Friday, June 22, 2012

MA loves universal mandate despite Romney flip

MA loves universal coverage despite what Romney says

Universal coverage, including an individual mandate, has evidently not hurt the Massachusetts economy. It may have even helped the state's strong tech sector by providing health care security for entrepreneurs starting businesses.

The Tea party hates the mandate until they go to the hospital. Most Tea people are for Medicare—the single payer mandate.

This is the GOP plan. “Live free and pay through the nose” AFTER you get sick?

FSA may become “use-it and use-it” not "use-it-or-lose it"

Flexible spending account owners forfeit any unused balances. The "use-it-or-lose it" rule was initially put in place to keep highly-paid workers from abusing the program by deferring taxes on large amounts of salary, essentially using the program as a tax shelter. In 2013, however, the maximum FSA contribution will be limited to $2,500, which invalidates the original purpose of the rule. While the fate of the House legislation is uncertain, the IRS is also looking at the possibility of lifting the FSA "use-it-or-lose-it" rule. This account is used to pay any out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered.

RomneyCare is what we already have—millions without insurance

At a rally, he said he would prevent people with pre-existing medical conditions with a history of health coverage from losing their insurance. Doesn’t say how. Romney said he would also press for more private insurance options for senior citizens from Medicare and help states address the needs of an estimated 50 million uninsured Americans by freeing up federal funds from the national Medicaid program for the poor. "It's important for us, in my view, to make sure that every American has access to good healthcare," he said while offering few details on his proposals.

We have access now, we just can’t afford it. Romney can’t understand the situation because he can fire his insurer and get another one. Actually he is self-insured with $200 million in offshore banks he can afford to pay $2 mil out of pocket.

Do you really need life insurance later in life?

Sellers claim that you need to buy life insurance for three reasons. 1. Protect your family from loss of income if you die prematurely. 2. Estate taxes must be paid and you would have to sell something to pay the tax in 9 months. 3. Funerals are expensive. Only one of these is a legit reason and you don’t need to pay for the expensive permanent life insurance to take care of your family. Term coverage is cheap and takes care of reason #1.

Estate taxes begin after you have $5.12 million in assets. If you and your spouse title assets equally, you have no worries for $10 million. If you have that kind of money, there are many solutions that cost less than insurance. #3 can be taken care of with many of the same solutions. Few people need to buy expensive insurance for funerals. The premium is more than you can accumulate in any low-cost mutual fund. Besides you can specify how you want your funeral handled and plan for the costs. You might even give your body to science so someone else might be helped instead of having family cry over your body and then ‘store’ it under ground.  

How much are you paying your 401k or regular mutual fund’s directors?

These wealthy people meet 4 times a year and some take home $260,000 a year each! That is all they do for you. They are usually picked by the management company so they don’t really get to live up to their job—Stewardship. They are supposed to be on your side when it comes to keeping fees down and keep the manager honest. They get paid for being a rubber stamp, let’s face it. If they really did what you paid them for, they would not allow managers to do the things they have done—pay for bad performance and give special deals to big investors. The directors get to stay as long as the manager wants their votes. Even the Supreme Court has seen that directors “cannot, as a practical matter, sever its relationship with the advisor.”

Stop paying for expensive managers and their friends’ $260,000 club. The costs are not shown on your statement. If your money earns 5%, you only get 3.5%. And they get raises every year so you end up paying about 40% of your total nest egg for nothing. Member avoid the high-cost funds:

Is talking to your car really worth all the problems?

Ford thinks it is. Ford hit the [near] bottom of the list of J.D. Power & Associates annual Initial Quality Survey of new-vehicle owners. You have to reboot your Ford now.  Jaguar (India’s Tata) finally got it together and improved from 20th to 2nd. Lexus is 1st with Honda family 5th. So if you can do without the distraction of a computer screen in your face, you might find a value—quality at right price—in a regular ride. Yes, people actually yell at their car when it doesn’t understand English. Duh. That’s what people are for. 

Will Social Security benefits grow in future?

Falling housing prices, diminished 401(k) accounts, and the growing number of adult children returning home are among the factors leading two thirds (65%) of Americans aged 48-60 to believe that they will have to work beyond the age of 65. If we work after age 65, we will add to the credits of our SS benefits. We also can make sure we can afford health care. We can build our own “lifestyle” security and not have to worry about government benefits. We have enough time to do it:

CA wants to give workers, without 401k, a pension run by private managers

Supporters say employers just don’t want to deal with pensions. There are 7 million workers who don’t have access to a plan at work. Under the bill passed by the Senate, employees would defer 3% of their salary into the plan unless they opted out. Employers could make matching contributions. The plan would guarantee a minimum return tied to the 30-year Treasury bond rate. (Vanguard’s VUSTX= 9%) Industry groups are fighting the bill even though they would be the recipients of $ millions in fees.

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?

This expensive way to get cash out of your house may be your only alternative. It assumes you have equity and few other assets. However, before you make this decision, study your alternatives. RM is expensive—just like a regular mortgage. RM is an investment for the bank so they are NOT likely to give you a break on fees or rate. RM is usually irreversible. Yes, your family can buy your house back from the bank when you pass, but again, it is on the bank’s terms. The alternatives include home equity line of credit. In these low interest times, you can pay 3.24% on $200,000 with no fees. Some allow interest only payments. $200K in a balanced fund might earn 7% and you don’t even touch the principal. Or, you could sell your house to the kids for monthly income or to pay off debts. Some people have rented out a room to gain income. Others have moved to a smaller place and lived on the rental income from the old. RM does not allow this flexibility. An outright sale provides cash to rent or downsize. RM makes little sense with cheaper alternatives.

Socialism for the rich—Hungry will have to rely on charity

A New York senator will try to cut $4.5 billion from the nation's publicly subsidized crop insurance program to preserve spending on the nation's food stamp program.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., will offer an amendment to the new farm bill that the Senate could vote on as early as Tuesday. The farm bill, which is of particular importance in Minnesota and other Farm Belt states, contains an expansion of the crop insurance program designed to make up for the elimination of direct payments to farmers.

Gillibrand said on Monday that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that food stamp cuts currently in the farm bill would take away an average of $90 per month in payments to nearly half a million households.

Will lobbyists or the poor win?                      Lobbyists won—Agribusiness got more!

Did you ever wonder how Mr Romney paid less than 15% tax on his $21 million income last year? Warren Buffett says he doesn’t hide his wealth in offshore accounts like Romney and pays only 17%. You can reduce your state and federal taxes too. Law Steeple, one of our Insiders, shows you how.

Tax-FREE Retirement: Use the tax code for lifetime income free of tax

SCAMS           “Only the little people pay taxes.” Leona Helmsley

“nonprofit” Insurers sit on $1 billion while sick go without insurance

WA Premera Blue Cross and Regence BlueShield each now have surpluses of more than $1 billion, according to their most recent filings for the three months that ended in March, The Associated Press reported. The annual double-digit increases in premiums over the past several years have forced employers to pass on more of the costs to employees or stop offering insurance as a benefit. The cost of individual health policies in Washington more than doubled between 2005 and 2011. Yet despite the high costs, people have little choice but to buy coverage -- for now. Having no health insurance puts families at risk of financial ruin.

CA insured to get refunds—Travelers charged wrong rates?

Insurer Travelers Companies will pay $10.5 million in refunds and penalties for violations. Travelers will refund $9 million to customers and pay a $1.5 million fine for violations in the first six months of 2006, the state said. Examiners looked at nearly 1,300 policies and found about 220 errors, mostly related to improper underwriting or the improper application of rates.

BoA Merrill caught overcharging customers since 2003

Merrill will pay fine and reimburse $32 million to 95,000 customers. Time to move your account?

America for sale? President for sale? Our representatives for sale?

Oracle's Larry Ellison just bought a Hawaiian island. He paid $600 million; no tax. He has $36 Billion left.


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