States Step Up for Retirement Security

Are you saving (enough) for retirement? The numbers paint a worrisome picture – for Americans, our families and the nation. Three-quarters of Americans age 55-64 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts as of 2010. And, more than 70 million American workers do not have any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan. Clearly, we need some help to get on the road to retirement savings – and more effective ways to save money for our future. This is where the …

Those Left Out of Medicaid Expansion Won’t Be Penalized … Or Insured

By Alvin Tran, Kaiser Health News Low-income Americans who live in states that have decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility will not face penalties if they fail to buy insurance next year. Discussion: 78 million consumers saved $3.4 billion on ACA-provisioned health insurance That’s according to a final rule on exemptions to the health law’s individual mandate – the law’s controversial requirement that most Americans have health coverage or pay a penalty in 2014. That rule was published Wednesday. The health …

Countdown to Care: Winners and Losers

In the mad rush to pass budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the health care of hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans is at stake – and time is running out.  As I write, only about half of the states have agreed to expand Medicaid, which will extend health coverage to residents who earn about $15,000 a year or less.  The closer we come to July 1, the greater the wins and harder the losses: Key Winners: 300,000 …

Who Pays Some of the Highest Gas and Electric Bills?

Meet Paula Wood from Alabama. Retired, once married – now single, supporting herself on Social Security alone, Paula must make sacrifices to make ends meet. But, her electric bills have skyrocketed from $50 to $300 a month in six years. Paula has cut her budget in every possible way. She says, “I also have bronchial asthma, so I have to use power to be able to maintain breathing… If I didn’t have to eat and I didn’t have to breathe, …

Taxes on Social Security, Prescription Drugs, Food?

Tax reform proposals are bubbling up in a number of states across the country as elected officials look for ways to stimulate the state’s economy or revamp outdated tax codes. Sometimes, however, a key element gets lost in the debate: what’s fair. Right now, in North Carolina, state leaders are working on a variety of proposals that would force North Carolinians to pay new taxes on the things they count on most, including the basics of everyday living. One Senate …

3 Questions When Utility Companies Try to Raise Your Rates

Across the country, a number of gas and electric companies are looking to increase their customers’ bills. The cost of everything is going up, but sometimes utilities ask for too much. Here are 3 questions you should ask the next time your utility company tries to raise your rates: 1) When rates go up, will quality improve? Is the utility being held accountable for providing reliable service? 2) What impact do raised rates have on the company’s profit? Is the …