Category Archives: Money and risk

Insurance advertising wars, Kars4Kids and “buying eyes”

Advertisements featuring the GEICO lizard, the apron-wearing Flo from Progressive Insurance, and the emu from Liberty Mutual are incessant on the channels I watch. They ought to be; Berkshire Hathaway’s GEICO is consistently one of the top advertisers on television, spending an estimated $1.6 billion annually to reach your eyes, and the other two are close behind Medicare Advantage and… Read more »

Seven bets on your 2022 Medicare supplement

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have just released 2022 premium and deductible information for Parts A (mostly hospital services) and Part B (mostly outpatient services). I have recently updated my reasons why I see Medicaid Advantage (Part C) as a bad alternative to the Part B Medigap plans, and this post demonstrates a simple way to choose a… Read more »

The bad Medicare Advantage bets – 2022 update

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Life Expectancy

The best hospital in my area ran a full-page newspaper advertisement last Sunday stating clearly which Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans that they will accept during 2022 and which they will not. It is no secret that I am not a fan of Medicare Advantage, but even I was shocked to see how few plans that they do accept. Most… Read more »

Drug pricing and game theory

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Drug bottle

The “battle of the commercials” has been going on for some time now. The AARP wants Congress to step in against high prescription prices, especially for “old staples” like insulin. In response, a near-tears diabetic says on my TV that Medicare is going to take her drugs away if Congress limits drug prices (no surprise, the commercial sponsored by PhRMA,… Read more »

One last Trump financial con

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Trump & Barrett

I first wrote about the fragility of the Trump fortune in April of 2018, and that theme has been followed by several more related posts in the years since. I sometimes feel that the financial chroniclers of the Trump Organization like myself and the far more knowledgeable David Farenthold of the Washington Post and Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR’s Planet… Read more »

Penny sucking and corporate tax reform

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Amazon van

When I purchase some stock online, I never try to nail my “limit price” down to the penny. I do not believe that ordinary people can do market timing that well. But that penny means a lot to the high-frequency traders and their AI computer algorithms. In a story that you might not see as connected, Amazon has had to… Read more »

Adam Smith meets the Suez container ship

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Adam Smith

Now that the massive container ship Ever Given has been freed from clogging up the Suez Canal, perhaps we can step back from “crisis economics” to look at the larger state of global transportation logistics. I agree with Australian economist John Quiggin that this event was more of a temporary glitch in this complex system, and perhaps a warning flag… Read more »

Beware the modern-day Gnostics

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Irenaeus

Most people know what an agnostic is, but fewer know much about the people at the root of that word, the Gnostics (without the ‘a’). Gnostics caused one of the first great doctrinal splits in early Christianity, but their intellectual descendants remain today, not just in churches, but also throughout the business and political worlds. And they want to sell… Read more »

Computing your TCO – Total Cost of Ownership

Total Cost of Ownership

In the previous post I introduced the concept of the total cost of home ownership (TCO) as an important number to know if you are in advancing years facing the prospect of taking on a reverse mortgage to cover medical or long-term care bills. This post fleshes out that calculation, and a second scenario goes to the other end of… Read more »

Keeping Tom Selleck away from your door

Storm

Last autumn I published a series of posts about “the economic vacuum cleaner,” the American way of financing “eldercare” that sucks up the estates of middle class Americans at an alarming rate. I will admit to a rather contrarian view of home ownership for those of us in our “golden years.” For far too many people, the conventional wisdom on… Read more »