USPS Hires Futurist to Assess the Future of Stamps

Sep 25, 2013, 1:27 pm EST

The U. S. Postal Service is in trouble due to the sharp decline in stamp sales that’s taken place in recent years.

Reuters reports that USPS is hiring Faith Popcorn’s Brain Reserve – a futurist marketing consultancy – to provide “analysis and recommendation on the future of stamps.” The postal service is paying $565,769 to the consultancy to help them figure out how to get back to making money from stamps. USPS is currently losing about $25 million a day due to the rise of online communication.

The company expects its first-class mail to suffer a 40.5% decline from 84 billion pieces in 2009 to 50 billion in 2020. Stamped mail makes up about 43% of the USPS’s total revenue. Read 

Which Trader Lost a Fortune Betting on Mitt Romney?

Sep 25, 2013, 10:29 am EST

A new report has found that a single trader who lost millions to an online trading site betting Mitt Romney would win the 2012 election may have also gave the appearance the race was closer than it was.

Buzzfeed today reports that in the fall of 2012, one unidentified millionaire lost “at least $4 million” on a bet that Mitt Romney would become president over Barack Obama.

The findings are from research by Microsoft’s David Rothschild and Columbia’s Rajiv Sethi, who studied trading patterns on the now-illegal, which allowed speculators to bet on all sort of activities, including elections. Read 

The Average Price You’ll Pay for Obamacare Insurance

Sep 25, 2013, 10:00 am EST
The Average Price You’ll Pay for Obamacare Insurance

Americans can expect to pay an average of $328 a month for a mid-tier Obamacare insurance plan.

The price of these plans can be lowered through tax credits, which work as an upfront discount. A report by the Health and Human Services estimates that 95% of consumers will have at least two health insurance providers to chose from. There are four levels of insurance coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The different levels each cover a percentage of expected cost, ranging from 60% to 90% depending on the plan.  The average doesn’t mean that’s what everyone will pay. Factors such as location, family size, age and the type of plan chosen can all affect the price of insurance. An individual in Minnesota will pay an average of $192 a month for a silver plan, but an individual in Wyoming will pay an average of $516 for the same plan, reports the Associated Press.

Health insurers including UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET), WellPoint (WLP) and Humana (HUM) will all sell plans on some of the exchanges. Molina Healthcare (MOH), which focuses on Medicaid, will also have a part to play in the exchanges, reports Reuters. Read 

VIDEO: Watch Ted Cruz Read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ During His Filibuster

Sep 25, 2013, 9:59 am EST

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is staging a faux filibuster — not technically one because of legislative rules — to delay the Senate from voting on the House bill that strips funding from Obamacare.

Senate Democrats are eager to amend the bill and restore funding for the law, but Sen. Cruz wants to first draw attention to the issue and delay any early voting by the Senate. Read 

IRS Official Entwined in Tea Party Tax Scandal Retires

Sep 24, 2013, 9:47 am EST

The woman who famously pleaded the Fifth Amendment — protection against self incrimination — during her testimony before Congressional committee concerning the Tea Party tax scandal has retired.

Lois Lerner had been on administrative leave since May.

Lerner was the official in charge of the IRS’s tax-exempt-organizations division and admitted at a law conference that some groups were flagged for review (while reports noted only groups that were targeted were ones with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, non-conservative groups were targeted as well, including Palestinian-rights group.) Read 

10 Things to Know About the New Health Care Exchanges Coming Oct. 1

Sep 23, 2013, 1:33 pm EST
10 Things to Know About the New Health Care Exchanges Coming Oct. 1

The Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — will be changing the way most of us get health care when its health care exchanges open their doors on Oct. 1.

The Seattle Times came up with a list of 20 things to know about the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges and what this new law entails. Here are 10 of the most notable things to know about Obamacare. You must have health insurance next year in order to avoid paying a penalty. You’re pretty much covered if you have an individual plan, but you’ll probably have to change it once Obamacare kicks in. Your insurer will probably inform you of this and chances are that your new plan will cover more. Kids can be on their parents’ policy until they are 26 years old. You can exchange your insurance through your local insurance-exchange marketplace, but you can also opt to buy individual insurance through the broker or through your current insurer. You should probably make an appointment way ahead of time since more insured people equals more people in the waiting room. Insurance costs aren’t going down anytime soon. Health care is still a business after all. Businesses are required to cover their workers’ insurance until 2015 so there’s a chance you won’t get your insurance through your job. Legal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for five years or more can buy insurance on the exchanged and qualify for subsidies, but undocumented immigrants will still have to rely on community clinics and emergency rooms for their health care. You can’t sign up for health care whenever you want. There are specific open-enrollment periods where you can sign up for insurance. This year’s sign-up period lasts from Oct. 1 to March 2014 so make sure you get your insurance then. Shorter enrollment periods will exist after this one. More information about the ACA will soon be available as seminars, advertisers and info packets about it will soon be everywhere.

You can read more about the Affordable Care Act here. Read 

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