Health care issues dominate as large companies begin to assess health care insurance surcharges on the obese. Additionally, new national guidelines on heart health will increase the number of Americans recommended for statin drugs.
Obamacare rules allow companies to charge higher premiums for being overweight
Nearly 40 percent of large US companies will use newly approved surcharges in 2014, such as higher insurance premiums or deductibles, for individuals who do not complete company-set health goals, as reported by Reuters. This is almost twice as many as the last time Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health completed the survey of approximately 892 employers. In 2011, only 19 percent of companies had similar penalties. A study by the Obesity Action Coalition, who covers workers at more than 5,000 companies who must participate in wellness programs to receive health coverage, indicates that 67 percent must reach a specific body mass index. The required BMI is 25 and 60 percent of those workers receive no additional coverage to pay for fitness training, obesity drugs or counseling. Workers that smoke face even harsher penalties than the obese.
Government approves American-US Airways merger
The Justice Department approved the $17 billion AMR Corp. and US Airways Group merger with limited concessions. According to the Wall Street Journal, the airlines agreed to give up space at several major airports across the US, most notably by reducing their combined daily departures from Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. And La Guardia Airport in New York City. The also agreed to retain their current large hubs and continue service to smaller cities.
Macy’s profit beats expectations
Macy’s reported a quarterly profit that beat expectations, sending its shares up 7 percent in pre-market trading. CNBC reports that for the quarter ended Nov. 2, Macy’s earned $177 million, or 47 cents per share. That compares with $145 million or 36 cents per share a year ago. Revenue rose 3 percent to $6.28 billion. The numbers are strong and are expected to remain so as the busy holiday season approaches.
GM to move international office from Shanghai to Singapore
General Motors is moving its international headquarters from Shanghai to Singapore, according to the Associated Press. Approximately 120 employees oversee GM’s businesses in Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea and the Middle East, as well as Chevrolet and Cadillac Europe. GM will keep its 250 employees in Shanghai for operations in China, which has overtaken the US as the world’s largest auto market. China is now seen as an established market and GM is hoping to expand into additional markets.
New guidelines will increase use of statin drugs
New guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology will cause one third of US adults (44 percent of men and 22 percent of women) to meet the guidelines for taking statin drugs. According to Fox News, only 15 percent of adults are currently recommended to take statins. New guidelines on lifestyle and obesity were also released. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. High cholesterol leads to hardened arteries that can cause a heart attack or stroke. Statin drugs have been proven to be safe and successful in treating cholesterol. The guidelines hope to help individuals in the 40 to 75 age range who have an estimated 10 year risk for heart disease.
Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner. McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner. Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors. She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.
McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.
Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth. Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.
McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)
Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.