When Utility Companies Want to Raise Your Rates …

Meet Shirlee C. of South Minneapolis. As a senior on a fixed income, she takes a financial hit every time her utility rate increases. She can’t afford for her bill to keep going up, but her utility company, Xcel Energy, is asking for another $123 a year by 2016. If approved, this would be the seventh rate increase for Minnesotans in just 10 years! Shirlee, and all Americans, should have to pay only what is reasonable for reliable service — and …

Burt’s Bees Founder Still a Maverick at Age 79

Burt Shavitz, the 79-year-old founder of Burt’s Bees cosmetics, lives the life of a recluse. And he’s very happy about it. “There’s no noise,” Shavitz, 79, told the New York Times by way of describing his 40-acre spread in northern Maine. “There’s no children screaming. There’s no people getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning and trying to start their car and raising hell. Everybody has their own idea of what a good place to be is, and this is …

Supporting Seniors, Family Caregivers: Where Does Your State Rank?

My sister always says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I was reminded of this adage when I heard Loren Colman, Minnesota assistant commissioner of continuing care, explain how Minnesota is consistently ranked at the top of the nation when it comes to providing support for seniors and their family caregivers. “We planned,” he said.  Indeed, Minnesota developed a plan decades ago to transform the way the state would deliver long-term care services to older residents in their …

States Start Shifting Focus to Help Seniors Live Independently, at Home

“We need to ‘spring’ your mother,” Pop, who loved prison movies, told me over the phone while asking me to come home that weekend. Mom had been in a rehabilitation center for two weeks following a bad fall and a hospital stay. Both she and Pop were ready for her to go home. My mom and pop, like most Americans, wanted to stay in their home and community as they aged. Pop became the primary family caregiver for Mom, and …

Battleground States in the Fight for Medicaid Expansion

A few days ago, the Maine legislature passed a bill – for the third time – that would expand affordable health coverage for nearly 70,000 residents who earn up to $15,000 a year. These hard-working Mainers – our friends, neighbors, even family – may have lost their jobs or are working in jobs that don’t offer health coverage. Gov. Paul LePage has already vetoed two similar bills to expand Medicaid, which would not only help the thousands of Mainers who …

26 States With a Big Health Coverage Gap

This week, Health Insurance Marketplaces opened in states across the country.  It’s true: Many more Americans will now have access to affordable health care.  But, other hard-working people, who live in states that have not yet committed to expanding Medicaid, will fall into a new coverage gap. That’s right: In the 26 states that have not accepted federal funding to expand Medicaid, adults who earn up to $15,000 a year will not qualify for any type of subsidy through the …