Anthem leaves 2 more state marketplaces

Anthem, an Affordable Care Act stalwart, is shrinking its participation in the program and pulling out of two more state marketplaces.

Anthem announced its exit from Wisconsin and Indiana on Wednesday, the deadline in many states for insurers to file their premium rates if they wish to participate in the Affordable Care Act next year.

Anthem said it will leave the two individual insurance markets because of uncertainty over the future of the ACA, as Republican senators work behind closed doors on a bill to repeal and replace the law.

Earlier this month, Anthem said it would pull out of Ohio’s ACA exchange.

Meanwhile, Oscar Health, the closely held insurer started by Josh Kushner, the brother of Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, is one of a few companies swimming against the tide. The insurer said Wednesday that in 2018 it plans to begin selling health plans on the ACA exchange in Tennessee, to expand in California, Ohio and Texas, and to continue in its New York and New Jersey markets.

— Bloomberg News

Watchdog warns of fidget spinner risks

The wildly popular fidget spinners that seem to be in the hands of half the children in the United States are also potentially dangerous, a consumer watchdog warns.

The small plastic and metal spinners, already banned in many schools because they distract students, can fall apart, and the small pieces can be a choking hazard, Boston-based safety nonprofit World Against Toys Causing Harm said in its summer safety report released Wednesday.

Children in Texas and Oregon have been taken to hospitals recently after choking on fidget spinner pieces, the safety nonprofit said. And German customs officials last week destroyed 39 tons of the handheld whirling gizmos over safety concerns.

“Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that a toy is safe simply because it is popular,” said group president Joan Siff.

The group also warned about the fire dangers posed by lithium batteries in hoverboards, the potential for blunt force injuries from plastic weapons and impact injuries from nonmotorized scooters.

However, the nonprofit “tends to needlessly frighten parents,” said Joan Lawrence, vice president of safety standards at the Toy Association, an industry group of toy manufacturers and retailers. Toy safety is highly regulated under federal law, she said.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

Americans bought homes at a quicker pace in May. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes rose 1.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million units. Sales have risen 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, but home buyers are facing greater financial and time pressures because of shrinking inventories. Listings have slid 8.4 percent in the past 12 months to 1.96 million. Homes are staying on the market for a median of just 27 days. And the median sales price has risen 5.8 percent from a year ago to $252,800.

Two driverless shuttles will begin operating at the University of Michigan this fall, the school announced Wednesday. The 15-passenger electric shuttles will carry students and staff in a two-mile loop on campus roads. A trained specialist will ride on each shuttle but won’t steer it. The shuttles, which go about 15 miles an hour, are made by French start-up NAVYA, which has deployed 25 shuttles worldwide since last year.

Boeing secured twice as much in order value at the Paris Air Show as rival Airbus, marking the U.S. planemaker’s first victory in five years at the aviation industry’s annual showcase. Boeing won orders and expressions of interest for about 370 planes worth as much as $52 billion in the three days through Wednesday, getting a boost from demand for the Max 10, the biggest version of its 737 workhorse. Airbus posted a tally of 229 airliners valued at about $25 billion. The haul of about $77 billion in deals easily surpassed the $50 billion signed at last year’s show in England. Global liquor giant Diageo said Wednesday that it will pay up to $1 billion to buy a tequila brand co-founded by George Clooney. The actor founded the Casamigos brand four years ago with partners Rande Gerber and Mike Meldma. Diageo said it will initially pay $700 million for Casamigos and then pay another $300 million over 10 years if the brand hits certain performance milestones. Clooney and Gerber, an entrepreneur married to model Cindy Crawford, have appeared in ads for the brand.

Girls Scouts will now have the chance to earn their first-ever cyber security badges. The first of 18 cyber security badges will be rolled out in September 2018, Girl Scouts of the USA said in a news release. The education program is being developed in partnership with Palo Alto Networks, a security company. The move to instill “a valuable 21st century skill set” in girls best known for cookie sales is also aimed at eliminating barriers to cybersecurity employment, such as gender and geography, said Sylvia Acevedo, the organization’s chief executive.

From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims.

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.