Cheat Sheet Q&A:
Bottom Line: Today’s question comes from a listener who wanted me to verify if the state did have an opportunity to negotiate lower health insurance rates for policies Floridians. In May the state (backed by Governor Scott) did rescind the right to have the state insurance commissioner attempt to negotiate insurance cost to Floridians. They instead deferred to a Federal official who has the right to negotiate on behalf of all Americans who would obtain insurance on the exchange.
Not surprisingly Democrats quickly picked up on this decision and have been attempting to make this a campaign issue as we head into next year. So what’s the take on this?
I don’t believe there is any actual outcome difference for Floridians based upon this decision but I do believe that from a political perspective it was poor form for the state to rescind the right.
In the case of the federal exchange there is a department and official that has oversight power and responsibility a la a state insurance commissioner. Given the level of uncertainly with the Federal exchange and policies offered through them – it likely makes sense to allow the Federal official to perform the task over policy oversight. Democrats will continue to attack and claim that it’s hypocritical to fight against the federal insurance mandates and then turn over negotiation rights to the Feds. They have a point and I’m sure they’ll try to drive it home.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: email@example.com
Consumer Reports auto brand reliability:
Bottom Line: About 40% of all Americans seek out Consumer Reports information prior to buying a vehicle. That makes their report the most significant of any publication. This year’s report comes with a handful of surprises. First I’ll hit the top 5 list for brand reliability:
Notable moves. Ford fell dramatically now ranking just 26th of 28 brands. Nissan took a huge fall from 9 to 22. Nissan’s best seller, the Altima, is no longer recommended and only one Ford model, the F150, ranked about average. It wasn’t all good news for
If you really want to drill down before making a buying decision on a car I think it’s worth subscribing to CR’s website (it runs about $30 per year).
Beware of iOS 7 for the time change & latest update:
Bottom Line: Two quick hitters.
You may recall a couple of years ago we had problems with the alarm not adjusting with the time change (it happened to be in Spring so many ended up waking up late). Be on your toes and set a backup alarm if needed incase we do have a repeat problem.
You may not have known that there is another update to iOS7. Your device won’t alert you to it so you need to go into your settings and version to see if there is an update waiting for you. The update fixes a myriad of bugs.
Boom in long term car financing:
Bottom Line: If you’re financing a vehicle purchase there’s now a 1 in 5 chance you’ll take out a seven year loan. For virtually the entire history of auto financing the longest duration loan you’d have an option of taking out was the 60 month or five year loan. Auto prices continue to rise with the average new car selling for more than 30k. With incomes virtually unchanged many have been opting for the long duration auto loan. Seven year loan volume is up 25% over last year and now nearly 20% of all car loans are longer duration. I’m not a fan of this practice because an automobile is a depreciating asset and all a longer duration loan does is ensure that you pay more interest over a longer period of time for an asset that is constantly losing value.
Should the NFL be tax exempt?:
Bottom Line: While NFL teams don’t enjoy the benefits of non-profit status, the NFL itself does. Most of us probably didn’t know that the NFL, which happens to be the most valuable sports entity in this country by a wide-margin, is a non-profit entity. The NFL sees billions of revenue pass through its properties each year and the league itself obtains $250 million per year alone just in fees from the NFL teams. So…
Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has filled a bill to revoke the NFL’s non-profit status and have them enter the world as a tax paying enterprise. He has a petition available at change.org that 275,000 people have signed so far (if you’re interested in signing up). I’m with Coburn on this… There is no reason that we as tax payers should in essence be subsidizing
Pending home sales show 1st decline since the recovery began:
Bottom Line: I always caution any of us to look at the year over year information when evaluating economic info – especially housing data. To date the recovery in housing hadn’t shown any decrease in recovery, though the rate of recovery did begin to slow in August. That is until now.
The National Association of Realtors just reported that pending home sales activity is down by 1.2% year over year coming out of September. That’s the first yoy decline since the housing recovery began in January of 2012. It’s going to be important to watch prices over the next couple of months. If prices decline year over year along with activity – that would be a concern. Otherwise a slight decline in pending activity could just be explained as part of the natural slowing down of a recovery. More to come.
Report pans Facebook advertising once again:
Bottom Line: 2012 didn’t work out the way Facebook had planned. In 2012 Facebook underwent these mishaps:
But 2013 has been just the opposite:
But now there’s this. Research firm Forrester Research surveyed their 395 clients and made the determination that Facebook advertising is the least effective form of digital advertising. The effective rate is lower than 15% according to Forrester. Yikes. This could be a bigger story than the GM ad pull. Not surprisingly Facebook has responded that Forester’s methodology is flawed and Facebook does work for advertisers. It will be interesting to see what’s next.