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D.C. Business News You May Need to Know

Compiled by WI Editor D. Kevin McNeir

AAA Labels DC’s Traffic Ticketing as ‘Predatory’

D.C., long known as one of the most notorious cities for issuing traffic fines, recently broke new territory, having issued more than $1 billion in tickets over the past few years.

“I don’t know another local jurisdiction in the entire nation that has generated as much money from traffic tickets, parking tickets and moving violations,” John Townsend, public relations manager, AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a recent interview with WJLA. “That tells us that things are out of control and out of hand in the District of Columbia.

Townsend, who closely monitors D.C.’s ticketing behavior, said the ticket issuing boils down to a money-making operation that has yet to prove the high fines have made anyone safer, adding that there’s been no evidence which shows the amount of the fine modifies a motorist’s behavior.

“We’ve looked high and low,” Townsend said. “We looked across the globe and we have not found one major study that proves there is a link between the amount of the fine and compliance. No one really believes this is about traffic safety any longer which is the reason we’re withdrawing support for the automated enforcement program in the District. It’s predatory ticketing. That’s precisely what it is. And I defy the District to say otherwise.”

Deadline for Summer Youth Employment Program, Feb. 29

Hundreds of longtime or native Washingtonians, now adults and successfully established in their careers and chosen professions, routinely point to getting their start during their teen years here in the District – beneficiaries of the city’s long-heralded and now-titled work initiative, the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP). And while applications for the upcoming summer became available Jan. 31, and continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, there’s still time to apply.

The deadline to apply is Saturday, Feb. 29 for DC residents, ages 14-24 and eligible to work in the U.S. Youth must have an email address and a valid Social Security number to apply and should visit www.summerjobs.dc.gov. if interested. Space remains limited.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield To Cover Insulin, Diabetic Supply Costs

To advance its mission to provide affordable access to health coverage, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield recently announced it will offer insulin and diabetic supplies coverage to members at $0 out-of-pocket, prior to meeting a deductible in 2021.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, CareFirst will provide access to preferred brand insulin and diabetic supplies, such as glucometer test strips and insulin syringes, as a covered benefit with no member cost-sharing in plans where CareFirst sets the health benefits and manages the financial risk, referred to as “fully-insured” plans.

The cost of insulin and other prescription drugs continue to increase, creating affordability challenges for members. Medication is the largest contributor to overall spend at CareFirst, exceeding $2.5 billion annually, and the costs continue to grow at an unsustainable rate. In 2019, members in fully-insured plans paid nearly $6M in out-of-pocket costs for insulin, which averaged to approximately $119 per fill.

“This is one step among a series of aggressive actions that CareFirst is and will continue to take to confront a health crisis that is facing the nation,” said CareFirst President and CEO Brian D. Pieninck.

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