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2021 health plans granted leeway to limit consumers' benefit from drug coupons

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Without medication to manage her plaque psoriasis, Jennifer Brown's face, scalp, trunk and neck periodically become covered in painful red, flaky patches so dry they crack and bleed.

She has gotten relief from medications, but they come at a high price. For a while she was on Humira, made by AbbVie, with an average retail price of roughly $8,...Read more

Carla Fried: The best way to make college affordable

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Families committed to college, but with the good sense to also know that cost matters, have long had motivation to consider community college. The case for community college is even stronger today, with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis upending household finances.

And this is so not about settling. There are plenty of great careers...Read more

Carla Fried: A 401(k) loan to pay off credit cards is super messy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

No matter how low interest rates are in many parts of our financial lives -- a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.2% in late June, federal undergraduate student loans for the upcoming academic year have a fixed rate of 2.75% -- we know the rate charged on unpaid credit card balances to be insanely expensive: The average is nearly 17% these days. ...Read more

Susan Tompor: July 15 tax return deadline is right around the corner: What to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you still need to file that 2019 income tax return, it's time to get cracking.

July 15 is the new April 15 for those who still have not filed a tax return. The traditional April income tax deadline was extended this year for 2019 tax returns, due to the upheaval created by COVID-19.

The one-time extension applied for some state and ...Read more

Social Graces: How to handle friends and family who think the pandemic is over

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: What should you say to friends and family members who think the pandemic is over?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. It's still here, it never went away, and it's not going anywhere until there is a vaccine available.

This virus is very infectious. It's more infectious than influenza, so we really need to be more vigilant. States ...Read more

Hot Property: Will Arnett lists award-winning home for $11 million

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- There's always money in the banana stand, to borrow from the show "Arrested Development." But it might take a few more frozen banana sales to afford the Beverly Hills Post Office-area home of Will Arnett, who plays Gob Bluth on the show.

Listed for $10.995 million, the actor's steel-framed house is a reimagining of a design by ...Read more

Natasha Frost: 4 steps to avoiding a horrible co-living situation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With the unemployment rate at its highest since the Great Depression, perhaps you're one of the many Americans currently having difficult conversations -- or avoiding one -- on the topic of sharing space.

That might mean welcoming a roommate into your home, crashing with Mom and Pop for the foreseeable future, or taking the plunge to work from ...Read more

Some homeowners struggled to pay PACE improvement loans. The coronavirus made it harder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't until the work was done that Marcelino and Josefina Rodriguez said they learned the truth.

They had been signed up for a roughly $45,000 PACE home improvement loan at nearly 10% interest -- even though they said a woman working with the contractor told them their new roof and water heater would be free through a ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Who has to pay for place to stay while rental home is tented for termites?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We rent a single-family home and just found out that it needs to be tented for termites early next month. The landlord told us she would reduce our rent for the time we need to stay in a hotel. Money is tight, and a few days of rent reduction will not cover the cost of a hotel and meals. We want her to pay for these too. This is a massive ...Read more

Is your property a flood risk? New tool shows millions are, including entire Florida towns

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A new app designed to rank the flood risk for every property in the U.S. has some distressing findings for Florida.

The cities with the most properties at risk are all over the state -- from Tampa, the city most at risk to storm surge, to Cape Coral, which Politico memorably dubbed "the boomtown that shouldn't exist," to sunny-day flooded Miami...Read more

Carla Fried: 7 ways employers set up millennials to fail at retirement saving

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You've got a workplace retirement plan. Fabulous! But there's plenty your employer likely isn't telling you -- or doing for you --that's costing you money. Here's how your employer might be letting you down:

--We probably set you up to leave money on the table. Most workplace plans offer an employer-matching contribution, based on some sort of...Read more

Carla Fried: Instead of skipping medical care, bargain for a better price

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Millions of people forgo needed medical attention -- doctor visits, surgeries, prescriptions and testing -- because they either lack insurance or the cost of using their policies is too great. It's also complicated, a world of bewildering forms and websites, and seemingly unexplained denials of payment.

Before you delay care, consider ways you ...Read more

CNN Center is for sale, but employees will remain in Atlanta

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

WarnerMedia is putting CNN Center, the longtime Atlanta-based facility for the cable news network, up for sale.

The company made the decision to sell the property known to employees on Monday. But it won't mean any dislocation for them or that the network is abandoning the city it has called home since 1980.

CNN already has employees at the ...Read more

Carla Fried: Plan your own funeral, cheaply, and leave behind a happier family

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Navigating the death of a loved one is an intensely personal journey. It is also a very big business that can put a financial strain on the surviving family.

The death care industry -- yep, it's got its own industry moniker -- is an estimated $20 billion business. Service Corporation International, a publicly traded company that operates 1,475 ...Read more

Carla Fried: Why couples need to manage retirement accounts as a team

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The intricacies of a spouse or partner's workplace retirement plan will never rank as scintillating pillow talk, but the topic can prove profitable. Couples who coordinate their strategy by playing to each plan's strengths and avoiding weaknesses are going to land in retirement with more money saved up.

Yet a recent survey of more than 5,000 ...Read more

Hudson Pacific sells share of Hollywood studios to Blackstone

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles developer Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. said Monday that it will sell a 49% stake in its three historic Hollywood studios to an affiliate of New York investment firm Blackstone in a deal that values the properties at $1.65 billion.

The transaction includes Sunset Bronson, Sunset Gower and Sunset Las Palmas studios, ...Read more

Free stock-trade apps: Power to the people, or new ways for Wall Street to rip you off?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Free stock-trading smartphone apps like Robinhood, Firstrade and Stockpile are attracting a wave of new investors, and are helping to prop up U.S. stock markets despite the headwinds of the coronavirus.

Alongside such familiar software-based stocks as Amazon, Facebook and Google, their investments have boosted shares of some obscure and money-...Read more

Hot Property: Kunal Nayyar of 'Big Bang Theory' flips the script in Hollywood Hills

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Actor Kunal Nayyar is hoping to end his time in Hollywood Hills with a bang. The "Big Bang Theory" star and his wife, fashion designer and model Neha Kapur, have put their compound on the market for $3.995 million.

The leafy spot spans half an acre and makes the most of its space with a Mediterranean-style villa and a pair of ...Read more

Black homeowners pay more than 'fair share' in property taxes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A national reckoning with racism, combined with the economic damage wrought by the pandemic, is prompting some state and local officials to take a closer look at an issue that has long bedeviled Black homeowners: inflated property tax assessments.

For decades, white tax assessors placed a heavier tax burden on Black residents by intentionally ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can my landlord end my lease early?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My lease extends through early next year, but my landlord wants me to leave early so she can sell the home in September. I have always paid my rent on time and keep the house clean. Do I have to move out early? -- Anonymous

A: No, your landlord must honor the terms of the lease.

A lease is a type of contract between a property owner and a ...Read more