Monthly Archives: December 2014

The shocking number of moms who move in with others, and how much money they save

By Dina ElBoghdady

There’s been exhaustive, and even obsessive, analysis of how the lousy economy has pushed young adults to move back home with their parents, contributed to the multiple-generations-under-one-roof trend, and affected the economy and maybe even modern-day culture.

Less explored is what this “doubling-up” phenomenon means for families with young children. Some research shows that such families heavily rely on moving in with relatives (or non-relatives) to make ends meet in times good and bad. But how many of them do that? How much money do they save, if any? And are the savings meaningful?

It turns out that doubling-up really is a valuable safety net for families with kids, according to a study recently published in the journal Demography. The study tracked 3,000 children born between 1998 and 2000 in 20 large U.S. cities. It found that nearly half of those kids – 49 percent to be exact — have lived in doubled-up households at least once in their first nine years of life. Doing so saved their families more than $4,000 on average each year, a substantial sum given that the mothers who were interviewed for the study earned $15,000 on average. (Keep in mind this only reflects what the moms earned when their kids were young. As children grow older, a mother’s salary typically increases.)

The mothers followed in the study were single, married or living with a person with whom they were romantically involved when their kids were born. They were interviewed at that time and then again when the children turned one, three, five and nine. The moms were most likely to double-up when the children were young, and less likely to do so as they grew older. By far, single mothers doubled-up the most often in the early years (64 percent).

Source: The …read more

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At least 7.1M signed up for 2015 Obamacare plans so far

By Jason Millman

aca (AP Photo/David J. Phillip

The Obama administration provided its first major update on 2015 Obamacare enrollment. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip

At least 7.1 million people so far have enrolled in 2015 health plans through Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces, according to a pair of federal reports issued Tuesday.

As of Dec. 26, 6.5 million people signed up for coverage in federally run exchanges — that includes new enrollments, people actively re-enrolling and existing customers who allowed their coverage to automatically renew, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ weekly enrollment update.

A second HHS report, which provides the most comprehensive look at the new enrollment period so far, found that 633,000 people selected coverage in the 14 states running their own health insurance marketplaces as of Dec. 15. That’s in addition to those who signed up through the federal exchanges, for a total of roughly 7.1 million.

However, HHS said most states haven’t reported complete information about the number of re-enrollments, meaning the actual enrollment count is likely higher.

About 3.4 million people had actively selected an exchange plan in the 37 states relying on HealthCare.gov enrollment platform as of Dec. 15, the federal deadline to sign up for coverage starting Jan. 1. About 87 percent of those people qualified for premiums subsides, and about 52 percent were purchasing coverage through the federal-run marketplaces for the first time this year. The remaining 48 percent were returning customers who either selected a new plan or actively re-enrolled in existing coverage.

By comparison, just 106,000 people had selected exchange health plans in the first month of enrollment last year, when severe technology flaws threatened the launch of the law’s coverage expansion. This current enrollment period has run much more smoothly, though some customers are still experiencing problems on a smaller scale.

HHS …read more

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The odds of Greece leaving the euro have never been higher

By Matt O’Brien

Alexis Tsipras, head of the anti-bailout Syriza party (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Beware Greeks bearing the same political crisis over and over again. Because eventually this will be how the euro crisis ends: not with a bailout, but a ballot.

It’s a tale as old as Homer, or at least it seems that way. The Greek government, you see, has once again collapsed under the weight of the country’s austerity program, and anti-bailout parties are leading the polls ahead of new elections. This time, not that it really matters, the ruling coalition led by the right-of-center party New Democracy fell apart after it couldn’t get its presidential nominee, a largely ceremonial role, confirmed in three tries. What does matter, though, is whether New Democracy, which is still running a close second, can hold on to power in the snap elections scheduled for Jan. 25. If it can’t, then the far-left party Syriza will get its chance to lead Greece in a high-stakes game of chicken with Germany.

Syriza’s platform is as simple as it is sensible. They want more spending and less debt. Specifically, they want to spend €1.3 billion, or $1.6 billion, more on food stamps, health care, and restoring electricity to households that can no longer afford it all to alleviate the worst of the country’s suffering. And they also want to renegotiate how much of its debt, which even after getting written down before is still over 175 percent of gross domestic product, Greece will pay back. Bankers, of course, think this is “worse than communism,” because Syriza is admittedly a little too sanguine about how much money it could raise by—stop me if you’ve heard this before—cracking down on tax evasion. But, as Wolfgang Münchau points out, there’s nothing …read more

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