I just finished a detailed comparison of my current grandfathered health insurance plan from Kaiser Permanente (kp.org), a respected non-profit healthcare provider, and Kaiser’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) options. I reviewed all the information and detailed tables of coverage and then called a Kaiser specialist to clarify a few questions.
First, the context of my analysis: we are self-employed, meaning there is no employer to pay our healthcare insurance. We pay the full market-rate cost of healthcare insurance. We have had a co-pay plan with kp.org for the past 20+ years that we pay in full because there’s nobody else to pay it. …
… In other words, I have 30+ years of knowledgeable experience with the full (real) costs of healthcare insurance and what is covered by that insurance. …
… The closest equivalent coverage under Obamacare is Kaiser’s Gold Plan. The cost to us is $1,937 per month or $23,244 a year. The Gold Plan covers medications ($50 per prescription for name-brand, $19 for generics) and free preventive-health visits and tests, but otherwise the coverage is inferior: the out-of-pocket limits are $6,350 per person or $12,700 for the two of us. Lab tests are also more expensive, as are X-rays, emergency care co-pays and a host of other typical charges. Specialty doctor’s visits have a $50 co-pay. …
… The real unsubsidized cost of Obamacare for two healthy adults ($23,244 annually) exceeds the cost of rent or a mortgage for the vast majority of Americans. Please ponder this for a moment: buying healthcare insurance under Obamacare costs as much or more as buying a house.
While all eyes have focused on Detroit’s record bankruptcy, an economic crisis is deepening in Puerto Rico that many experts say may be far more harmful to the U.S. economy.
Puerto Rico has been mired in economic recession for almost eight years, with public debt skyrocketing to $70 billion and unemployment climbing to 14 percent, higher than that of any U.S. state. The island’s debt load accounts for 93 percent of its GDP.
Many economic experts worry that Puerto Rico could default on its debt, having a potential direct impact on mainland United States.
In September, Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank announced it would cut bond sales after investors pushed the yield on Puerto Rico bonds above 10 percent. The island’s general obligation bonds have been hovering at just above near-junk status. That worries economic experts who note that many Americans’ retirement funds include Puerto Rico bonds.
“It’s not just the residents of Puerto Rico” who are affected, said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, based in Washington D.C. “It’s Americans across the country who are at risk as well.”
Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej urged the nation to work together for “stability” in a speech on his 86th birthday on Thursday, which was marked with a lull in tensions after violent anti-government protests rocked Bangkok.
The kingdom remains on edge following several days of street clashes during demonstrations aimed at overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and curbing the political influence of her brother Thaksin.
Demonstrators and police in the Thai capital have been observing a temporary truce since Wednesday ahead of the birthday celebrations for King Bhumibol, who is treated as a near-deity by many in the Southeast Asian country.
Kamooneh had plugged an extension cable from his Nissan Leaf into an exterior outlet at Chamblee Middle School in Georgia while watching his 11-year-old boy play tennis, according to The Verge and originally reported by Atlanta’s 11 News.
A police officer appeared and told him he was going to charge him with theft for taking power from the school. Sure enough, police arrested Kamooneh at his house 11 days later and made him spend more than 15 hours in jail.
I’m more of a ‘vanity license plate’ guy.
Don’t use passwords, use passphrases.
He explains it this way:
A passphrase is a short sentence that’s easy for you to remember – that describes something about you and your life, for example – but that a hacker would have a very hard time knowing or guessing.
A Pakistani immigrant who says he was held for more than 10 months in solitary confinement after being falsely arrested on terrorism charges has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Miami, saying he was a victim of “overzealousness” in the U.S. war on terrorism.
Irfan Khan, a 40-year-old Muslim, emigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 1994 and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
He is the son of a 78-year-old south Florida imam who was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a judge in August for funneling more than $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban.
Hafiz Kahn was convicted in March on four counts of providing money and support to the group, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. He had faced a maximum of 60 years in prison, and prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence.
The number of U.S. battlefield fatalities exceeded the rate at which troop strength surged in 2009 and 2010, prompting national security analysts to assert that coinciding stricter rules of engagement led to more deaths.
Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration says that, in 2011 alone, tax cheats were able to steal or falsely obtain some 285,000 employee identification numbers, which the IRS uses to identify a taxpayer’s business account.
In all, the IRS could be issuing around $2.3 billion a year in these sorts of false payments — or around $11.4 billion over a five-year span.
… so that I could spend a hour stomping through knee deep snow and cut my own.
Christmas trees are pretty unpopular, right?
The House must think so, since its farm bill would pave the way to set up a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. Its purpose would be “to enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.”
Kim Kardashian, the centre of all evil in the universe, has managed to annoy even her most ardent followers with a new money and fame generation scheme in which she uses a charitable cause to help bulk up her pre-tax profits. Not just any charity either, but one for survivors of a typhoon.
It all started last friday when the reality TV star set up an eBay auction to aid victims of the Philippines disaster, but then realised that they probably don’t need all of the money (come on, how much do fresh water and paracetamol cost anyway?) and so decided to keep around 90 percent of the revenue, supposedly for overheads. Weirdly, while her fans don’t seem to mind most of the awful shit she does, they’ve had to draw the line at this particular caper. Take a look at her blog to see what we mean…
An employee of Deutsche Bank‘s Japanese brokerage unit was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of showering a local pension fund manger with expensive meals, golf outings and trips overseas in return for some 1 billion yen in investments.
Shigeru Echigo, 36, the former head of Deutsche Securities’ pension fund sales team, was arrested on bribery charges along with a former pension fund manager for a Japanese trading house, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said in a statement read out over the telephone.
Mr. Echigo spent at least 900,000 yen on food and drink, golf and overseas travel for Yutaka Tsurisawa, a pension fund executive for Mitsui, from April to August last year, according to the statement. The favors were meant to express thanks for some 1 billion yen in financial products Mr. Tsurisawa had purchased from Deutche Securities, and to encourage the executive to keep up those purchases, the statement said.
A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into the building which made way for gunmen in another car to storm the premises and occupy part of the complex, before it was retaken by security forces.
Unconfirmed reports suggested the gunmen took advantage of construction work that was taking place to carry out the attack.
Ukrainian envoys will head to Brussels for new EU talks as well as to Moscow, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Wednesday, in the wake of mass demonstrations that followed Kiev’s decision to abandon a deal with the EU due to pressure from Russia.
Video at the link.
It turns out that the way to keep track of your many passwords to online accounts is the same as how to get to Carnegie Hall — practice, practice, practice. So researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a scheme that enables users to create 100 or more passwords by remembering — and regularly rehearsing — a small number of one-sentence stories.
Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the first to observe two crocodilian species — muggers and American alligators — using twigs and sticks to lure birds, particularly during nest-building time.
A computer security researcher has stumbled upon another huge file of stolen user names and passwords that was posted on the ‘net for other hackers to enjoy.
Daniel Chechik, and his fellow researchers at Trustwave SpiderLabs, found a cache of user names and passwords for 2 million accounts that gives hackers access to accounts on popular websites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
Teenagers looking to woo a homecoming date could soon be without a powerful — and pungent — ally.
The proposal sounds odd, but its inspiration is serious. A student at Freedom High School in Bethlehem this spring had a severe allergic reaction to Axe Body Spray — a staple among high-school-aged boys — and was taken to the hospital. He now takes cyber classes.
Hahn does not think that’s a fair set-up for the student, but even she knows regulating fragrance use among teens eager to drench themselves in Britney Spears’ latest scent is a challenge, even legislative overreach. She thinks her proposal, though, could at least start talk about a tough subject.
“If you have a piece of legislation and it’s not enforceable, it doesn’t really help,” she said. “So I’m hoping that we can come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
An American teacher at an international school in Benghazi, Libya, was shot and killed Thursday, according to multiple media reports.
In his latest book, Howard calls the bi-partisan plan for liquidation of the GSEs, “a recipe for disaster”. He says that the amount of risk taken by the GSEs would never be possible if they were not backed by the government anymore. Dick Bove, who has weighed in on the Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac debate several times, also said in a recent note that no bank would be willing to take that level of risk on mortgage rates, especially on the longer dated 20-30 year FRMs, in case the entities are wound down as planned.
Well, at least, he’s being honest.
House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Tuesday that he has hired a longtime advocate of legalizing illegal immigrants to be an adviser, signaling that the Republican is still intent on trying to pass an immigration bill during this congressional session.
Immigrant rights advocates cheered the move as a sign of Mr. Boehner’s dedication to action. Those who want a crackdown on illegal immigration said the top Republican in the House has moved closer to embracing amnesty by hiring Rebecca Tallent, a former staffer for Sen. John McCain and fellow Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe.
“Tallent’s hiring suggests he really does still want to push an amnesty through the House, which to me suggests that the immigration hawks still have their work cut out for them,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “She is a professional amnesty advocate.”