When hand-washing can be dangerous to your health

If you’re like most people, you’re washing your hands more often than you used to.  After all, you want to make sure you don’t get sick. But what if I told you that all that handwashing can be dangerous? Believe it or not, it’s true! And it has to do with what’s in the soap…

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Food & COVID-19: Your Questions Answered

With so much conflicting information circulating about coronavirus, you may find yourself confused about what will and what won’t get you sick. The topic of food safety is one that’s particularly clouded by uncertainty, so we’ve listed a few answers to some common questions about food and COVID-19. Can you catch COVID-19 from food? There is…

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Why Some People Have Covid Symptoms and Others Don’t

As you surely know by now, the coronavirus doesn’t look the same in everyone it infects. Some people have respiratory symptoms, others have gastrointestinal symptoms, some can’t smell or taste, and others have no symptoms at all. There are many mysteries brought forth by the COVID-19 contagion, but none may be greater than why it’s killing some people and barely affecting…

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Avoid coronavirus scams: What you need to know

Coronavirus disease (also known as COVID-19) is dominating the news and sending people across the globe into panic. Of course, it was only a matter of time before cybercriminals would find ways to take advantage of this global crisis. As if the prospect of the virus isn’t bad enough, several coronavirus scams have been doing the…

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COVID-19 vaccine tracker

On 11 March, the World Health Organization classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The disease has reached nearly every country, infecting hundreds of thousands of people and killing thousands. Currently, there are no FDA-approved therapies or vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) within…

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Paycheck Protection Program Out Of Funds, But Could Be Extended

The Paycheck Protection Program has exhausted its $350 billion allocation and is not accepting any more lenders or applications at this time, the Small Business Administration announced Thursday. However, “there are active efforts on the Hill to extend it and that could happen as soon as Friday,” said Scott Sinder of the law firm Steptoe…

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Treasury to provide automatic stimulus cash to Social Security Recipients

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service reversed their stance late Wednesday that Social Security beneficiaries would need to file tax returns in order to receive direct cash assistance payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Treasury will now provide automatic coronavirus relief payments for Social Security beneficiaries. “Social Security recipients…

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Ford and GE Team up to build Ventilators

The U.S. is short of ventilators. It’s something American manufactures aim to change—rapidly. It is a modern day “Arsenal of Democracy.” Ford Motor (ticker: F) and General Electric (GE) are partnering to build ventilators in a new venture announced Monday. Production “will start the week of April 20,” a Ford representative said on a Monday afternoon media call. Ford…

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Fake COVID-19 apps can load ransomware, spyware on devices

Security and tech experts have warned that hackers are now resorting to emails and apps claiming to provide information on the COVID-19 outbreak to fool victims into installing malware on their devices. According to information security provider ZScaler, hackers have been preying on people’s fears of the coronavirus by creating apps with features too good…

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Forgo 401k Early-Withdrawal Penalty

Calls for fiscal relief involving 401ks are growing louder, with The Wall Street Journal joining the American Retirement Association and Empower Retirement in arguing for penalty-free—and in some cases tax-free—withdrawals to combat the coronavirus crisis. “As the coronavirus threatens to stall the U.S. economy, a relatively easy countermeasure is to hit the emergency 401k button: Congress should allow people to take…

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Carbon Taxes are Coming, Here’s how finance can avoid $1 Trillion in Losses

It’s a carbon tax. A new report by consultants at Oliver Wyman shows that the world’s financial sector stands to lose $1 trillion if governments adopt a carbon tax as they attempt to shift to a low-carbon economy. Countries like Canada have already attempted to adopt forms of a carbon tax and a carbon border is being considered by…

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How Life and Health Stocks Did Today

Insurance investors delivered a clear verdict today: They’re a bit worried about how a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic might affect health insurers, but they hate how interest rate cuts might affect life insurers. The stock market as a whole had a terrible today, with the S&P 500 benchmark index falling 7.6%, based in…

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Solving the Mystery of Term Life Settlements

Can a term policy be sold in a life settlement? Yes! Yes! Yes! Like a life settlement on a universal life policy, the insured should generally be age 65 or older and have had some decline in health since the policy was issued. Term policies make great life settlement candidates because of their very nature.…

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FDA Monitoring 20 Drugs at Risk of Shortage due to Coronavirus

As part of its efforts to ensure the supply of medical products from China during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified 20 drugs that are made in or produced solely from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) sourced from China. In a statement to Focus, FDA spokesperson Stephanie Caccomo said…

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SEC Releases Updated List of Fake Regulators

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday updated its list of fictitious regulators and firms falsely claiming to be registered, licensed and/or located in the U.S., along with entities that impersonate actual U.S. registered securities companies. Included in the fresh list are 25 new soliciting entities and four phony regulators: Board of Financial Affairs, Finance Regulation Board, New…

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How Millenials Could Make the Fed’s Job Harder

WASHINGTON — “They say millennials are lazy,” billboards plastered across 15 major cities declared last summer. “Retire early and prove them right.” That sentiment, reflected in ads for the investment manager Prudential, is the stuff of a 30-year-old’s fantasy — and the Federal Reserve’s nightmare. A young generation of aggressive savers could leave central bankers…

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Elderly Getting Scammed

t’s a story that happens all too often. Angie Kennard’s father had met someone on a dating website, and the woman quickly began pouring her heart out to the 79-year-old despite never meeting him in person. During the exchanges, the woman started requesting money to support her and her daughter, and that “support” blossomed into…

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SEC Issues Warning on Coronavirus Investment Scams

The Securities and Exchange Commission is urging investors to be on the lookout for investment frauds related to the coronavirus, as the agency has spotted what looks to be such scams via internet and social media promotions. The agency’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy released an Investor Alert on Wednesday warning about investment frauds…

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Powell to Confront “New Risk” to US Economy from China Virus

(Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has confessed that it’s “very hard” to understand China’s economy. The outbreak of the coronavirus has made that exponentially more difficult.Yet it’s something that he can hardly afford to ignore when he adddresses lawmakers this week. The sheer size of China’s economy means that any hit to its…

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CMS PROPOSES 0.93% PAY RATE HIKE FOR MA PLANS IN 2021

The rate hike is part of a broader package of proposed “refinements” for Medicare Advantage and the Part D Quality Star Rating system. KEY TAKEAWAYS CMS says the proposals will provide greater flexibility for payers and Part D plan sponsors to design plans and improve transparency in drug pricing. The package will provide guidelines on…

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HHS Congress may transfer millions of dollars in funding to respond to coronavirus

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified Congress on Sunday that it may need to transfer millions of dollars of funding in its budget to respond to the coronavirus. HHS could shift up to $136 million to key agencies responding to the coronavirus, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An HHS spokesperson said the…

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Social Security Phone Scams on the Rise

In the past week, I have received more than a dozen phony calls on my cell phone warning me about “suspicious activity” in my Social Security account and threatening to cut off my benefits if I don’t return the call. Luckily, I know they’re fake calls and I just hang up, but thousands of vulnerable…

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Medicare for All could Die in 2020 as Private Insurers Add Seniors

Health insurers are expected to make it more difficult on Presidential candidates pushing single payer versions of “Medicare for All” after they added hundreds of thousands of seniors to their private Medicare Advantage plans this year. New benefits for seniors under Medicare Advantage began Wednesday, the first day of the 2020 New Year, in what…

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California plans to launch own prescription drug label

California wants to become the first state to create its own prescription drug label, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Thursday morning. As part of his 2020-2021 budget, Newsom wants to create the first-ever state generic drug label as part of a series of sweeping proposals designed to lower the cost of health care in the Golden State.  He…

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Alicia Munnell’s Social Security Bridge v. Annuities Income Planning Smackdown

More U.S. retirement savers should probably buy ordinary annuities before they retire, but they don’t, and policymakers need to come up with an alternative, according to Alicia Munnell, a top academic retirement policy researcher. Munnell — director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College — says she thinks promoting use of “Social Security bridge” arrangements may be…

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Walmart, Doctor on Demand roll out telehealth initiative for employees

Walmart is expanding benefits available through its telehealth program, which offers associates $4 virtual care visits through the retail giant’s partnership with Doctor on Demand, to employees in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The expanded telehealth program went live Jan. 1 and allows associates in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin to access a new Doctor on Demand…

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Retirement Savings, Social Security, and Medicare: Changes 2020

When the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, it will not only usher in a new decade. It will also bring in a host of retirement changes. And that could have big implications for your money. The good news is that you will be able to save even more in your retirement accounts next year,…

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Tenth Circuit Upholds HHS Risk Adjustment Methodology

On December 31, 2019, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the methodology adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to administer the risk adjustment program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A district court in New Mexico had previously concluded that part of the methodology—the use of statewide average premiums—was arbitrary…

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