Healthcare is one of the most important services needed by any citizen and the Americans have often had to choose their leaders as per their future plans related to these basic necessities.
With the healthcare expense amounting to nearly 20 per cent of the US economy, the elections this year are no different. In this term of the Presidential election, the debate started with a choice between Obamacare and Trumpcare.
However, Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate and the Former President who served under Barack Obama, is hoping to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and re-launch it under his own name, if he wins the elections.
On the other hand, the current President and the Republican candidate Donald Trump wants to scrap the whole deal altogether. This has started a debate over which approach would be better for the economy.
Bidencare, as many are now labelling it, aims to either increase the federal spending on healthcare by at least $2 trillion (and more) over a period of nearly ten years. Trumpcare, on the other hand, wants to either reduce the funding or, in Trump’s ideal world, completely suspend the federal funding.
The United States had nearly 46.5 million people without health insurance in 2010. This was when Obama decided to help out his fellow Americans and introduced ACA to assist and provide pocket-friendly healthcare insurance. Now the count of Americans without health insurance has dropped down to nearly 30 million, and under Bidencare, the Democrat party expects to reduce this number by at least 15 to 20 million further. Trump, on the other hand, has revealed no such plan and has time and again focused on the need to suspend or decrease federal funding for ACA.
Bidencare, upto this point, does sound like a better plan. The question now is, how will Joe Biden pump in more money into the healthcare plan.
More people can be covered under the healthcare scheme by subsidising health insurance purchases through tax credits. Biden has announced that he will be raising this amount by charging tax from the wealthy taxpayers and will expand public insurance to make sure the medical costs do not skyrocket. However, the plan sounds easier said than done, and whether or not Biden will be able to raise such funds from charging the wealthy groups is a tale that only time can tell. However, if Biden succeeds, the minority groups will be benefitted the most as several pieces of research have shown that the minority groups in the US suffer more chronic diseases, including the novel coronavirus, in comparison to the White nationals.
One thing, however, that is very clear through Bidencare, up to this point, is that if Joe Biden is successful in implementing his health care plan, it will be more beneficial for the economy as uninsured patients, as per few studies, do get expensive treatments and then end up in a bad credit score or if they are unable to pay then it negatively affects the financial stability of the hospitals.
While the Democrats are fighting to make sure their candidate wins the Presidential elections, the Republican President is also fighting another battle in the US court — one with the aim to repeal the ACA.
Trump has been unsuccessful in dismantling Obama’s healthcare plan in his four-year-long term. However, he is now fighting a court battle to fulfil his dream. A Supreme Court hearing is scheduled a week after the US elections.
However, if Trump wins the court hearing (which is not something the experts foresee), there is no specified backup plan to replace the insurance of the almost 21 million Americans who rely on Obamacare.
Some seem to believe that the only backup plan Trump has right now is to distribute the ACA funds to respective state governments who can further assist people by buying private health insurance and provide better coverage even to low-income households, provided it is not misused by the states.
Which leader has a better healthcare plan is a tough decision because while Biden is simply amplifying his former President’s plan, the current President is not revealing his whole set of cards yet. So, whether or not Americans will be able to afford proper healthcare will now only be clear once the next President of the US elections is chosen after the November 03 elections.
Martin Lewis issues guidance on using credit cards to build ratings – best deals | Personal Finance | Finance
Martin Lewis regularly urges savers to use caution when utilising debt themed products but at the same time, he acknowledges the need for a decent credit rating to get by financially. Today, the Money Saving Expert was questioned by viewer Miranda on how one can build their credit rating in difficult circumstances.
“What I’d then like you to do is go and do £50 a month of normal spending on it, things you’d buy anyway.
“[Then] Make sure you pay the card off in full every month, preferably by direct debit so you’re never missing it because the interest rate is hideous.
“That way you won’t pay any interest.
“You do that for a year, you’ll start to build that credit history, showing them you’re a good credit citizen.
“Then you’ll be able to move into the sort of more normal credit card range.
“So, bizarrely, to get credit you need credit. What credit will you get? Bad credit, go get the bad credit just make sure it doesn’t cost you.”
Consumers of all kinds may not have the best options at the moment as recent analysis from moneyfacts.co.uk revealed.
In mid-November, they detailed that a number of high street banks have cut the perks and interest on a number of their current account deals.
On top of this, the Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank made credit interest cuts of up to 0.5 percent.
Rachel Springall, a Finance Expert at moneyfacts.co.uk commented on the few options consumers and savers currently have available: “Clearly, it is vital consumers decide carefully if now is the time to switch, but if they wait too long, they may well miss out on a free cash switching perk.
“At present, providers will be assessing how they can sustain any lucrative offers in light of the pandemic.
“With this in mind, we could well see more changes in the months to come and if this does indeed occur, consumers would be wise to review whether their account is still worth keeping.”
Should you use a balance transfer to pay off debt?
A balance transfer might be the solution if you have debts and want to gain control over your finances. But whether a balance transfer is right for you will depend on a number of factors.
Things to consider before using a balance transfer
The size of your debt
If you want to apply for a balance transfer credit card, be aware that most providers will allow you to transfer up to 90% of your credit limit.
Your credit limit will be dependent on your own personal circumstances, including your salary, your credit history and your residential status (homeowner or renter).
Be realistic about your debt. For example, if you earn £25,000 per year and you have a debt of more than £15,000, a balance transfer might not be cheapest way to pay the debt.
The time taken to pay the debt
The main advantage of a balance transfer credit card is that many offer an interest-free period on the balance. So, if you can pay off your balance in that period, you won’t accrue any further interest charges.
However, these periods typically range from 18 to 24 months, so if you think you will need more time to pay the debt, you may need to factor in additional interest charges when the interest-free period ends.
Whether or not a balance transfer is the right debt payment solution will depend on your personal circumstances. Check our balance transfer calculator if you want to work out how much a balance transfer could save you in interest payments.
Your credit score
The advantage of a good credit score cannot be underestimated in this situation.
When applying for a balance transfer credit card, the company will check your credit score. Based on this score, they could refuse your application.
Even if you are accepted, if you have a bad credit score they could reduce your credit limit. Ultimately, this will determine the benefit of a balance transfer as a suitable debt payment solution.
If you think your credit score might be a problem, it’s worth checking with the credit reference agencies before applying. That way you can avoid any nasty surprises.
Alternative solutions to balance transfers
You could still use a balance transfer even if the size of your debt is bigger than the credit limit.
Transferring part of the debt would enable you to benefit from any interest-free period, where applicable.
Alternatively, if you have multiple debts, you could consolidate all of your debts so that you can make a single regular payment. If necessary, you could do this using an unsecured personal loan over a period longer than 24 months.
Look at your own personal circumstances with a critical eye. Remember that you need to factor in living expenses when thinking about how long it will take you to pay off your debt.
Balance transfers are a useful method for debt repayment, but be aware that credit cards are an expensive way to borrow money. Take full advantage of any 0% deals wherever possible. Check out our list of the best 0% credit cards.
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Turn credit declines into a win-win | 2020-11-20
The pandemic has left millions of people needing credit at a time when lending standards are tightening. The result is a lose-lose situation—the consumer gets a bad credit decline experience and the credit union misses out on a lending opportunity. How can this be turned into a win-win?
The case for coaching
Let’s start by deconstructing the credit decline process: The consumer is first encouraged to apply. The application process can be invasive, requiring significant time commitment and thoughtful inputs from the applicant.
After all that, many consumers are declined with a form letter with little to no advice on actions the applicant can take to improve their credit strength. It is no wonder that credit declines receive a poor Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 50 or often much worse.
On the flip side, forward-looking credit unions provide post-decline credit advice. This is a compelling opportunity for several reasons:
- Improved customer satisfaction. One financial institution learned that simply offering personalized coaching, regardless of whether or not consumers used it, increased their customer satisfaction by double digits.
- Future lending opportunities. Post-decline financial coaching can position members for borrowing needs even beyond the product for which they were initially declined.
- Increased trust. Quality financial advice helps build trust. A J.D. Power study noted that, of the 58% of customers who desire advice from financial institutions, only 12% receive it. When consumers do receive helpful advice, more than 90% report a high level of trust in their financial institution.
Provide cost-effective, high-quality advice
AI-powered virtual coaching tools can help credit unions turn declines into opportunities. Such coaches can deliver step-by-step guidance and personalized advice experiences. The added benefit is easy and consistent compliance, enabled by automation.
AI-based solutions are even more powerful when they follow coaching best practices:
- Bite-sized simplicity. Advice is most effective when it is reinforced with small action steps to gradually nurture members without overwhelming them. This approach helps the member build momentum and confidence.
- Plain language. Deliver advice in friendly, jargon-free language.
- Behavioral nudges. Best-practice nudges help customers make progress on their action plan. These nudges emulate a human coach, providing motivational reminders and celebrating progress.
- Gamification. A digital coach can infuse fun into the financial wellness journey with challenges and rewards like contests, badges, and gifts.
Virtual financial coaching, starting with reversing credit declines, represents a huge market opportunity for credit unions. To help credit unions tap into that opportunity, eGain, an award-winning AI and digital engagement pioneer, and GreenPath, a leading financial wellness nonprofit, have partnered to create the industry’s first virtual financial coach. To learn more, visit egain.com.
EVAN SIEGEL is vice president of financial services AI at eGain.
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