, one federal government agency is reaching out to citizens to offer help. Everett Stiles, who provides Foreclosure Prevention Outreach Services for the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, attended October’s meeting of Macon County’s Board of Commissioners to inform citizens of government funding geared toward foreclosure prevention.

According to Stiles, North Carolina homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage may be eligible to receive financial assistance through government funding. The N.C. Foreclosure Prevention Fund is now available through HUD-approved concealing agencies to help homeowners who are struggling due to job loss or temporary financial hardship caused by no fault of their own, such as divorce or illness.

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A recent recipient of the N.C. Economic Developers Association’s Economic Developer of the Year award is joining the staff at AdvantageWest, the economic development partnership serving the 23 westernmost counties of the state.

Thomas L. Johnson, who has served as executive director of the Rutherford County Economic Development Commission since April 2006, will head efforts to market the region as a location for advanced manufacturing, among other responsibilities, as AdvantageWest’s new executive vice president.

With three decades of experience in economic, business and community development and planning, Johnson’s most recent accomplishments are the leadership roles he played in bringing two major companies to Rutherford County: Horsehead Corp., representing the single largest manufacturing project in the county’s history, with a $360 million facility and 250 jobs, and Facebook, the largest non-utility announcement in the county’s history, currently building a $450 million data center, with some 400 construction jobs and 45 permanent jobs.

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published: 10/18/2013
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