According to one survey, 12% of companies plan to exclude spouses on health care plans to save on costs and offset the effects of the Affordable Care Act.
The United Parcel Service UPS will no longer cover employees’ spouses on the company health plan. And while it’s not the only company to have adopted the policy, it’s among the largest.
Some 15,000 UPS spouses who can obtain health coverage through their own jobs will be dropped from the plan. In a memo to employees, the company explained that the change was intended to offset the effects of the Affordable Care Act, which were expected to increase its health care costs by 4%.
By denying coverage to spouses, employers not only save the annual premiums, but also the new fees that went into effect as part of the Affordable Care Act. This year, companies have to pay $1 or $2 "per life" covered on their plans, a sum that jumps to $65 in 2014. And health law guidelines proposed recently mandate coverage of employees’ dependent children (up to age 26). But husbands and wives are optional.
"The question about whether it’s obligatory to cover the family of the employee is being thought through more than ever before," says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.
While surcharges for spousal coverage are more common, next year, 12% of employers plan to exclude spouses, up from 4% this year, according to a recent Towers Watson survey. These "spousal carve-outs," or "working spouse provisions," generally prohibit only people who could get coverage through their own job from enrolling in their spouse’s plan.
Letting your kids play with your devices led to $2.8 billion in spending to repair or replace those items. Think about that next time junior wants to play with your smartphone.
Those kids! So full of energy. So reckless. So expensive.
Victim of youthful exuberance (among many other things): your electronic devices. The electronic warranty company SquareTrade said its research found that half of American parents reported that their children had damaged at least one electronic device.
The damages for the kid carnage? A whopping $2.8 billion for repair and replacement costs, SquareTrade said.
One reason kids wreak such havoc on their parents' devices is simple access. Nearly three-quarters of parents allow their children to use their personal devices, the company found. And close to two-thirds of the time there was kid-caused damage it came during time off from school. And 80% of the time the damage happened at home. In other words, Mom and Dad could have prevented the damage, in theory, anyway. In promoting how at risk our devices are, SquareTrade is hoping to gain more customers of its electronics protection plans.
Doctors and other medical workers are among the first to notice signs of elder abuse and fraud, according to a recent survey. Another reason to listen to the doctor.
This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site U.S. News & World Report.
“My father has used a computer for the last 20 years, but he has now lost most of the awareness of many routine, necessary things to do to protect himself online,” he writes. His father, he adds, surfs the Web just enough to get himself into trouble, including making contact with strangers who then call him and send him mail.
Thomas, who asked to be identified by his first name only, urges his father not to talk to strangers on the phone or install unfamiliar programs on his computer, but his father does so anyway. Plus, Thomas says, his father would be furious if anyone took away his computer. Thomas wants to know what he can do to help keep his father safe.
For the frugal-minded, a treat that happens every day is no longer a treat -- it's overhead. A review of some tried-and-true advice may be in order.
This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner site Money Talks News.
These days it seems everyone is exploring new and novel ways to save more money. But sometimes in our quest for fresh ideas, we tend to forget the basics that served us so well in the past. When that happens, it helps to take a step back and brush up on those tried-and-true methods that we may be neglecting.
If you're in need a frugal refresher, here are seven classic money-saving tips that are worth another look:
1. Buy used
Let someone else take depreciation on the chin. Buying used cars, secondhand appliances in good working order, even gently used clothes and books is one of the single best money-saving moves a person can make.
But buying used takes some forethought and strategy. Don't wait until you need an item to buy it; instead plan ahead. Ask yourself, "What will my family need three months or six months down the road? What should I keep an eye out for now so I don't have to pay retail when it's crunch time?"
Scour thrift stores for great winter clothing bargains during the dog days of summer. Pick up a used patio set from the classifieds in autumn. Understanding what your future needs will be makes buying used a whole lot easier.
Wanting to believe things that seem too good be true, along with trying to help family members, can have serious, unintended consequences.
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.
Fewer have pensions to supplement their Social Security income in retirement. Low interest rates mean their savings don't grow quickly -- unless they are willing to invest in higher-risk financial products.
Here are five major credit mistakes older Americans make, and what to do about them.
Researchers wondered what the real-estate crisis has done to those of us who haven't lost our homes. Here's what they learned.
Madelyn Insley put on 10 pounds last year after she started working again after being a stay-at-home mom.
"I assumed my weight gain was due to a blown knee from overtraining and sitting at a desk all day instead of chasing toddlers around all day," she wrote in an email.
Then she heard about the work of Harvard University researcher Mariana Arcaya. Now Insley wonders if the three foreclosed houses within a stone's throw of her own home might also have something to do with her weight gain.
Arcaya has been measuring stress on neighbors of foreclosed homes. She began in 2010, in the middle of the housing crisis, after watching a TV news discussion about whether government or lenders should help people who were losing their homes to foreclosure.
The FTC says a business that claimed to expedite loans actually used information provided online to raid thousands of victims' bank accounts, to the tune of $5 million.
That's what the Federal Trade Commission said allegedly happened, and cost "tens of thousands" of consumers some $5 million. The federal agency announced Wednesday that it received a court order to stop the business and freeze its assets.
"Repeatedly, we’ve seen situations where consumers provide sensitive financial information when inquiring about a payday loan online, and that information falls into the wrong hands," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The FTC is committed to shutting down these fraudulent operations."
Office visits for your four-legged friends can cost more than yours do. But you don't have to roll over. Here are some specific tips to take a bite out of vet bills.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
I rushed her to the vet. The vet examined her for a few minutes and started to chuckle. Then my puppy let out a bellowing burp and the vet actually started to laugh. When he asked me if I had left dog food out, I remembered the large bowl on the kitchen floor for my other dog. My puppy had four cups of food in her ½-cup stomach.
It wasn't serious -- although food bloat can be a very serious condition -- but I wasn't laughing when I got the bill for $100.
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