Sunday, November 25, 2012

Do you own funds with low ratings?

You can avoid mutual funds with the lowest ratings
Morningstar's 10 lowest-rated large fund firms include all the well-known brands and some have the highest fees.
Low fee funds beat high fee funds in every period, according to Morningstar.
Which mutual fund family is best for you?
We help you pick the funds to use for the long haul:

Taxing the rich can raise $824 billion
Letting tax rates rise to Clinton era levels for those families making over $250,000 a year would 'only' raise $824 billion over ten years. Many GOP believe the Administration's insistence on these tax increases has nothing to do with fiscal issues. "...the true reason for raising taxes is to increase "class warfare" and to punish "evil colonialist and oppressive capitalism." Where does GOP find this stuff? Clinton era tax levels produced high employment and surplus. $824 billion is a lot of money!!

SC state workers no longer offered LTCi
The state's long-term care insurance is a voluntary program, meaning employees paid 100 percent of the premiums and taxpayers paid zero. But the insurance is expensive, and state workers got a group discount. That discount will stop after June, 2013. About 11,000 individuals had signed up for the coverage out of about 450,000 people under the state health plan. South Carolina has offered the insurance since 1988 -- but they are not required to offer it. Prudential, the insurer, left the market.

Have you planned to pay for your parents’ medical care bills?
29 states have laws that give the government access to your financial means, even in retirement. Check your state: Some states may have laws but they are not enforced since Medicaid picks up the tab. Some states will not go after your retirement money. An elder lawyer can help you plan. Our Long-term Care Insurance Guide has alternatives:

ME TX WI Govs say not help citizens with health care
Maine will let the federal government take the reins on setting up a mandated online health insurance market, according to Gov. LePage. "I'm not lifting a finger," he said in an interview.
Gov. Rick Perry, in a follow-up letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, reiterated Texas' decision not to implement a state insurance exchange as part of Obamacare.
Scott Walker says Wisconsin will not set up a health insurance exchange under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The Supreme court has ruled ObamaCare is valid.

ObamaCare defines essential health benefits for all
Feds define the “essential health benefits” that must be offered to most Americans and by allowing employers to offer much bigger financial rewards to employees who quit smoking or adopt other healthy behaviors. Under the rules, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people because they are sick or have been ill. They also cannot charge women more than men, as many now do. Most states are defining essential benefits to be those provided by the largest health plan in the state’s small-group insurance market. However, to comply with the law, federal officials said, insurers must provide certain additional benefits, including dental care and vision services for children, treatment of mental health and drug abuse problems, and “habilitative services” for people with conditions like autism or cerebral palsy.

Drivers surfing the Web while driving
State Farm reports there are more drivers using their Smart phones while driving causing near misses and hits on other drivers. If you are in an accident, check whether the other driver has a Smart phone in his hand. This could indicate he was surfing while driving.

Safe drivers save with proof
Seeking discounts on auto insurance, more drivers are agreeing to install monitors in their cars to record their driving habits. Driving data is collected with a device that policyholders must be persuaded to install; it connects to the car’s computer system via a diagnostic port found in all cars since 1996. Such “user-based insurance,” the name for individualized pricing based on data collected from a vehicle, is spreading. Drivewise from Allstate is in 10 states; Drive Safe and Save, from State Farm, is in 16, with 11 more to be added next month; and Snapshot, from Progressive, is in 43. Use all 15 discounts:

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

Insurers caught holding life insurance benefits for themselves
Regulators said John Hancock selectively used the Social Security Administration's Death Master File database to end benefits payments, but didn't use it to find deceased policyholders or their beneficiaries. The company also agreed to pay $13.3 million to the six states. AIG, Prudential, MetLife, Nationwide reached have reached similar settlements.

Bank lied to investors on mortgages
Regulators accused Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank, of misleading investors over the quality of residential mortgage-backed securities. The deception resulted in losses to investors of some $11.2 billion, according to the suit.

Education — not government regulation — is the best approach to take to protect seniors, said Mr. Abagnale, who has spent the last 36 years teaching agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation how to detect and combat fraud. He advocated public service announcements to point out common scams and explain how to avoid becoming a victim. The famous 'Catch Me If You Can' con artist warns about scams targeting seniors.

Two men accused of stealing the identities of terminally ill people to reap $30 million from insurance companies and brokerage houses pleaded guilty Monday, several days into their trial, and face prison sentences of up to 10 years each. Estate planning ‘lawyer’ and ‘philanthropist’ Joseph Caramadre, 50, and his former employee Raymour Radhakrishnan, 28, each entered guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Providence to single counts of wire fraud and conspiracy, ending the trial.

Bankers Life still hadn't revised its procedures to ensure that claims were paid and that claim investigations were completed in a timely manner. Bankers Life also failed to update its underwriting practices to ensure “complete and accurate” applications, and the insurer did not revise its maximum-benefit claim denial letters to include details of a restoration of benefits provision in the contract, according to regulators.

Who owns your account now?
Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio and Citation Insurance Company, to an affiliate of White Mountains Insurance Group

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

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