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BUSINESS
April 17, 2012 | By Chad Terhune
One-third of consumers are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to seek medical information, discuss symptoms and express their opinions about doctors, drugs and health insurers, according to a new report. These latest results from PwC's Health Research Institute underscore the need for healthcare providers and insurance companies to engage more with consumers online since they are increasingly making medical decisions based on the information they find there. The stakes are likely to grow as millions of younger consumers comfortable with social media enter the insurance market for the first time under the federal healthcare law.  “Those medical providers and payers who are able to use social media are likely to do better in the marketplace as consumers make these decisions,” said John Edwards, a director in PwC's healthcare strategy and business intelligence practice.
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BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
General Mills Inc., maker of Cheerios and other grocery staples, has reversed a recent change to its online legal policy after an outcry by consumers. The policy had been quietly updated last week to include terms under which any dispute with the company would have to be decided through arbitration, a change first reported by the New York Times last week. Critics and legal experts said the new terms could cost consumers their right to sue in court if they merely "liked" General Mills' social media pages, downloaded coupons from its website or entered any company-sponsored contests.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
The White House said Monday that consumers should be able to unlock their smartphones, and that it would support legislation to make such adjustments legal. The Obama administration said consumers deserve the flexibility to unlock their smartphones as well as their tablets, allowing consumers to use a device with a carrier other than the one they bought it from. "It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs," the White House said in response to a petition.
NEWS
October 24, 2012 | By Karin Klein
Discussions of Proposition 37, the initiative that would require labeling of many genetically engineered foods, tend to bring up two arguments that both seem true at first blush. Opponents claim it would raise the price of food; supporters say it would result in better-informed consumers. But both assertions are more dubious than they appear. The No-on-37 campaign bases most of its claims of higher food prices on a study that it paid for, so obviously the findings are hardly unimpeachable.
BUSINESS
April 30, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence rebounded in April as Americans felt better about the economy's short-term prospects and their own incomes, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The group's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 68.1 this month after dropping to 61.9 in March. But while the reading showed an improvement, it was too soon to tell "if confidence is actually on the mend," said Lynn Franco, the Conference Board's director of economic indicators. She noted that "consumers' confidence has been challenged several times over the past few months" by a series of events, including the concerns about the so-called fiscal cliff, the payroll tax increase that kicked in on Jan. 1, and the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
OPINION
February 2, 2002
"Cell Phone Numbers Racket" (editorial, Jan. 17) is well-intentioned but misinformed. As attractive an idea as taking your number with you when you switch wireless providers may be, it will redirect almost $1 billion in its first year and half-a-billion dollars every year thereafter away from consumers' No. 1 concern: continuing to expand coverage and quality. This is a matter of choice. Should the industry spend billions on continuing to fight blocked calls and dropped calls, or should that money be spent on rebuilding the infrastructure for something that will be of value only to a few?
HEALTH
May 7, 2011 | By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News
Cars have sticker prices, ketchup bottles have nutrition-facts labels, and soon health plans will get coverage labels. For the first time, consumers shopping for a health policy will be able to get a good idea of how much of the costs different plans will cover for three medical conditions: maternity care, treatment for diabetes and breast cancer. And because buying insurance is more complicated than buying a can of soup, the proposed insurance labels are two pages long. The labels will provide pricing based on national averages and not exact numbers that consumers can expect to pay. And to begin with, only the three medical scenarios will be listed.
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