- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good morning! Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in Florida. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome, and should be directed to Florida News Editor Terry Spencer at 800-824-5498 or 305-594-5825 or tspencer@ap.org.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

TOP STORIES:

HEALTH OVERHAUL-FLORIDA

MIAMI - As health insurance companies prepare to release figures on how much plans will cost under the Affordable Care Act exchange for 2015, insurers say the profile their new consumers are older and sicker than anticipated. Top executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Cigna said rate increases are likely, but declined specifics. Humana proposed an average 14.1 percent increase for its HMOs which the company said was driven by increased prescription drug costs and the costs of services, such as doctor and hospital reimbursements. Molina has proposed an 11.6 percent average rate decrease for all its plans. State health officials are set to release the final figures in early August. Critics of so-called “Obamacare” warned of huge rate increases next year, which they say signals the law isn’t working. But rates have risen as much as 20 or 30 percent in recent years and early filing from insurers in other states suggest the 2015 increases won’t be as dramatic.  Meanwhile, insurers say that even though the nearly 1 million Florida enrollees are older with more chronic and expensive to treat conditions, the marketplace is still ripe for profits. By Kelli Kennedy. UPCOMING: 700 words.

BAR EXAMS-SUBMISSION DELAYS

DALLAS - Florida-based testing software provider ExamSoft Worldwide Inc. said a processing issue has caused delays for bar exam takers in multiple states who were submitting their answers. Some test takers experienced slowness or difficulty in returning completed exams Tuesday to company servers using company software, vice president of marketing Kenneth Knotts said early Wednesday. He said the “processing issue” did not impact the exam takers’ answer content, and that all the state bars that had not yet received all exams had extended their deadlines because of the issue. “This was not at all a system-wide failure. The experience was a delay and some difficulty” in uploading the files, he said. “At no point in time was the integrity of their exam files ever affected.” Knotts said he couldn’t say what time the delays began or how many people in total were affected but said by late afternoon on the East Coast, the company was noticing extended wait times on its support line. By Terry Wallace. SENT: 554 words.

CHEMICAL PLANTS

WASHINGTON - The government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America’s densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists, congressional investigators say. The yearlong investigation by Republican staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee paints a portrait of inspection delays, government errors in risk assessment and industry loopholes in a $595 million terror prevention program passed by Congress in 2006. A copy of the investigators’ report was obtained by The Associated Press. Coming a year after a massive explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant, the report points to threats from the release of toxic and flammable chemicals. Roughly half of the 4,011 high-risk facilities on the Homeland Security Department watch list are in 10 states: California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey. By Hope Yen. SENT: 724 words with photos.

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IN BRIEF: LOBSTER DIVING DEATH; INMATES-HOT PRISON VAN; FATHER’S DEATH-CHARGES; DOCTORS-BACKGROUND CHECKS; HUMAN REMAINS FOUND; BABY LEFT IN MINIVAN; HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION SITE-SKULL; IMMIGRANT DETENTION-LETTERS; DOCS VS. GLOCKS.

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