Insurers have to maintain a safety net of money to protect themselves from unforeseen market conditions, but a new study from Consumers Union says that some Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers took it too far, preferring to focus exclusively on stockpiling cash at the expense of customers. Two of the worst cases have stockpiles 5 to 7 times higher than state solvency requirements, yet continue to hike premiums each year instead of using the, uh, surplus surplus to offset customer costs. [More]
Are you planning on buying tires soon? According to this report from TireBusiness.com, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is planning on raising its prices for passenger and light truck tires by “up to 12 percent,” in response to an increase on tarrifs from China. They wouldn’t provide a hard date for the price increase, but said “soon.”
Banquet Foods wasn’t satisfied with reducing the size of their mac & cheese meals by a third, from 12 ounces to 8 ounces. They also increased the price, notes our reader Richard, who confirmed the price hike at both his local Seattle supermarket and at Walmart (although Walmart’s prices were lower in both versions). Funny, we thought the whole argument for the shrink ray was that it protected consumers from paying more.
Great news, laid-off Wall Streeters, minimum wage work just a got bit more lucrative! As of yesterday, the new minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
We’re starting to think Capital One isn’t just hurting financially, but also throwing a temper tantrum about the new credit card legislation. Eric received notice that they’re converting his current fixed rate to a “promotional rate.” In January 2011 they’ll switch it over to an adjustable rate and hike it to 17.9% (it’s currently 9.9%). Erik has until July 28th to agree to the new terms or they’ll close the account on August 2nd, 2009.
RCN knows some of you aren’t going to be happy with having your fees increased, especially in such a tight economy. They know that some of you will probably decide enough is enough and call them to request an account downgrade. They’re going to make money off of that, too.
Tonik is the rad, x-treme! lifestyle health insurance for young people who can’t afford regular insurance—sort of the Poochie of health insurance, except it’s not going to go away. Aasma wrote to us to let us know that when she signed up for it over the weekend, she got a nasty surprise after she submitted her credit card information.
If there’s one group of Americans who don’t carry their weight and need to pay more money to the healthcare industry, it’s those layabout senior citizens! That’s why their Medicare drug premiums are increasing by an average of 31% for the 10 most popular plans beginning in 2009. If you were with Humana, formerly the cheapest Medicare drug plan you could get (its premium was $9.51 in 2006), you can expect to pay $40.83 per month in 2009, an increase of 60% over this year’s rate. As you would expect, Humana is no longer the cheapest option—so it may be time to shop around for a new plan.
I have had an Advanta Credit Card for a little over a year now. My interest rate prior to a few days ago was 8%. My credit rating is very good, and I have always made my payments on time. As I was looking over my bill for September I noticed a fee of $75 dollars. A few clicks later I found that my interest rate had been raised to 20%.
Delta announced today that it’s doubling the fee for a second checked bag from $25 to $50, effective on new bookings starting July 31st for all travel after August 5th. Got a third, fourth, or fifth bag and a lot of money to burn? Fees for those will rise from $80 per bag to $125 each.
T-mobile has confirmed that starting in June, there will be a increase in text messaging rates for users who do not subscribe to a text messaging plan. As Consumerist readers well know, this means that if you don’t have a text messaging plan the rate hike constitutes a materially adverse change and you have the legal right to terminate your contract with no ETF per T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions.