April 6, 2014 |
When Obamacare's first open-enrollment period ended last week, the tally was impressive: 7.1 million Americans signed up for insurance on federal and state exchanges by the March 31 deadline, several million more signed up for Medicaid and a whole lot of under-26 Americans got covered by their parents' plans. Those numbers represent a significant political victory for Democrats, making it highly unlikely that Republicans will be able to deliver on their promise to repeal the law. "You're not going to turn away 7 or 10 million people from insurance coverage," crowed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
March 25, 2014 |
Critics of safety-net programs such as Social Security and Medicare are fond of saying that the private sector would do a much better job of protecting people thanks to the magic of the marketplace. Mike and Judy Holtzman of Laguna Woods are now experiencing the magic of the marketplace for long-term care insurance. And it stings. They were recently informed by their insurer, John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Co., that their annual premiums will almost double. They're both now in their mid-60s.
February 16, 2014 |
Dear Liz: Recently I've paid off almost $20,000 in credit card debt and am determined not to go down that path again. Because I haven't used these cards in a while, though, I'm starting to get notifications from the credit card companies that they're closing my accounts because of inactivity. I know having long-standing accounts on your credit report is a good thing, but I don't want to be tempted to use these cards just to keep the account open. Is it a bad thing if almost all of my credit card accounts get closed?
February 12, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Health insurance sign-ups under President Obama's healthcare law have continued to surge, as more than 1.1 million Americans selected a private plan in January on new marketplaces created by the law. That brings to nearly 3.3 million the number of Americans who have enrolled in coverage since the marketplaces opened in October, according to new data released by the Obama administration. California continues to lead the nation with 728,000 enrollees, more than twice as many as the next-highest state, Florida.
February 9, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Got problems with the company that services your home mortgage - the one that collects your payments, keeps track of your escrow account and lets you know when you're late? So your monthly numbers don't look right? You got blown off by servicing personnel when you tried to get inaccuracies in your account corrected? Well, move over. You've got lots of grumpy company. As of Jan. 31, just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the federal watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned mortgage foul-ups, and the vast majority of these involved servicing, loan modification and foreclosure activities by servicers.
February 3, 2014 |
Maybe reforming federal farm subsidies is a task fit for Sisyphus. Every five years or so, when the farm programs come up for reauthorization, fiscal conservatives and good-government types try to make the subsidies look less like corporate welfare and more like an industrial policy designed to preserve the food supply. The former hands out money to agribusinesses regardless of their size or need for help; the latter focuses aid on farmers whose resources are too thin to buffer them from the vicissitudes of weather and crop yields.