Travel season in full effect
The good news for businesses that depend on vacation travelers is that, after a long, cold winter, consumers seem willing to dig deeper to pay for premium getaways even with air fares and hotel prices on the rise, according to AAA Travel. Local travel agents say luxury trips to Europe and Australia are actually outselling Caribbean and Mexico vacation packages.
Doctor bills cause ailing credit
Medical debt is causing tremendous problems for consumers when it ends up going to collections and shows up in their credit reports, according to a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many scoring models used by the major credit reporting agencies do not discern the difference between medical and non-medical debt in collections, although medical debt is very different from unpaid credit cards, telephone and utility bills.
New Highmark CEO staying busy
David Holmberg, the new president and CEO of Highmark Inc., has been crisscrossing the state over the past two weeks meeting with local officials as well as key legislators and state insurance department officials in Harrisburg. One meeting he hasn’t had yet is with Jeffrey Romoff, UPMC president and CEO. UPMC insists it will not extend the contract that provides in-network access for Highmark subscribers to its doctors and facilities past Dec. 31.
Families facing higher costs
The average income for families of all sorts decreased from 2012 to 2013 by $103 to $65,069 before taxes, but their expenses went up by $777 a year to $51,408, according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lion’s share of increased expenses in the average household stemmed from transportation costs, which rose to an average $8,999 a year, or $494 more than last year, due to vehicle purchase prices going up.
A great poet, warrior dies
We said goodbye to celebrated poet and author Maya Angelou who passed away on Wednesday at age 86. She was the nation’s “wise woman” in her role as an activist and storyteller of black America. In her career spanning more than 50 years, Ms. Angelou received over 30 honorary doctoral degrees and published several books of poetry and seven autobiographies, the first and most famous being “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
Tim Grant: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1591.