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Archive for June, 2010

Introduction

15.4 percent, or about 46.3 million, of the U.S. population didn’t have health insurance in 2008, according to a recent report by the U.S. Census.  But of those who have insurance, 38 million have inadequate insurance, according to a PBS documentary.  The uninsured are more likely to be impoverished and have limited access to insurance because of the cost, which affects their utilization of services available.

Employment and Insurance

There is a link between employment and those who have health care coverage.  67.5 percent had insurance through a private plan, and of those with private insurance, 58.5 percent got insurance through their employer, according to the U.S. Census.  Those who didn’t work or who were working part-time were more likely not to be insured.

Uninsured

The U.S. Census identified a link between poverty and the uninsured.  Those earning less than $25,000 per year made up 24.5 percent of the uninsured.  Those earning $25,000 to $49,999 made up 21.1 percent.  Those earning $50,000 to $74,999 made up 14.5 percent, and those earning $75,000 or more made up only 7.8 percent of the uninsured.

Under-insured

Under-insured individuals have plans that appear to be similar to HMOs or PPOs — patients pay similar monthly premiums, but annual coverage caps can be as low as $1,000, with their average being $2,000 to $15,000.  Often the plans have high deductibles, on top of the premiums.  In comparison, HMOs and PPOs often have $1 million caps, according to AmericanProgress.org.

According to the PBS documentary, nearly a third (29 percent) of Americans are uninsured or under-insured.  With little or no coverage, people are more likely to postpone necessary care and forego preventative care.  Although they still have access to care, the costs are prohibitive.  The uninsured or under-insured usually have no regular doctor and limited access to prescription medications, and they are more likely to be hospitalized for health conditions that could have been avoided.  They are also more likely to declare bankruptcy when they cannot afford to pay emergency medical bills.

Pre-existing Conditions

In a recent survey, 12.6 million non-elderly adults in the United States were denied health care coverage because of an identified pre-existing condition over the previous three years.  In 45 states, insurance companies can deny health insurance coverage to individuals based on the instance of particular health conditions.  The conditions may be as prevalent as heart disease, which affects one in three Americans, or it can be as minor as hayfever, according to HealthReform.gov.  These individuals are instead offered insurance in a high-risk category with much higher premiums.  Although these individuals still have access to health care, utilization becomes limited because of the higher costs.

Recent legislation

Recent legislation passed by Congress and President Obama addresses the problems of access and utilization of health care coverage.  Once enacted fully over the next few years, it will require all Americans to have insurance coverage, either through the government or through private insurance with the employer.  The legislation also prohibits denial of coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

References

U.S. Census statistics on health insurance coverage

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/data/incpovhlth/2008/tables.html

PBS, “The Healthcare Crisis: Who’s At Risk?”

http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html

The impact of pre-existing conditions on healthcare coverage

http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html

Henry Fernandez.  2007.  “Limited Benefits: Insurers Peddle ‘Limited Health Care’ to America’s Working Poor.” Center for American Progress.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/05/limited_benefits.html

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Things You’ll Need:
  • U.S. citizenship
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Additional information about specific requirements in your state and jurisdiction required for police certification including the age requirement, the education level required, and the minimum fitness requirement
  • A respectable credit history
  • No felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions involving domestic abuse or a sexual component
  • No DUIs or reckless driving convictions

To become an ID and records police officer, you must be a full-fledged police officer who has passed the required certification in your state and jurisdiction. Some states accept an associate’s degree in criminal justice at a community college while others require attendance at a state-sponsored police academy. Although there are often different tiers of certification for different levels of police officers, all require meeting a physical fitness requirement.

Step 1:

Complete the needed education. Receive a high school diploma at minimum. If you seek to excel in your field, study a field in college that would complement an ID and records police officer position, such as library science.

Step 2:

Enroll in the police certification program in your state, such as police academy completion, and meet the requirements including the physical fitness requirements, as well as in your criminal record and credit history.

Step 3:

Pass the required written and video tests in your certification. The written test usually has nothing to do with policing. It is an aptitude test that measures your reading comprehension, problem-solving and judgment skills, memory and writing skills. In the video test, you will watch a scenario and then provide a verbal response that will test your interpersonal skills and judgment.

Step 4:

Complete psychological tests associated with certification, which often include a written test that may be supplemented by an interview with a psychologist. The tests also include a polygraph test. The psychological tests evaluate your character and emotional make-up to ensure you are well suited for the job from a psychological standpoint. You will also sit before a panel of members of the hiring authority who will ask you questions about your qualifications and career pursuits.

Step 5:

Once you are certified, gain experience as a police officer in such a position as a prison or as a highway patrol officer. Police organizations usually require all police officers to gain experience as a full-fledged police officer before going into their desired niche within the law enforcement industry. The required experience may be a minimum of three months, a year or longer. Work hard to maintain an excellent attendance record and show your enthusiasm by being a team player and being willing to take on extra assignments.

Step 6:

Let your employer know the career path you desire, and let them help you in achieving your career goals.

Skill:
  • Challenging
Keywords:
  • Police officer job
  • ID & Records job
  • police certification
Reference:

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Starting a bed and breakfast inn can be an enjoyable lifestyle change that can get you out of the office and doing the things you enjoy, such as gardening, interior design and preparing exquisite dishes to feed your guests. But like any business, a feasibility analysis, including financials, must be conducted before proceeding. Whether you are converting your own home or restoring a historic building, beginning your B&B will take some seed money. However, return on investment, particularly in this industry, will not come right away.

Step 1

Decide whether to proceed with your B&B. Identify a source for seed money to convert the house that you either live in currently or intend to acquire for your B&B. Restoration costs, over and above the purchase cost of a historic home, should generally be limited to $35,000 to $50,000 per guest room for larger
properties, and $20,000 to $40,000 for very small or low-cost operations,
according to Entrepreneur.com.

Do not expect to get rich overnight from your B&B. It may take years to break
even from your start-up costs, but do keep track of costs of maintaining your
establishment and the profits that come in. Ultimately, profits should be higher
than costs, of course, but you should decide to proceed not because you will make money, but because you know you will love it.

Step 2

Join hotel or lodging organizations that will keep you abreast of trends in the industry–statewide and nationally as well as within your community. Be aware of current lodging rates, both the luxury rates and the budget rates, and know where your B&B fits in that picture.

Step 3

Conduct some market research to identify your target market for potential customers and find ways of reaching that audience, either through tourist bureaus or through local recreational attractions, such as skiing in the winter and local festivals in the summer. Identify which market groups will most likely be attracted
to your B&B. They can be tourists, business travelers, a parent visiting a local
college or university, or extended family of a local resident coming for a family
reunion or wedding. Get creative in developing events to attract lodgers.

Step 4

Obtain the needed business license and local permits. Be aware of local and state laws regarding your establishment such as with zoning, parking, regulations regarding public amenities (handicap accessibility), food preparation requirement and limits on how long guests can stay (often seven to 14 days).

Step 5

Hire a part-time employee to assist you with tasks that you have a hard time doing yourself while being a gracious host. Despite your busy schedule, take the time to do the things you most enjoy about your B&B, whether it is providing your guests with conversation over breakfast or preparing delectable pastries.

Skill:
  • Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
  • New mattresses, pillows, sheets, bedding and drapery for each bedroom
  • Business license and required municipal permits such as for zoning or parking
  • Knowledge of lodging rates in your area and other lodging industry information
  • Marketing outlets that reach your target market
  • Part-time staff to assist you during peak times
Keywords:
  • bed and breakfasts
  • startup lodging business
  • historic home restoration
  • starting B&B
References:

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To start a career in animal pharmaceuticals, get a pharmacy technician license. An animal pharmacist is often an independent pharmacist for humans that get special certification to expand his or her business to serve the needs of veterinarians and animals. Although veterinarians usually specialize in either large or small animals — companion animals, livestock or wildlife — an animal pharmacist often serves all the medication and therapeutic needs of animals in his or her community.

Step 1

Have a love for animals–pets, livestock and wildlife–and have a familiarity with their life cycles and their care. Since animal pharmacists are uncommon, you will likely be servicing pet owners, farmers and ranchers, as well as zoos over a large area.

Step 2

Study pharmaceutical science in college and get the required certification. The pharmaceutical aspects of this career path are generally where people begin because of the specialized information you need to know about issuing medications.

Step 3

Own or work for an independent pharmacy for humans, or one not part of a retail chain that would be subject to a particular business model. Although it is possible to start a pharmacy just for animals, it is recommended to combine the demand for animal pharmaceuticals with other services to make a profitable business. Most animal pharmacists are pharmacists for humans, as well, because they have the licensing and qualifications for such.

Step 4

Get additional certification through the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists or a comparable program. The American College of Veterinary Pharmacists provides a two-day, 14-credit, hands-on certification program in veterinary compounding at the University of Tennessee. It is offered twice a year and costs $900.

The certification teaches pharmacists how, for example, to adjust dosing for small or very large animals, and to change a drug from oral to transdermal form. Animals can be finicky about taking their medication–even more than humans. The certification also provides tips for making a drug easier to take, such as combining it with a treat that the animal likes. The course also provides training for marketing and maintaining a veterinary pharmacy practice.

Step 5

Maintain your pharmaceutical license with the required continuing education credits and annual dues. Pharmaceutical science is a constantly changing field as new medications come out and new information becomes available about existing medications.

Step 6

Take the required continuing education credits in veterinary disease states. As an animal pharmacist, you will be working with animals that serve as a food source for humans. Tracking diseases and being aware of their symptoms will be one public service aspect of your job.

Skill:
  • Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
  • A knowledge and familiarity with animal care
  • At least a 4-year degree in pharmaceutical science
  • Ownership or employment at an independent pharmacy
  • Certification through the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists or other similar program
Keywords:
  • animal pharmacist job
  • veterinary pharmacist
  • animal pharmacy business

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Private security in the United States often has a reputation for being lax compared public security. The comic movie “Mall Cop” plays on this stereotype. However, many private security officers have more sophisticated training than some public police officers. Private security often plays a preventative role, whereas public security responds to incidents once they occur. Public and private security systems must work side-by-side to ensure safety and protection.

Police Presence

If you have ever spent time in a country without the kind of police presence the United States is generally blessed to have, then you know how important such a police presence is. Businesses and residents in many Third World countries are forced to provide their own private security at a great expense in order to keep the peace.

Pockets of impoverished urban areas within the United States have inadequate police protection, and some rural areas lack sufficient coverage. In these cases, people have found ways to protect themselves, often by invoking their Second Amendment rights. Sometimes individuals can do so irresponsibly–without adequate training–or illegally–obtaining weapons that are not permitted in the United States. An adequate police presence helps to make sure individuals are protected on more equal terms.

Private Security

Areas such as apartments, business complexes, transit stations and retail centers need additional security to protect property as well as individuals. Private security companies provide services ranging from armed and unarmed security to uniformed and plainclothes security, from electronic security surveillance to vehicle inspection/bomb detection, and from executive/personal protection to preparation for high- and low-security-threat scenarios.

No Guns

Some communities within the United States have laws that prohibit private security officers from carrying guns. Packing heat is not only intimidating to people, but it can also invite incidents involving guns. However, many security guards will still carry a stun gun or other form of personal protection.

Double Duty

It is common for police officers to have a part-time security job when they are off-duty, such as providing security at a dance club on the weekends. Doing so can be tempting because of the good money that private security jobs generally offer, but it can be very stressful on officers to be on the alert so much of the time.

Military Experience

With the increased number of retired military officers in the United States today, both private and public security entities have the benefit of hiring from a well-trained and professional group of men and women. And we need them to help stop the ever more sophisticated threats on U.S. soil. The world post-911 is forever changed. Both public and private security entities play important roles in helping us maintain the freedoms we enjoy.

Keywords:
  • private security roles
  • public security roles
  • security presence US
Reference:
Location:

United States

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Traditionally, a loan’s life cycle involves two parties: A lender and a borrower. But in order to reduce risk, lenders today often sell loans on a secondary market to national companies which are funded by mortgage-backed securities. Loan-to-value ratios, more than ever, are affected by national and international financial dynamics, which affect interest rates as well as market risk.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Loans can either have a fixed rate or an adjustable rate–either the monthly payment stays the same over time, or it is adjustable based on market conditions. Depending on their credit scores, some borrowers only have the option of an adjustable rate, particularly when they can only take on a loan if they can start with lower monthly payments.

Housing Crisis

During the housing crisis of 2007 and 2008, large numbers of borrowers were unable to maintain monthly payments of adjustable rate mortgages once the payments increased significantly after a few years into the loans. Banks assumed that lower income individuals could afford an adjustable rate mortgage. They expected the individuals’ incomes to increase and/or the value of properties to increase which would allow owners to more affordably refinance mortgages before adjustable rates hit.

“Loan incentives such as ‘interest-only’ mortgages, low initial ‘teaser’ rates, repayment holidays and laxer lending criteria are frequently cited as having encouraged borrowers to take on more debt than they can handle,” says M. Ricardo Cuaha, who wrote an academic paper with international colleagues on the subject in 2009.

Impact to Economy

Unfortunately, multiple foreclosures not only affected homeowners, but they impacted investors. The mortgages packaged into mortgage-backed securities lost value almost overnight, and investors took the loss.

“Any wave of households entering into negative equity, resulting bankruptcies and forced sales would all feed back into the stability of the financial system, consumer demand and, in general, economic growth itself,” Cuaha says.

Traditional vs. Modern Loans

Traditionally, the bulk of the interest paid during the life of a loan is usually paid in the first fourth or fifth of the loan payments. This gives individuals an incentive to make larger payments in the first few years in order to hit the principal of the loan and thus reduce the overall cost of borrowing the money. This set-up also allows lenders to use the interest to fund new loans and to, in essence reduce risk.

Although fixed rate loans still have the same structure in terms of how interest pays out, individuals with adjustable rate mortgages often have no way of increasing their monthly payments early on in the loan, which means the loans are more expensive and take longer to pay off.

Life Cycle of a Loan

Unlike traditional loans, the life cycle of a loan impacts not just a local economy, but national and international markets. This is because of the role that mortgage-backed securities play in the banking industry today. The housing crisis has taught a very important lesson. Bankers must properly establish borrowers as being adequately able to pay the money back, to protect both the borrowers’ credit as well as the economy.

Keywords:
  • loan life cycle
  • housing crisis
  • adjustable rate mortgages
References:

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Things You’ll Need:
  • Bankruptcy attorney
  • Present income that is at least the median income in Washington State. As of March 15, 2010, that amount is $51,161 for a household of one; $63,930 for a household of two; $72,275 for a household of three; and $82,422 for a household of four.
  • Secured debt not exceeding $1,081,400 and unsecured debt not exceeding $360,475.
  • Completion of a credit counseling program
  • A list of all creditors, the amounts owed to each, and their associated contact information and account numbers.
  • A list of your property including real property (your land and residence) and other property of value.
  • Information about the property and debts of individuals with whom you share debts.
  • A copy of your most recent year’s tax return document.
  • Paystubs for the past seven months.

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection takes place in federal court, so its laws are the same throughout the United States. However, trustees are assigned to specific regions of the country to distribute debtor payments over no more than a five-year period. In Vancouver, Washington, the Chapter 13 Trustee is David Howe. Trustees may operate somewhat differently from each other. For example, Howe is equipped to receive monthly electronic payments from debtors, whereas other trustees may not be. A debtor must make consistent, monthly payments for his bankruptcy protection to continue.

Step 1

Limit your purchasing activity for 90 days prior to filing. If you have recently taken out a cash advance or a loan, or made a large purchase on credit, make at least three payments before filing. Do not transfer bank accounts or credit accounts out of your name without consulting your attorney. Also, do not inform your creditors that you are filing for bankruptcy until the filing has taken place.

Step 2

Select a bankruptcy attorney in the Vancouver, Washington area. For a list of bankruptcy attorneys, see the resource links at the end of this article.

Step 3

Choose between filing for Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Consult with your attorney to select the program that best meets your needs. Chapter 13 may prevent you from going into foreclosure on your home; however, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is best if you won’t be able to make the required payments.

Step 4

If you and your attorney choose to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will meet with a representative from Chapter 13 Trustee David Howe’s office (see resource list) for a 341 hearing, or a meeting of the creditors. At this hearing, you will determine a figure to be paid on a monthly basis and provide them with the first payment. For best results, it is recommended that you have funds deducted electronically from your paychecks.

Step 5

If for any reason you cannot make a payment one month, communicate with your attorney to adjust your plan. Any secrets you keep from your attorney may jeopardize your bankruptcy protection; if your case is defaulted, you may again be subject to the wrath of your creditors.

Skill:
  • Moderate
Keywords:
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Prevent foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy protection
  • Vancouver, Washington
References:
Resources:
Location:

Vancouver, Washington United States
Northwest

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