More Odds And Ends From The Health And Financial World


It’s been awhile since we’ve reached into the “odds and ends” file, so let’s take a look at some tidbits from the news.

Part of the fabled American Dream is the ideal that each generation will do better financially than the one that came before it. So why might Generation X end up being the exception? Even though Gen X is pulling down a bigger salary than their parents, they are lagging behind in accumulating wealth, according to a Pew Foundation study.

The typical Gen Xer has $29,100 in wealth, compared to the $65,200 that their parents had accumulated at the same age, according to the Pew study. Wealth includes savings, retirement funds, homes and other investments.

Slightly more than one-third of Gen Xers have exceeded their parents’ net worth. This is despite the fact that three-quarters of Gen Xers are earning bigger salaries than their parents did.

So what is dragging Gen X behind? Student loan debt. The average Gen Xer carries six times the debt level as their parents did.

What do women really want? That question has been debated since Adam and Eve. Now another Pew study says it has found the answer – a man with a steady job.

Pew says its recent study of single men and women found that women look at solid employment as the top characteristic when it comes to finding a suitable husband. Men, meanwhile, look at things like having similar ideas on having and raising children.

Maybe we don’t need to go anywhere else but Wal-Mart. The discount giant is no longer happy to be the go-to store for everything from socks to soft drinks. Now they want to be the place consumers go for health care and banking.

Wal-Mart is opening up clinics in a handful of stores in South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. For $40 you can get a medical checkup with a nurse practitioner. For Wal-Mart employees on the company health plan, it’s only $4.

Wal-Mart also wants a piece of the nation’s bank market. The retailer announced this week it is teaming up with Green Dot, known for its prepaid payment cards, to provide checking accounts to almost anyone over 18 who passes an identification check. GoBank, as the service is known, is part of Wal-Mart’s venture into financial services for people with little or no access to traditional banking.

Another major U.S retailer, CVS, is partnering with doctors and hospitals to integrate customers’ medical records and pharmacy records, according to Kaiser Health News. CVS announced it will integrate the electronic medical records from MedStar Health’s 10 hospitals and 4,000 doctors – located in Washington, D.C. and Maryland — with CVS pharmacies as well as the chain’s 900 Minute Clinics located across the country.

When someone gets care at a pharmacy or retail clinic, it will be entered in the patient’s MedStar records for the doctor to see. If a MedStar patient receives CVS service in another state, practitioners there will still be able to see the patient’s records.

Counting the MedStar partnership, CVS now has 41 such health-system agreements in place, with the last nine encompassing the retailers’ pharmacies. CVS hopes the other existing arrangements – which linked the systems with the Minute Clinics — will follow this course.




Susan Rupe is assistant editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Connect with Susan →

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