"These stock repurchases are enabled by IBM's strong, consistent cash flow and are an important way of returning value to IBM shareholders," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive, in a press release. "They are an element of our long-term roadmap for earnings per share growth through 2010 and also represent a good value at today's prices."
Editor's note: Despite "IBM's strong, consistent cash flow" a spending freeze in IBM Global Services is still on, meaning employees must spend their own money to purchase ink cartridges, printer paper, and pencils.
Not only has that day come and gone, but HP continues to widen its lead over Big Blue. The latest quarterly revenue report showed HP posting more than $28 billion in topline revenue, putting it on track to become a $100 billion company. By comparison, IBM continues to grow at a much slower pace and with slimmer margins.
The day may soon come that HP not only wears the moniker of the world's largest technology company, but also steals the other famous saying: "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." The reason? Superior customer service and delivery of products that add value to clients' business. ...
According to Ziff Davis Enterprise research, HP outclasses IBM in nearly every measure of customer service and product execution. In overall satisfaction, HP bested IBM 79 percent to 66 percent.
Don't take no for an answer, document everything and appeal. Don't take no for an answer to the appeal, appeal again.
Today we collected over $13,000 on two of the claims, one from April and one from August. Still fighting for one for $3,500 from April.
Fortunately, my wife has been in the administrative part of the medical field for most of her working life and knows how to write appeals. -- Don
If you are having someone else file for you, they need to have a power of attorney or patient authorization on file with UHC. We have done both.
As a guy on another board says, document everything. Always get pre- approval for anything beyond usual checkups or tests, ESPECIALLY if it is out of network even if they tell you that you don't need it. When you get pre-approval UHC will give you a case number. Be sure to reference that in the comments section on the "Customer Issue Submission Form" which you down load and print from the Appeals and Grievances section. Also, be sure to keep a copy of the pre-approval letter which details the exact coverage that was approved and submit copies of it with your appeal.
As noted on the form, include a copy of the EOB (Explanation Of Benefits) that came from UHC for the claim that you are appealing. Also, request an itemized statement of charges from the service provider and submit a copy of that with the appeal.
Once you appeal, UHC has to respond within 30 days. Even if the answer is no, don't give up. Read their refusal carefully and then see if you can address the points of refusal. Often their reason won't even pertain to your case. I suspect that some UHC employees merely glance and the claims and issue refusals based on seeing a single word or phrase taken out of context. This is where the itemized statement can be very important in the appeal since it will include the date of service, the service code and a more or less English description of what the charge is for.
Again, don't let "out of network" be an excuse. If the service you need is not available from an in network provider with in 50 miles of your home, you can get permission for out of network coverage. However be prepared to have those claims denied on the first submission.
Here is a direct quote from a letter from UCH that finally agreed with us and notified us that our providers would be paid with seven to fourteen business days: "The plan under which you are covered is a self-funded Group Employee Welfare Benefit Plan governed by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974). This plan is not subject to state insurance law. UnitedHealthcare provides administrative and claim payment services to the plan. UnitedHealthcare is not the insurer for this plan."
So far this year my wife has recovered over $50,000 in denied claims. If anyone needs specific help on an issue, she will be willing to answer questions when she has time. You can email them to me depeter @ aol.com
Since I turned 65 last month, she has started studying up on medicare appeals as well. -- Don
One for 12 CENTS and another a whopping 16 CENTS!!!
I'll try to get a post together soon on what to do to appeal. However, it is key that you document everything. If there is any doubt, make sure you got pre-approval. Even if you call UHC and they say you don't need it, get it! -- Don
We did this out of respect and trust in the company who in turn, respected us as well. There were times when IBM went through some difficult financial periods, and expenses were controlled by delaying raises. We had no problem with this. Do you remember when IBM even assigned a manager to keep track of their retirees to see if they needed additional help after retirement? Now, many have been forced to retire early with a reduced income because IBM changed the rules.
Our "Promised" medical for life was taken away, COLA's disappeared, and the Fidelity Firewall was put in place to completely isolate us from having any contact with an IBM employee for help of any kind. I sometimes wonder why the financial burden of medical costs has to be greater on the retirees than on the working employees who can better afford it. Putting us in a "High Risk" pool made sure of that.
Increasing our medical cost by 400 to 500%, if you are lucky enough to still have a living spouse, really hurts as well. I do not live with anger in my heart because of all this, but I do feel hurt because I feel I lost a good friend in IBM. I also have no intention of throwing bricks at you or anyone else with a different opinion. These are just my thoughts, right or wrong.
Mr. Waxman said the report—based on a seven-month investigation by his staff of the 250 largest publicly traded companies—found that 113 of the Fortune 250 companies last year received executive pay advice from consultants that were also providing much more lucrative services to the company, such as employee benefits administration, human resource management and actuarial services. On average, these consultants receive $200,000 to advise the company about executive compensation—and more than $2.3 million to provide other services, the report found.
“In effect, the consultants are being asked to evaluate the worth of the executives who hire them and pay them millions of dollars,” Mr. Waxman said at a committee hearing on the issue this morning in Washington, D.C. “Like the auditors who signed off on Enron’s books, they have an inherent conflict of interest. For every dollar the consultants are paid to advise on CEO pay, they are being paid $11 to perform other services for the company.”
Hoping to lock in policies backed by a pro-business administration, poultry farmers are seeking an exemption for the smelly fumes produced by tons of chicken manure. Businesses are lobbying the Bush administration to roll back rules that let employees take time off for family needs and medical problems. And electric power companies are pushing the government to relax pollution-control requirements. ...
A priority for many employers in 2008 is to secure changes in the rules for family and medical leave. Under a 1993 law, people who work for a company with 50 or more employees are generally entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for newborn children or sick relatives or to tend to medical problems of their own. The Labor Department has signaled its interest in changes by soliciting public comments. ...
Few industries have more cause for concern than drug companies, which have been a favorite target of Democrats. Republicans run the Washington offices of most major drug companies, and a former Republican House member, Billy Tauzin, is president of their trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
A few years ago the euro was worth 85 cents. Today it is worth $1.48. This is an enormous decline in the exchange value of the US dollar. Foreigners who finance the US budget and trade deficits have experienced a huge drop in the value of their dollar holdings. The interest rate on US Treasury bonds does not come close to compensating foreigners for the decline in the value of the dollar against other traded currencies. Investment returns from real estate and equities do not offset the losses from the decline in the dollar’s value.
China holds over one trillion dollars, and Japan almost one trillion, in dollar-denominated assets. Other countries have lesser but still substantial amounts. As the US dollar is the reserve currency, the entire world’s investment portfolio is over-weighted in dollars.
Incredibly, that estimate may have been low.
A report prepared for the Democratic majority on the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate warns that without a significant change of course in Iraq, the long-term cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could head into the vicinity of $3.5 trillion. The vast majority of those expenses would be for Iraq.
Priorities don’t get much more twisted. A country that can’t find the money to provide health coverage for its children, or to rebuild the city of New Orleans, or to create a first-class public school system, is flushing whole generations worth of cash into the bottomless pit of a failed and endless war.
These poor babies feel put upon by their own shareholders, customers, and workers who have sued them to stop their fraud, monopoly pricing, discrimination, and other illegal acts. The corporate royalty is mightily offended that such commoners have been allowed to interfere in its brutish pursuit of riches, and the royalists have been crying louder than Paris Hilton about the unfairness of having to answer to the law.
Luckily for them, they have friends in high places who feel their pain and can dry their tears with government actions to stop dastardly citizens from bothering them with lawsuits. The corporate wrongdoers have long had the Bushites on their side, and many congress critters of both parties have also been there for them, offering comforting legislative hugs. Now, however, the best friend of the corporate elite is in the third branch of government: The Supreme Court.
With Chief Justice John Roberts at the helm, the nation's highest court is stacked with judges whose legal careers have been dedicated to corporate service, and this bias has turned the court into a safe play zone for corporate ruffians. This year, the Supremes have revealed their corporate coziness by taking a greater number of business cases and stretching the law, precedent, common sense, and their own credibility to enhance corporate power.
In 13 business rulings this year, the corporate majority has favored tobacco companies, automakers, insurance giants, and others over the people harmed. Even more important than each individual case, the court's decisions are making it much harder for those who are injured or defrauded to go to court. in effect, the are building new legal walls for corporate wrongdoers to hide behind, shutting out ordinary people who try to get justice from the system.
These black-robed corporatists are out of control. The court should be working for justice, not for corporations.
The South San Francisco-based biotech company’s decision “is of great concern to me,” U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., said in letters to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration made public Wednesday
When my wife’s employer, Berkshire Health Systems, informed us that my daughter’s coverage would end on Dec. 31 of this year, I was shocked. It turns out that the law requires only companies that pay health insurance premiums to give the extra two years of coverage. Those companies that self-insure are governed by federal law under ERISA and are not bound by this requirement. Self-insured companies pay the health insurance companies to administer the benefit, not to insure them. So our Blue Cross Blue Shield policy seems like an insurance policy, but it is not. Berkshire Health Systems insures itself, as do national companies that employ across state lines. Many large local employers are self-insured as well. These large companies do not have to pay the extra cost to cover dependents for those two more years. ...
As a physician and healthcare activist for many years, I was aware that this reform law was not a panacea and did nothing to control the rapidly rising costs of private insurance that force both employers and their employees to pay more in premiums, with the insured also paying more in higher copayments and deductibles. While the reform widened the safety net for some poor families, this safety net will shred if there is not a massive infusion of new money from the state or federal governments.
Two important lessons can be learned. First, we need to sever the connection between healthcare and employment. People need continuous, portable coverage that is affordable, comprehensive, and equitable. Second, we cannot depend on the private insurance industry to provide this for us.
Piece-meal reform such as the new law will not work. Both employers and the public support the concept of single-payer healthcare. Big business is starting to realize that a single payer system will be the only affordable way to cover everyone. When will our politicians understand that their political futures will depend on supporting this kind of comprehensive reform?
As the chart below reveals, the cost gap between the United States and Canada has only widened since 1993, and per capita health care expenditures in the United States are now almost double those in Canada ($6,401 vs. $3,359). Canada's per capita health expenditures rose about 65% from 1993 to 2005, while costs in the United States rose by over 90%.
Yet infant mortality in the United States is higher and life expectancy at birth is less than in Canada. It is also noteworthy that despite Canada's much lower expenditures on health care, Canadians consult with physicians far more often than do Americans. The average number of physician consultations per capita was 6.0 in Canada, versus 3.8 in the United States.
Republican rival Mitt Romney labeled the plan "socialized medicine" in his critique. "It's a European-style socialized medicine plan," he said. "That's where it leads, and that's the wrong direction for America." ...
History of Term: But what is socialized medicine? "The term socialized medicine, technically, to most health policy analysts, actually doesn't mean anything at all," says Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina. ...
Term's Definition: "When you talk about Europe, and you talk about a British system where the hospitals are owned by the government and the doctors are directly employed by the government, then you might say that's socialized medicine," Oberlander says.
But that is different from what most single-payer proposals would do. "There, you would essentially have government financing, just like you do with Medicare, but you would continue to have private practicing physicians and private hospitals," Oberlander says.
None of the leading Democratic candidates, however, has proposed anything like a single-payer system, much less a fully government-run program like Britain's National Health Service.
But right now, many Americans are nervous about health insurance. And they don’t trust government. They need time to decide whether they feel more comfortable with for-profit insurance or a public program. In the meantime, we need to ensure that everyone is covered, and that everyone helps weave the safety net. That’s why we need community rating and mandates. It’s all about solidarity.
Without a mandate, they find, the plan will fall far short of universal coverage. Worse yet, without a mandate health insurance will be much more expensive than it should be for those who do choose to buy it.
But Mr. Obama knows that if he tries to include a mandate in the plan, he’ll face a barrage of misleading attacks from conservatives who oppose universal health care in any form. And he’ll have trouble responding — because he made the very same misleading attacks on Hillary Clinton and John Edwards during the race for the Democratic nomination.
The managers could personally track your OT, but don't put it in a system where it could be documented. As to working more than 20% OT. In my former team, if you didn't work at least 20% OT, you were considered a slacker. Last year I was low claimer for the year at 18% OT and I was rated a 3. The rest of my team was claiming 25% to 40% OT for the year. On top of that, I had 4 weeks vacation and all the IBM holidays. That OT number for the year was pure hours worked. My vacation time had to be made up with extra OT to get the billable to 2300 hours. -RA'd bear-
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. A few sample posts follow:
IBM should sell GBS at scrap value. There are no employees to boast of (the PWC heritage is long gone), no incisive thought leadership and a complete lack of value-addition on client engagements. Calling this empty corpse shell a consulting organization is an insult to the consulting industry.
For any self-respecting individual looking at making a career in the consulting industry, the only reasons why you should join IBM GBS are as follows:
I hope this message goes out to all the prospective employees and HR trolls. Be warned - the end is near.
Needless to say, everything said came true -- so earlier this year, I left to another firm where I am much happier and have never looked back.
But why so long for the move? Ironically enough, I did gain some great experience -- thanks to my client (and my PM). They both saw some potential with me and cultivated my development where my practice did not. The client actively sought me to fill larger and more visible roles with each project phase, signing at least two PCRs to keep me there. The PM saw this and also saw my growing discontent -- and gave me separate opportunities to expand my core consulting skill set. These were things that he could have easily handled, but wanted to give me a shot at trying out. Meanwhile, my practice could have cared less, other than the $$$ signs from me being a band 6 filling band 7/8 roles -- and when my PM left IBM, the well of opportunities and development started to dry up. So I left too.
In any case, one thing has certainly changed. I was one of the first (if not the first) college recruiting classes to come into BCS, so I had to navigate the company on my own. We were some of IBM's biggest cheerleaders -- and since we joined, we jump started successive recruiting efforts at our alma maters. Within my first year, I not only had project work under my belt, but I was involved in recruiting, knowledge management, proposals -- I even wrote winflashes for my projects.
Now, today's recruiting classes are coming into a different environment. The precedent has been set with past hires, and the new joiners that are working directly with the unhappy band 6s and 7s from the '04/'05 recruiting classes are getting the truth much earlier in the process. It took me several months to realize my situation -- the new band 6s that I managed on my last project got the picture within their first two weeks.
Clients also are starting to rate the boutiques with better practice capabilities and engagement satisfaction. This will only get worse for large companies as technological barriers of entry and social networks continue to evolve.
Just like we all know that consulting is a good way to earn a living but not the road to wealth, public companies are waking up to the fact that consulting and services can only be a low margin supplement to a product business, not a core business in itself. Despite all the hoopla of supply chain dehumanization of resources and IC re-use, the margins of software and hardware continue to trump services.
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