Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Topic: ACA subsidies
What the media is missing is (covering) the government bribe - read premium subsidy- to purchase the (ACA exchange) plans. The people that get a subsidy are going to be happy. The people that don't get a subsidy are going to be very unhappy. Take away the bribe and NOOO one will be happy. If it is such a good idea, why does the government a have to pay for people to do it?
Bottom Line: Today’s question/topic clearly comes from a frustrated individual. Though I’ve covered the subsidies for exchange purchased plans, it’s been awhile and with the exchanges now open I’ll break them down. The eligibility for subsidies on exchange offered plans is based upon income as a percentage of the Federal Poverty Level.
Here is the 2013 Federal Poverty Level breakdown:
How much you can earn and still qualify for a subsidy:
Here is a calculator to figure out what the specific subsidy is based upon one’s specific income and family situation: http://www.valuepenguin.com/aca-subsidy-calculator
Back to the original complaint… The CBO estimates that the ACA subsidies will cost the Federal Government $759 billion in the first five years. That means that tax payers will share the burden of that additional spending. It is in effect Social medicine. The collective Federal tax payers, 57% Americans as of the 2013 tax year, paying for a portion of the healthcare of those who obtain the subsides. The average full time income is currently $48,000. That does make it likely that many if not most exchange users will be receiving subsidies.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: email@example.com
99% of ACA plans are failing to execute insurance coverage:
Bottom Line: The first week of the ACA exchanges were rife with site outages, delays and quite a bit of confusion. We might not know the half of it however. According to ACA administrators only 1% of those who started an application for insurance on one of the exchanges actually completed it successfully. That points to an enormous problem(s).
It’s not known what the biggest culprit is (glitchy site, sites timing out before applications are completed, faulty software or human error) but the outcome could be the same. Thousands or even millions of Americans who think they signed up for insurance but didn’t. Representatives from major insurers have stated that they believe many will find our they don’t have insurance the hard way next year.
With no fix at hand, you need to take matters into your own hands if you are signing up for insurance through the exchange. Follow up with the company you applied for coverage through and perhaps reach out via the contact info at healthcare.gov
The three financial changes we’ve made in the last five years (one is a mistake):
Bottom Line: According to a nationwide AP study of our handling of financial matters they’ve found that we’ve changed our ways three ways:
The first two are great outcomes of the Great Recession. The third is not. Over the last five years Americans have withdrawn a net $1.1 trillion from stocks in individual investment accounts. At the same time we’ve invested $1.3 trillion in bonds and savings accounts. So what’s so bad about that?
The stock market has nearly doubled over the last five years and carries the highest average rate of return of any investment option historically (at over 8% per year). Meanwhile the bonds and savings accounts have been yielding less than the rate of inflation. That means that we’ve been undermining our improved financial habits by hurting our long term outcome. This is a product of allowing money and emotions to cross paths. If this is you, you likely should seek a financial advisor that can help you build a solid long term investment plan to take advantage of your two improved habits.
Income tax just turned 100 years old - perspective:
Bottom Line: Ahh yes, the good old Federal Income tax. Actually it’s not all that old considering that it’s been around for less than half of our countries history. Since history education is lacking these days here are some factoids about the Federal income tax:
One college football poll where the SEC isn't in the top 5 and hasn't been:
Bottom Line: The annual Harris poll studying the most popular college football teams has a new number 1 but what it still doesn’t have is an SEC team in the top five. The most popular college football teams right now are:
Notre Dame wrested the top spot away from last year’s #1
Is it legal for email companies to scan your emails?:
Bottom Line: Until now the practice of email scanning by free email providers like Google and Yahoo have been found to be legal. After all they have a user agreement (that you don’t read) you accept that says that they can scan your email and use information to sell for marketing purposes. Attempts to sue these companies haven’t gained any traction in the courts, until now.
A lawsuit against Google over scanning practices has been granted its day in a California Federal Court. On back of that news another lawsuit against Yahoo has been filed. It appears as though we’re heading down the path of finically knowing what the extent of email privacy can be expected. In recent years paid email services that don’t scan emails (like Reagan.com) have popped up. I’m sure they’ll be closely watching these cases as the progress.
Angie’s List cuts prices - has reviews that aren't more reliable:
Bottom Line: Angie’s List has cut membership pricing to as low as $10 per year in certain markets. The allure of Angie’s list vs. other review sites has been that users must pay to post and receive review information. Theoretically that would legitimize the reviews (given that free review sites often contain some fraudulent reviews). Consumer Reports says not so fast.
CR says that Angie’s list is susceptible to ill legit reviews despite the membership requirements and they are calling into question the business practice of advertising within the site. Any A or B rated company can advertise to increase their profile on the site. CR says that often can be deceptive to users who think that the increased exposure through advertising could mean that they’re the more highly regarded company.
Angie’s List may still be effective for you; you just don’t want to have blinders on when using the site.
3D printing is getting cheaper - Engadget recommends two options at $500:
Bottom Line: Like all technology, with a little time the price comes down quite a bit. We’re now there with 3D printers. The experts at Engadget have identified two options for the entry level casual user that cost $500. For the frustrated engineer in you click here for them: