11 Things That Became Even More Costly in 2020

Woman holding an empty wallet
9nong / Shutterstock.com

What goes up doesn’t usually come down, at least when it comes to consumer prices.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, a common gauge for inflation, prices increased by 1.4% overall from December 2019 to December 2020.

Here’s a look, in no particular order, at some goods and services that saw price hikes in 2020 or that increased in price over the course of last year.

Need some good news? Try “7 Things That Got Cheaper Last Year.”

1. Eating out

Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

If you managed to do any dining out last year, you probably paid a bit more. According to the BLS Consumer Price Index report for December 2020, the cost of dining out rose 3.9% from December 2019.

That’s bigger than the 3.1% increase we saw over the course of 2019 and the 2.8% increase for 2018.

If your budget is feeling the pinch, check out “A Former Restaurant Critic Shares Her 11 Best Tips for Dining Out Cheaply but Well.”

2. Cable TV

Blackregis / Shutterstock.com

Spectrum, Comcast, Dish and AT&T are among the cable TV providers that hiked their prices for 2020, according to Cord Cutters News.

Spoiler alert: You can expect much of the same this year, as we detail in “3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021.”

3. Streaming TV

tommaso79 / Shutterstock.com

It’s not just cable: Streaming TV also has gotten more expensive. YouTube TV, Netflix, and Hulu for example, hiked their prices in 2020.

Perhaps it’s time to check out free movie streaming.

4. Priority Mail

B Brown / Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Postal Service’s prices for numerous Priority Mail flat rates increased in January 2020. The cost of mailing a 1-ounce international letter also increased, by 5 cents to $1.20.

More bad news: USPS kicked off 2021 with another round of price hikes for certain shipping and mailing services, as we recently reported.

5. College tuition and fees

Flamingo Images / Shutterstock.coms

The College Board says the average sticker price for tuition and fees for full-time students increased by as much as 2.1% between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. As of the 2020-2021 school year, it averaged:

  • $10,560 at public four-year in-state schools — which is 1.1% higher than in 2019-2020, before adjusting for inflation
  • $27,020 at public four-year out-of-state schools — 0.9% higher
  • $3,770 at public two-year in-district schools — 1.9% higher
  • $37,650 at private nonprofit four-year schools — 2.1% higher

Feeling overwhelmed? Check out “10 Colleges Where Tuition Is Free” and, if you’re 60 or older, “10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors.”

6. Traditional Medicare

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

At the start of 2020, the Medicare Part B standard premium rose by $9.10 per month and the deductible rose by $13 per year. The Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible increased by $44.

This year, these same Medicare deductibles and premiums have increased again, although the increases were smaller for Part B, as we reported.

7. Groceries

goodluz / Shutterstock.com

The coronavirus pandemic created numerous grocery supply chain issues, which led to higher prices for consumers.

The price of groceries increased 3.9% overall from December 2019 to December 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. Compare that with increases of only 0.6%, 0.7% and 0.9% in each of the prior three years.

Grocery categories that saw even higher increases last year include:

  • Meats, poultry, fish and eggs: 4.6%
  • Dairy and related products: 4.4%

If your wallet could use some relief, check out “13 Unusual but Effective Ways to Save on Groceries.”

8. Stocks

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

What coronavirus correction? Stocks recovered shortly after the March 2020 drop and went on to reach new records last year.

The S&P 500 stood at around 3,701 points on Jan. 4, 2021, up from about 3,258 points at the start of 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at around 31,098 points at the start of 2021 — up from about 28,824 points one year earlier.

9. Credit card late fees

antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com

The federally allowed thresholds for credit card late payment penalties rose by $1 at the start of 2020, as we detailed in “2 Credit Card Late Fee Amounts Increased for 2020.” These thresholds are now:

  • First late payment penalty: $29
  • Subsequent late payment penalty: $40

On the bright side, for a change, these fees did not increase at the start of 2021.

10. New cars

AboutLife / Shutterstock.com

The average cost for that “new car smell” went up 1.3% in 2020, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The news was much worse for used vehicles …

11. Used cars

Driver with car window down to avoid the coronavirus
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com

Used car and truck prices rose a whopping 10% between December 2019 and December 2020, according to the BLS Consumer Price Index. That is the largest December-to-December increase reported for that index since 1983.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

12 Things That Became Even More Costly in 2020

Woman holding an empty wallet
9nong / Shutterstock.com

What goes up doesn’t usually come down, at least when it comes to consumer prices.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, a common gauge for inflation, prices increased by 1.4% overall from December 2019 to December 2020.

Here’s a look, in no particular order, at some goods and services that saw price hikes in 2020 or that increased in price over the course of last year.

Need some good news? Try “7 Things That Got Cheaper Last Year.”

1. Eating out

Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

If you managed to do any dining out last year, you probably paid a bit more. According to the BLS Consumer Price Index report for December 2020, the cost of dining out rose 3.9% from December 2019.

That’s bigger than the 3.1% increase we saw over the course of 2019 and the 2.8% increase for 2018.

If your budget is feeling the pinch, check out “A Former Restaurant Critic Shares Her 11 Best Tips for Dining Out Cheaply but Well.”

2. Cable TV

Blackregis / Shutterstock.com

Spectrum, Comcast, Dish and AT&T are among the cable TV providers that hiked their prices for 2020, according to Cord Cutters News.

Spoiler alert: You can expect much of the same this year, as we detail in “3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021.”

3. Streaming TV

tommaso79 / Shutterstock.com

It’s not just cable: Streaming TV also has gotten more expensive. YouTube TV, Netflix, and Hulu for example, hiked their prices in 2020.

Perhaps it’s time to check out free movie streaming.

4. Priority Mail

B Brown / Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Postal Service’s prices for numerous Priority Mail flat rates increased in January 2020. The cost of mailing a 1-ounce international letter also increased, by 5 cents to $1.20.

More bad news: USPS kicked off 2021 with another round of price hikes for certain shipping and mailing services, as we recently reported.

5. College tuition and fees

Flamingo Images / Shutterstock.coms

The College Board says the average sticker price for tuition and fees for full-time students increased by as much as 2.1% between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. As of the 2020-2021 school year, it averaged:

  • $10,560 at public four-year in-state schools — which is 1.1% higher than in 2019-2020, before adjusting for inflation
  • $27,020 at public four-year out-of-state schools — 0.9% higher
  • $3,770 at public two-year in-district schools — 1.9% higher
  • $37,650 at private nonprofit four-year schools — 2.1% higher

Feeling overwhelmed? Check out “10 Colleges Where Tuition Is Free” and, if you’re 60 or older, “10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition for Seniors.”

6. Traditional Medicare

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

At the start of 2020, the Medicare Part B standard premium rose by $9.10 per month and the deductible rose by $13 per year. The Part A annual inpatient hospital deductible increased by $44.

This year, these same Medicare deductibles and premiums have increased again, although the increases were smaller for Part B, as we reported.

7. Groceries

goodluz / Shutterstock.com

The coronavirus pandemic created numerous grocery supply chain issues, which led to higher prices for consumers.

The price of groceries increased 3.9% overall from December 2019 to December 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. Compare that with increases of only 0.6%, 0.7% and 0.9% in each of the prior three years.

Grocery categories that saw even higher increases last year include:

  • Meats, poultry, fish and eggs: 4.6%
  • Dairy and related products: 4.4%

If your wallet could use some relief, check out “13 Unusual but Effective Ways to Save on Groceries.”

8. Stocks

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

What coronavirus correction? Stocks recovered shortly after the March 2020 drop and went on to reach new records last year.

The S&P 500 stood at around 3,701 points on Jan. 4, 2021, up from about 3,258 points at the start of 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at around 31,098 points at the start of 2021 — up from about 28,824 points one year earlier.

9. Credit card late fees

antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com

The federally allowed thresholds for credit card late payment penalties rose by $1 at the start of 2020, as we detailed in “2 Credit Card Late Fee Amounts Increased for 2020.” These thresholds are now:

  • First late payment penalty: $29
  • Subsequent late payment penalty: $40

On the bright side, for a change, these fees did not increase at the start of 2021.

10. New cars

AboutLife / Shutterstock.com

The average cost for that “new car smell” went up 1.3% in 2020, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The news was much worse for used vehicles …

11. Used cars

Driver with car window down to avoid the coronavirus
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com

Used car and truck prices rose a whopping 10% between December 2019 and December 2020, according to the BLS Consumer Price Index. That is the largest December-to-December increase reported for that index since 1983.

12. Cigarettes

Packs of cigarettes on store shelves
defotoberg / Shutterstock.com

Smokers paid 5.4% more for cigarettes in December 2020 than in December 2019, the BLS Consumer Price Index shows.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

A Quick Guide to the Difference Between Medicaid & Medicare

May 17, 2017 &• 2 min read by Brad Wiewel Comments 0 Comments

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Disclaimer

Medicare and Medicaid may sound alike, but these government health insurance programs are dramatically different from one another. Here’s a brief overview.

What Is Medicare?

Administered by the federal government, Medicare is a health insurance program primarily for adults who are 65 years of age or older and have paid into the Social Security system for at least 40 quarters (about 10 years). An individual who lacks the necessary work credits can also benefit from the program through their spouse, as can individuals who are younger than 65 but have received Social Security Disability Insurance payments for at least two years.

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What Medicare Covers

There are different parts to Medicare that make it a veritable “alphabet soup.” For example, Medicare Part A covers mostly in-patient hospital care and provides a minimal benefit for skilled nursing care and hospice care. Medicare Part B covers the costs of outpatient care, such as doctors’ visits, lab tests and preventative care. Medicare Part C is the Medicare Advantage program and an alternative to Medicare parts A and B.

Like most types of insurance, Medicare parts A, B and C include co-pays and deductibles. Generally, the amount of income you earn and the amount of assets you own are irrelevant for participation, so paupers, billionaires and everyone in between can be eligible.

Surprisingly, given that Medicare is primarily a program for individuals 65 and older, the program covers just a small portion of the cost of a nursing home stay. At most, it fully covers the costs associated with the initial 20 days of a stay and provides only partial coverage for the next 80 days. In addition, for a stay to be covered, a patient must meet certain requirements.

For example, the patient must have been hospitalized for at least three consecutive days directly prior to receiving care at a nursing home and that care must be considered medically necessary. Because of these requirements, patients or their families are often forced to pay out of pocket for nursing home care or seek relief from Medicaid.

What Is Medicaid?

Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) is a federal-state program. It primarily acts as a safety net for those who can’t pay for healthcare.

Seniors can participate in Medicaid if they pass three tests: a medical necessity test, an asset test and an income test.

The medical necessity test requires that skilled nursing care is necessary to address the patient’s medical needs. The asset test places strict limits on how much property a patient and the patient’s spouse can own while benefiting from Medicaid. The income test limits how much individuals and couples may earn to be eligible for Medicaid.

There are ways to get around these eligibility tests if you or a loved one can’t pass them but want Medicaid to help pay for the cost of a nursing home stay. However, doing so may require the help of an attorney who practices elder law. A relatively new kind of law, elder law can help individuals preserve their assets and qualify for Medicaid. (Disclosure: The Wiewel Law firm, in Austin, Texas, specializes in estate planning.)

Remember, Medicaid planning is a complicated process and even a small error can mean the program will refuse to help pay for the cost of a nursing home stay. Be sure to speak with an expert if you have concerns.

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