• Boost your variable annuities future benefit. A popular type of variable annuity - the one with guaranteed "living benefits" - may be the riskiest product ever sold by the insurance industry. Risky to the health of the insurance carriers, that is.
  • Lost money? Counting more than pennies. If you have been checking coat pockets or under sofa cushions for spare change, you know that every cent counts these days. Yet a big chunk of change is sitting at government agencies just waiting
  • How much house can you afford?. The past two years have demonstrated in dramatic fashion what can happen to people who overreach to buy the home they want. The lesson: Qualifying for the mortgage does not necessarily mean you can afford
  • Why tie health insurance to a job?. (Dr. Emanuel, an oncologist and chairman of the department of bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, is author of "Healthcare, Guaranteed" (Public Affairs, 2008). Wyden, a Democrat, is a U.S. senator from Oregon and
  • Mortgage modifications show limited success. A new government report released yesterday underscored the limited success of industry efforts to reduce foreclosures by modifying mortgage loans, offering fuel for both sides in the debate over whether modification efforts should be redoubled
  • Burglaries may increase during downturn. They're holiday rituals of the Grinchy sort, annual warnings from local police telling us how to protect ourselves from burglary and theft during the dark, wintry days of the holiday season. Basically, their advice is
  • Treasury weighs action on mortgage rates. The Treasury Department is strongly considering a plan to intervene directly in the mortgage industry to dramatically force down rates and stimulate the moribund housing market, according to sources familiar with the proposal. Under the


  • US not getting health care we 'pay for'. Talk to the chief executives of America's preeminent health-care institutions, and you might be surprised by what you hear: When it comes to medical care, the United States isn't getting its money's worth. Not even
  • The car of the future -- but at what cost?. Many members of Congress believe they know what the car company of the future should look like. "A business model based on gas -- a gas-guzzling past -- is unacceptable," Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N
  • How new bank deposit coverage may affect you. If the beaten-down stock market has got you seeking a haven for your cash, there's some good news. The financial system bailout legislation enacted last month boosted limits on federal insurance for bank deposits, increasing
  • Banking regulator played advocate over enforcer. When Countrywide Financial felt pressured by federal agencies charged with overseeing it, executives at the giant mortgage lender simply switched regulators in the spring of 2007. The benefits were clear: Countrywide's new regulator, the Office of
  • Buscan ahorro en el seguro del auto. El 27 por ciento de los hispanos en EU planea reducir el gasto de sus seguros de automóvil el próximo año, tres veces más que la cifra nacional como resultado de la
  • Health insurance deductibles march higher. Employers are dramatically shifting healthcare costs onto workers, so much so that the average annual deductible for an individual surpassed $1,000 for the first time this year, according to a new study. Millions of workers --
  • Treasury's Bailouts Are Getting Us Chumped. I usually don't enjoy watching congressional hearings. They are often packed with blustering, long-winded, self-serving speeches that are nap-inducing. But a recent hearing before the domestic policy subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform
  • What happens if your insurer goes under?. Ever since the problems at the American International Group burst into the consciousness of everyday consumers two months ago, a sort of low-grade fear has set in among policyholders at insurance companies of all kinds.
  • Keeping your cash safe. Many depositors feel safer now that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has, at least through 2009, raised insurance limits from $100,000 to $250,000 per individual account. Joint accounts are covered at $250,000 per co-owner; retirement accounts, up to $250,000; and
  • Know before you borrow mortgage money. Exotic mortgages, as well as some lenders, are a thing of the past. But the need to borrow to buy a home is very much present. The lending landscape keeps changing fast, economists, mortgage brokers
  • Insurance Issue [Fall 2008]. In the Fall 2008 issue, Consumer Action focuses on insurance. The results of an online poll reveal details about consumers and insurance coverage, including the downsides to filing a claim. Other topics include credit car rental car coverage, how to add "riders" to policies, the privacy implications of "pay-as-you-drive" insurance, increased FDIC deposit insurance, rental insurance and news of a new insurance web site created by Consumer Action. For much more, see the Table of Contents below.
  • New plan for at-risk mortgages. Who is participating: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and many major lenders and mortgage servicers, effective Dec. 15. The servicer is the company to which you send your payments. Who is eligible: If the property is a

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