The share of Americans who lack health insurance is at historic lows. Even so, being uninsured and underinsured is a problem. I’ve seen what this means for members of my own family. Example 1: a man in his early 60s with a high-deductible employer plan. His 60-year-old wife, after working for years as a waitress, has had knee surgery and other problems. Each major treatment racks up thousands of dollars in bills they struggle for months to pay. Example 2: a 62-year-old woman working as a low-wage independent contractor. She is uninsured and has painful arthritis. She frequently cancels jobs because she is sick. Example 3: a construction worker also in his 60s with a high insurance deductible. He rarely goes to the doctor because he pays cash for just about everything under a policy purchased on a state health insurance marketplace. Nearly half of working-age Americans recently surveyed said they…

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Originally Published on https://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/

Kim Blanton Squared Away Blog Writer

I’m a veteran financial and economics reporter, most recently for The Boston Globe, who has also written for The Economist and other publications. I uncovered scandals during the savings and loan crisis in Texas back in the late 1980s, trekked around the world to cover finance and economics in the 1990s, and ventured into Boston neighborhoods to cover the recent subprime mortgage crisis.

While covering subprime mortgages, I began to see the importance of financial behavior and literacy. Wall Street excesses certainly fueled the crisis, but a poor understanding of complex financial products also played a major role. I interviewed dozens of homeowners in the grip of foreclosure who had agreed to home loans that they did not understand and that their brokers did not or could not explain to them. The consequences for these individuals – and the country – were disastrous.

I use the same dogged reporting skills to cover financial issues of growing importance today, including the personal crisis that concerns millions of baby boomers: Retirement.

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