Paying off a loan

Unless you were born wealthy, many of us have had or will have loans, but I just want to offer this brief advice concerning paying them off.  Aren’t you so excited when you finally pay off your credit card, or that small loan? When you get to the point of that final payment, you have to be careful to avoid extra interest charges.  

Case in point, I’ll use a hypothetical example:  Jerry finally paid off his credit card debt by putting out  $1,000 on 6.7.13.  He had closed the account, but was still working on paying off the balance. Jerry’s billing statement ended on 6.22.13;  Jerry was glad to have that BURDEN off him.  Next month, he received a bill cut on 7.22.13 that stated he owed an additional $4.00.  He was LIVID and insisted he had paid in full, but the credit card company explained that was the interested he owed.  So reluctantly, he paid up again.

This can really happen to you.   In this case, the company charged Jerry interest from the time he made the “final” payment until the end of his next billing cycle.  The amount, although nominal, is troubling.  Some tips to avoid Jerry’s fate:

1) Remember that when dealing with loans and credit cards payment is usually applied to interest (extra amount derived from your interest rate and the amount you owe) and principal (the amount you owe).  Payments are applied to the interest and principal according to a formula.  If you don’t pay a certain amount above your minimum amount due, you may end up paying more interest in the long run.

2) At the time of your final payment, ask for an official letter stating your balance is paid is full. This is easy to do, even if you prefer to pay bills online.  It’s as simple as a quick email, and it could save you time and help you if necessary.

3) Or, make your final payment with an agent on the phone, but make sure there is no additional service charge.  At that time, you can ask what the interest would be and how much you need to pay at that point in the billing cycle to keep from incurring additional bills.  Basically, your amount due, is deceptive because they are using a formula to collect interest at all times on that amount.

4) If you make a final payment, and request a letter stating your account is paid in full (for a closed credit card account only or loan) you have some bargaining power.  If you do incur another final bill, consider arguments in your favor:

  • That you have a letter stating your account was paid off (obviously)
  • That you spoke with a customer service agent at the time of payoff (if applicable) and provide the confirmation number from your interaction.  Always get a confirmation number!
  • That you have made all your payments on time generally (hopefully) and since you are a “good” customer, it is really bad for them to treat you this way
  • And keep this one for a last resort–that you’ll never do business with them again because of the way they deceived you.  No business wants to loose future business, so in the course of “good will,” they will cave, and you will prevail.

Watch out for that interest y’all.  It’s a real bubble buster.

Disclaimer: This blog is Commentary Only and nothing here is to be interpreted as legal advice, solicitation, or any claim that the quality of legal services offered by The Keli R. Edwards Law Office, LLC is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.  I welcome your feedback and comments!

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Up late–ObamaCare Senate Fake Filibuster

Right now, as most of you sleep the night away, several of our Honorable Senators are having a slumber party attempting to defund ObamaCare, aka The Affordable Health Care Act.  This is all symbolic I suppose, to accomplish what ends, I can’t understand…Regardless, the fat lady will sing tomorrow when the debate is closed and the voting begins.  (the filibuster is fake because this pro-longed talking and discourse on the Senate floor will not actually delay the vote)

How did we get here?  Just last week I watched a small group of our honorable representatives coo and yell in excitement over their “victory” last week to force a government shut down by attaching an ultimatum to defund ObamaCare to the  budget, the federal budget that really affects my check!  I’m one of thousands of federal government workers that could be affected by this sideshow.

The Supreme Court has spoken on The Affordable Health Care Act, noting in its 2012 opinion that the mandate to purchase health insurance was NOT unconstitutional.  The penalty for failing to do so was interpreted by our Honorable Justices as a tax, and well the last time I checked taxes  are pretty much legal.  

Here are some important things to know—in anticipation of this defunding measure failing to be approved by the senate ( and messing with my check):

Oct 1, 2013: The Health Insurance Exchanges open and the option to purchase insurance in your state begins.

Dec 15, 2013: Deadline to chose a plan and sign up.

Jan 1, 2014: You should have signed up for a plan so that your new coverage begins to be active on this day.

As we know many states have been resistant in implementing the Health Insurance exchanges, and information has not been getting out to people who need it due to the politically charged law.  That is where the navigators come in.  The ACA has allotted over $65 Million to organizations to help people to enroll and “navigate” through their options.  The exchange in Alabama will be operated by the federal government, as Alabama law makers did not take the option to run the exchange at the state level.  Details are scarce but three major companies Blue Cross Blue Shield, United and Humana have applied to offer plans.

Who are the Alabama “navigators”?  Ascension Health, Birmingham-based AIDS Alabama Inc., Samford University, Catholic Social Services –Archdiocese of Mobile and the Demopolis-based Tombigbee Healthcare Authority.  View the complete list

Can you believe this side show is still going on? *time currently 2:27 am.  

Time for me to sign off, but to close, and in case you need a refresher here are some of the key provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) aka ObamaCare:

*Eliminates the “Donut hole” coverage gap for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans by 2020

*Prohibits Health Insurance plans from denying coverage based on pre-existing health conditions.  Did you know that a prior pregnancy has been considered a pre-existing condition by some health plans?

*Allows children to be covered under their parents’ insurance until age 26

*Guaranteed free or reduced fee for preventative health screenings and benefits to include: Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) screenings, smoking cessation, birth control, women’s exam (OB-GYN) , breast feeding supplies, depression screenings, blood pressure screenings

*Expands Medicaid eligibility, in states that chose to do so, by increasing the income requirements for Medicaid so that some who are struggling but not quite “poor” enough for Medicaid are now eligible for Medicaid

These are just some of the benefits.  It’s amazing that there is such a dynamic and sensational effort to derail and defund the ACA—Money talks.  Awaiting with baited breath what’s next to unfold in the ACA saga.

And the fake filibuster continues….

Disclaimer: This blog is Commentary Only and nothing here is to be interpreted as legal advice, solicitation, or any claim that the quality of legal services offered by The Keli R. Edwards Law Office is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.  I welcome your feedback and comments!

Introductions

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I am Keli R. Edwards.  This is my Law Office website and blog.  Follow my blog. Leave a comment.  Looking forward to posting commentary only concerning my varied interests.

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Keli R. Edwards, Pharm.D., Esq. admitted to practice law in Alabama, and licensed to practice pharmacy in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Alabama, and Virginia.

LICENSED ATTORNEY–She has experience with landlord tenant matters, real property,traffic tickets, divorce (uncontested), and small claims court actions.  Her legal interests include civil rights, equal opportunity/affirmative action, employment, health regulations and licensing, probate (estate planning, living wills, power of attorney), and contract review, especially health law and compliance.

CONSULTING—Dr. Edwards, Esq. is ready to handle your consulting needs for health care matters, to include Medicare/Medicaid, The Affordable Health Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”), and managed care.

Disclaimer: Nothing here is to be interpreted as legal advice, solicitation, or any claim that the quality of legal services offered by The Keli R. Edwards Law Office is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.