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J.D. Van Nest & Associates Blog

Bosses Are Happier Than Their Workers


Bosses not only get bigger paychecks, but they are also more satisfied with their family life, their jobs, and their financial situation compared to their workers, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Top managers with children are less likely than other working parents to say that parenthood has been an obstacle to job advancement (33% versus 17%) and more likely to say their current position is a career rather than a just a job. The survey also reveals the following:


•  Eighty-three percent of bosses are very satisfied with their family situation compared to 74% of workers.

•  Sixty nine percent of bosses are very satisfied with their job compared to 48% of workers.

•  Forty percent of bosses are very satisfied with their financial situation compared to 28% of workers. Fifty-four percent of bosses have household incomes of $75,000 or more, compared to only 32% of workers.

•  Seventy-three percent of bosses say that they have gotten the education and training to succeed compared to 57% or workers.

•  Sixty-two percent of bosses say they are paid fairly for their work compared to 54% of workers. So it may not be surprising that bosses are only about half as likely as workers to be looking for another job (12% versus 23%).

Bosses and workers said that the following aspects of a job are extremely important:

•  Doing a job that they enjoy: 39% of bosses and 44% of workers

•  Having job security: 32% of bosses and 36% of workers.

•  Being able to take time off for child or family care needs: 32% of bosses and 35% of workers.

•  Having a job that helps society: 19% of bosses and 23% of workers.

•  Having opportunities for advancement: 25% of bosses and 24% of workers.

•  Having a big salary: 20% of bosses and 18% of workers.

•  Having good benefits: 26% of bosses and 35% of workers.


Fifty-three percent of bosses are Republican or lean to the GOP compared to 37% of workers. Forty-three percent of bosses and 37% of workers describe themselves as conservatives while about a third of bosses and workers describe themselves as moderates. Only 17% of bosses and 21% of workers describe themselves as liberals.


Bosses and workers share strikingly similar views on key gender issues. About half of top managers (52%) and employees (48%) say it’s easier for a man than a woman to get a top job in government or business. And exactly the same proportion say that men generally earn more for doing the same work (54% for both sexes). But both labor and management offer a more positive view when asked to focus on how men and women fare at their workplaces. Seventy percent of bosses and 75% of workers say that men and women are paid the same for doing the same job where they work. Equally large majorities agree that women and men have the same opportunities to advance.

ACA Has Helped Seniors Save $8.9 Billion On Prescription Drugs


Seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare prescription drug plan coverage have saved $8.9 billion on their prescription drugs thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to new data by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). At the same time, these seniors will be free to use more of their Social Security benefit cost of living adjustment on what they choose because the Medicare Part B premium will not increase in 2014, thanks to the health care law’s successful efforts to keep cost growth low.


Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, more than 7.3 million seniors and people with disabilities who reached the “donut hole” in their Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage) plans have saved $8.9 billion on their prescription drugs, an average of $1,209 per person since the program began. During the first 10 months of 2013, nearly 3.4 million people nationwide who reached the coverage gap — known as the donut hole. This year they have saved $2.9 billion, an average of $866 per beneficiary. These figures are higher than at this same point last year, when 2.8 million beneficiaries had saved $1.8 billion for an average of $677 per beneficiary. CMS recently announced that the Medicare’s Part B premium will not increase in 2014, and that the last five years have been among the slowest periods of average Part B premium growth in the program’s history. The Part B deductible will also not increase, having decreased in 2014. The Part B premium and deductible for 2014 are 15% below what was projected in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act was enacted.


Also as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans remain stable and strong. Earlier this year, CMS announced that the average Medicare Advantage (MA) premium in 2014 is projected to be $32.60. CMS also estimated that the average basic Medicare prescription drug plan premium in 2014 is projected to be $31 per month, holding steady for 4 years in a row. The deductible for standard Part D plans will decline by $15 in 2014, to $310. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, average MA premiums are down by 9.8%.


Since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the life of the Medicare trust fund has been extended by nearly ten years, till 2026.

Blue Shield Steps Back From Individual Policy Cancellations

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones got an agreement from Blue Shield to allow its California policyholders to keep their individual and family health insurance policies through March 31, 2014. Previously, the company announced plans to cancel these individual and family policies on December 31. Jones said, “There is nothing in the healthcare reform law that requires insurers to narrow their provider networks, but some insurers are doing so, which means consumers will want to confirm that their doctors and hospitals are in the network before selecting new coverage.” Blue Shield agreed to send a new notice to consumers allowing them to stay in their individual market policies if they elect to do so and to provide the existing coverage through March 31, 2014, at the existing price with the existing medical provider network. If all of the policyholders elect to stay in their existing plans until March 31, the premium savings could be as high as $28.6 million. However, policyholders who are eligible for federal premium subsidies through Covered California will likely want to select their new policies by December 15, so they can start receiving premium assistance for January 1 coverage in their new plan. Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken said, “We have long acknowledged that the individual health insurance market is broken and we are pleased that the rules will change in 2014. But health reform will succeed only if we restrain the rising cost and utilization of medical services that is driving premium increases. We are dedicated to working collaboratively with providers and regulators to address that issue. A consistent, predictable and fair regulatory environment is another key component of a thriving competitive market that will drive affordability. Constantly changing what information is requested and imposing long delays confuses consumers and threatens the long-term viability of the market. The rules should be clear and regulators should act promptly on rate filings to enable individual insurance purchasers to know what they will pay for coverage and when they will pay it.” Blue Shield lost $27 million on individual health insurance coverage in 2010 and even with the now withdrawn rate increase, the company expected additional losses on this business in 2011. As a result of today’s decision, Blue Shield individual policyholders will save $35-40 million this year. In October 2010, the company filed for new individual market rates with the Department of Insurance, to be effective in March 2011. In January, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones asked Blue Shield to delay the filing for 60 days and the company complied. At the same time, Blue Shield submitted the rates to an independent actuarial review by David Axene, who had completed rate reviews for the Department of Insurance in 2010 and discovered errors in several filings. Blue Shield also promised to pay refunds to its members if Axene’s review found that the rates were too high. On March 1, Axene released his report, which concluded that the rates were appropriate. With today’s action, however, that filing is withdrawn and the new rates will not take effect. Under rates that are already in effect, some Blue Shield members will see their premiums change in 2011 if they move to a new region, add or subtract family members from their policy, or enter a new age band. Blue Shield changes rates based on age every five years, at the time of the member’s birthday.


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