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02 September

Low income? Dental care hard to come by

Middletown resident Janet Greene likes to play a bit of a waiting game when it comes to dental care.

She narrowly avoided a $300 root canal a couple of weeks ago, but this time around, her cavities finally caught up with her.

Last Wednesday, Greene, 50 and unemployed, sat at Westside Family Healthcares Wilmington dental clinic awaiting treatment for two cavity fillings and a chipped tooth.

She is on Medicaid, but that wont help her. In Delaware preventative dental care – routine checkups, cleanings, fillings and X-rays are not covered. Greene is not alone in her situation. There are 124,532 other Delawareans lacking that coverage.

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Delaware is 1 of only 4 states without Medicaid coverage for adult dental care, forcing patients to pay out of pocket for care considered to be the first line of defense against health risks, including premature births, heart disease and complications from diabetes.

State medical experts say reform is clearly needed, but it comes with a hefty price tag: More than $6 million to implement.

For patients like Greene on fixed-income and without a monthly paycheck, scraping together $50 for a co-pay is a struggle.

Its a bit of a burden, she said.

Some clinics, like Westside, offer payment plans, but its still difficult.

Nineteen-year-old Destiny Chinski, of Wilmington, watches the time tick away until she is in Greenes shoes.

Chinski is enrolled in Medicaid through a state assistance plan, Delaware Physicians Care, but dental coverage cuts off as soon as she turns 21.

Without insurance, two routine dental exams, including X-rays and teeth cleaning, can cost around $350.

Such money can buy about 100 gallons of milk, 30 adult movie tickets or close to 350 basic paper notebooks. For some, $350 is the sum of a paycheck or a couple months worth of groceries.

Chinski worries about the looming cost of her dental care, so she is trying to fit in as many appointments as she can.

It only doesnt cost me for so long, she said. Health care in general in this state is hard to come by. Theres not much they [the state[ can do for every person.

Wilmington resident Norma Diaz, 32, is used to paying out of pocket for her dental care. A root canal costs her $140; an extraction costs $60.

Two weeks ago, she waited patiently to be seen at Westside for her final fitting and setting for partial lower dentures. The entire process to create dentures, impression, mold, fitting and setting, will cost her somewhere between $600 to $1,200.

Medicaid coverage for dental care would be a lifesaver, she said.

I wouldnt have to pay out of pocket, she said, smiling at the thought.

There are no requirements under the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide preventative dental coverage to adult Medicaid beneficiaries. States have the flexibility to determine how and what dental benefits are provided.

Pennsylvanias Medicaid division, for instance, offers coverage adult dental exams, cleanings and pre-approved treatments for prosthetics, extractions and crowns for as little as a 65 cent co-pay.

Most states have jumped on board to add some facets of adult dental care to Medicaid benefits, but Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Delaware do not offer that coverage. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in the process of approving South Carolinas preventative dental care expansion.

The cost to taxpayers has been a major obstacle to expanding the states subsidized dental benefits, said Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, chair of the state Senate Health Committee.

Hall-Long introduced two bills in the 147th Legislative session that specifically addressed that need for subsidized adult dental care in Delaware, but they failed to make it to the Senate floor.

State budget officials then estimated the expansion would cost $6.2 million a year for about 216,000 beneficiaries.

Yes, it is expensive, but, pending re-election, Hall-Long pledges to re-introduce the bills in January when the Legislature reconvenes.

A lack of dental care is far too great of a threat to overall health, she said.

Preventative care is so much less costly, Hall-Long said. We have to look at how we can provide a basic, minimum standard.

In an annual survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of adults living in Delaware had a dental visit within the last year, said Dr. Greg McClure, dental director for the states Bureau of Oral Health and Dental Services.

Though that is close to 700,000 people, McClure said the data does not specify whether those visits were routine or emergency.

Even though Westside recently opened a new community clinic in Dover to help better serve those on fixed incomes downstate and cut down on emergency visits, Tom Stephens, Westsides chief medical officer, said the need to expand Delawares Medicaid is still essential.

Mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria which constantly forms sticky mineral crust on teeth, known as plaque. Untreated plaque eats away at the enamel on teeth, causing decay and gum disease.

Regular brushing and flossing can get rid of plaque, but if care is neglected, only a professional cleaning can remove it, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

MaryClare Kubasko, a dentist with Westside Family Healthcare, said the bacteria that causes gum disease can be transmitted to spouses and children. Though it might be difficult, she urges her patients with gum disease to avoid kissing their children.

If its left untreated, it will progress, she said.

Without routine care, a host of medical risks escalate. For instance, pregnant women with gum disease are at a higher risk of having premature births, Stephens said.

Untreated plaque can cause inflammation that stresses a womans overall body immune response, causing early deliveries, he said.

Some studies link the bacteria in gum disease with higher chances for heart disease.

Similarly, if people with diabetes have poor oral hygiene, they are more susceptible to gum infections since their immune systems are already weakened, according to the Academy of Peridontology.

If they have really bad dental care, it can impact their well-being. If you have dental abscesses, if you lost teeth, that impacts your feeling of self-worth. We learn more and more almost daily of the impact [dental care] has on overall health, Stephens said.

The most recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 45.2 percent of adults in Delaware had permanent teeth extracted, slightly above the national average, which sits at 44.5 percent. The extractions are the result of tooth decay, gum disease or trauma, McClure explained.

Health care is expensive, but its important, McClure said.

If you have an infection because its in the mouth, does it make it any less important? We dont think so.

Luckily, Ramos Sandoval hasnt had to go to the emergency room for a dental procedure yet.

Sandoval, who works in a barber shop in Wilmington, said he wishes Medicaid subsidies would cover his dental care. On his salary, he doesnt have much room for many extra costs.

Its really important to me, I [would treat] dental insurance like my child, he said.

Jen Rini can be reached at (302) 324-2386 or Follow @JenRini on Twitter.

02 September

YouTube Now Offers Fan Funding In Four Countries – Here’s A Look At How It …

YouTube thrives off the videos produced by independent content creatorsall over the world, and whileit compensates many of themthrough ads, that money is hardly enough to make a living off of in most cases. Earlier this summer Googlesaid that producers would soon have the option to request donations right on their YouTube pages. The features live now, so heres a look at how it works.

When youre watching something produced by someone whos willing to accept donations, an icon will appear in the top left corner of the video. In some cases, hovering over that icon will reveal a banner with the option to support to current channel.

In other cases, clicking on the item will bring up a pop-up message on top of the video. Interacting withthis message will pull up a window where you can decide how much money you wish to donate.

Fan fundingisnt confined to the browser, as it also works within the YouTube Android app.

If you do offer up a donation, YouTube will take a small cut to handle the transaction. Just how much the company takes varies by country. In the US, it keeps 5% plus 21 cents. In Japan, its 5% plusyen;22.

So if an American makes a donation of $10, YouTube will pocket 71 cents of that for its effort. Fortunately, the vast majority goes straight to the content creator. Donations are processed using Google Wallet.

For now, fan funding is only supported in Australia, Japan, Mexico, and the US. Naturally, Google is working to bring the optionto more countries somewhere down the road. People living in one of these four can start taking advantage of the feature right away within a browser or version 5.7 and higher of the YouTube Android app. Support for other platforms is also in the works.

02 September

Burger King-Tim Horton: Scrap the Corporation Tax Completely

There is a simple and sensible way of dealing with so-called “inversion deals,” such as Burger King’s purchase of Canada’s Tim Horton, but no one wants to touch it.

Abolish the corporate income tax.

Or, to put it more accurately, abolish the corporate income tax and replace it with a simpler, fairer and more progressive tax which doesn’t cause so much mayhem.

Companies such as Burger King are striking deals to take over foreign rivals as a convoluted way of minimizing their hit from US corporation taxes. The marginal rate of US corporation tax is very high by global standards, although there is plenty of debate about the effective average rates once you factor in all the various “loopholes.”

But the debate about the level of corporation taxes misses the real point

Corporations don’t exist, except as a figment of our legal imagination. There is no person called General Motors General Motors or Pfizer Pfizer.

At the risk of shocking the impressionable, Burger King isn’t a real king. He isn’t even a person.

So when we think we are taxing “big corporations,” we aren’t. We’re just levying a tax on a nobody, that then has to get paid by an actual somebody, or multiple somebodies, down the line.

Corporation taxes end up being paid by the company’s consumers, workers, managers, and investors. Where the burden falls is a matter of debate and certainly varies by circumstance – some companies will be able to charge customers a little more to pay the tax, others will be able to pay their workers a little less, and still others will pay out lower dividends, and so on.

Actual people pay the tax. Yes, it would be lovely if a fictional entity could pay our taxes for us, but alas in the real world it doesn’t work like that. We can’t tax the Easter Bunny either.

Some people argue this doesn’t matter. We have survived for a long time levying taxes on “corporations” and leaving it up to the boards of directors, and industry dynamics, to decide where to find the actual money. But it does matter, and it matters more and more.

Put aside these “inversion” deals for a moment.

Corporation taxes are regressive. I wish more people understood this. Where a company pays the tax by raising prices or cutting wages, the burden falls on consumers or workers, regardless of ability to pay. Even where the burden falls on investors, it is still at a flat rate: You and Bill Gates and Mr. Monopoly all pay the same corporation tax on each dollar of earnings, even if you get fewer dollars of earnings than they do. The objection to that is the same as the objection to a flat rate of personal income tax.

The picture gets even worse when you realize that the existence of the corporate income tax is then used to justify lower taxes on dividends and capital gains; after all, say investors, “we’ve already paid once.”

Corporation taxes are also anti-rational. They encourage boards of directors to take stupid, irrational, uneconomic and unpatriotic things simply in order to meet their legal fiduciary duty of reducing their corporation’s tax rate.

To minimize corporation tax, the boards of US-headquartered companies are keeping trillions of dollars overseas, where the money is sitting idle and doing no good. That money should be brought back to America and invested.

To minimize corporation tax, the boards of US-headquartered companies are also borrowing trillions of dollars. The interest paid on debt is deductible from corporate income tax, while the dividends paid on stock aren’t, so companies are actually being encouraged to borrow more, raising risks and volatility.

To minimize corporation tax, the boards are striking so-called “inversion” deals to take over foreign companies.

Finally, to minimize corporation tax, boards are spending a fortune ever year employing accountants and lawyers to wriggle through loopholes. That money could otherwise be spent on socially productive investments. Corporation taxes are among the reasons why the US tax code has become a convoluted monstrosity which should unite Americans of all political persuasions in outrage.

There is a simple alternative.

Abolish the corporate income tax.

And start taxing all dividends and capital gains under the same rates we levy on wages, as ordinary income. So if a company saves $1 billion on corporate income taxes and hands that money to investors, we simply tax those investors, at progressive rates rising up to 39.6% (ignoring the extra Medicare tax for the moment).

Grandma Moses on her rocking chair will pay a lower rate on her extra dividends than Daddy Warbucks, which is as it should be.

There is a pre-existing model for this. It’s called the Subchapter-S corporation, where Uncle Sam taxes the owner once, not twice, but at ordinary income tax rates.

It would bring trillions of dollars home, tax income more progressively, and discourage companies from doing things simply for the tax breaks. Win-win-win.

But that’s too easy. It makes too much sense. So let’s carry on with the current system or idiotic taxes, too many lawyers, and lots of demagoguery, shall we?

02 September

Tips for getting a break on car insurance

Everybody wants a discount on car insurance. Why else would we watch the Esurance TV ads where a crazy lady in the beige turtleneck named Beatrice talks about how she shops for car insurance and how she posts vacation photos to her living-room wall instead of mailing the photos to friends, all just to save money?

Sometimes, though, consumers dont realize all the discounts they are eligible to receive. Would you expect a break because your car has daytime running lights? Maybe not, yet four of the top 10 insurers offer a discount for that, based on a new survey.

Daytime running lights are a fairly common feature now. But you cant really count on your insurance company to know about the equipment on your car, said Doug Whiteman, an insurance analyst for

Discounts can vary based on what state regulators allow, laws in a given state and what some insurers offer in given markets.

Here are more ideas for saving money:

bull; Watch how many miles you drive. noted that eight of 10 major insurers surveyed offer a discount for driving a lower amount of miles each year. But you might need an onboard tracking device.

USAA offers a discount for low annual mileage in many markets but not Hawaii and North Carolina. It said its low-mileage discount would be for below 5,000 miles per year, but the discount does vary by age and state. No monitoring is required.

Allstate noted that it rewards drivers in Michigan and some other states for low mileage through the its Drivewise program. Drivers can choose to install a device to track mileage, hard braking, speed and time of day.

We know these are factors that contribute to a higher frequency of collisions, said Shelley Frost, Allstate senior manager of corporate relations.

The voluntary program does not cause a premium to go up. Drivers can earn a 10 percent reward for enrolling and activating the device, and up to 30 percent at renewal based on their driving performance.

bull; Ask about discounts if you belong to a college alumni group, fraternity, sorority, professional group or credit union. Some discounts apply if you work for a major company, too.

bull; Look for discounts for anti-theft devices, such as alarm systems.

Michigan regulators note that such discounts would likely apply only to your comprehensive premium. So a consumer who does not carry comprehensive coverage, maybe with an older vehicle, wont qualify for that discount.

Some discounts arent huge, like for the daytime running lights, and can apply only to some parts of the premium.

Geico notes on its website, for example, that customers could receive a 3 percent discount on certain coverage for daytime running lights. USAA notes that its discount for daytime running lights is generally 3 to 5 percent off only the collision coverage, not the entire premium, and the percentage varies by state.

bull; Get a discount for owning a newer vehicle, say one that is 3 years old or newer. But pay attention to the car you buy, as some cost more to insure than others.

bull; Pay close attention to your credit history. Some of the biggest savings, depending on the insurer, can depend on whats called a credit-based insurance score.

Paying your bills on time and managing your credit can influence your premiums in some way in many states.

Insurance companies believe that the better your overall financial history, the less likely you are to file an insurance claim, and the more likely you are to pay your insurance-premium payments, said Todd Albery, CEO of, a Detroit-based provider of free credit reports and scores.

Allstate notes online that it never sees your credit score but will use elements from your credit history, such as late payments or a missed payment. How long have you been using credit? If you had high credit-card balances in the past, are those balances lower now? How many credit-card accounts or installment loans do you have? Have you had a foreclosure?

Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of, said his companys research showed that some insurance premiums on average could be reduced 65 percent for someone with an excellent credit history, compared with a person with no credit history.

The WalletHub survey noted that credit data has the least impact on insurance premiums in Vermont (an 18 percent fluctuation) and the greatest impact in the District of Columbia (a 126 percent fluctuation).

Given the mistakes that can go into credit reports, he noted, consumers should review their credit report for any potential mistakes before shopping for car insurance. It wouldnt help to shop around for premiums, he noted, if youd get the wrong quote because your credit report is wrong.

bull; Comparison-shop for auto insurance.

bull; Look at the Q-and-A section or blog sections online where some insurers spell out discounts.

bull; Review your coverage as your car gets older, too. State Farm notes that as a cars value decreases, some consumers consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage to save money on premiums.

bull; Some insurers offer discounts for paying the premium in full at one time or for having payments automatically made electronically.

bull; An insurer might set a maximum policy discount, regardless of the number of discounts you might qualify to receive, according to Michigans Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

bull; Take into consideration any discounts youd receive if you bundle your homeowners insurance and car insurance. Or bundle your boat insurance with your car insurance.

02 September

Rabies-free Chennai: Corporation gives it a shot

CHENNAI: Corporation of Chennai will start a mass anti-rabies vaccination of 80,000 stray dogs in a few weeks.

Corporation officials said a dedicated team will cover every neighbourhood in veterinary hospital vehicles and vaccinate the canines. We plan to vaccinate 40,000 dogs in three weeks with the help of 45 teams. Each team will consist of vets, dog catchers, and animal care assistants. An equal number of dogs will be covered in the second phase.

The vaccinated canines would be marked with vegetable dye, said a corporation official. He said the canine population and the risk of contracting rabies would be under control in the city after the vaccination drive. TOI had reported that around 1.13 lakh people reported dog bites and rabies claimed 26 lives since 2011, which means people report more than 100 cases of dog bites every day in the city.

Blue Cross of India has expressed willingness to be part of the mass anti-rabies vaccination. If completed, the city would be the first in the country with 100% vaccinated stray dogs. We could also provide a team – ambulance, driver, four dog catchers, five butterfly nets and cold storage facility to keep vaccines and also volunteers to record the number of vaccinated dogs for the mass drive, said Blue Cross general manager Dawn Williams.

He said mass vaccination of dogs is cheapest way to control rabies. We have vaccinated 6,300 dogs in 2013 under the mission rabies programme. Chennai is also a pioneer in implementing ABC programmes to control the stray population, he said. Corporation records show that the number of people who died of rabies more than doubled from 2011-12 to 2012-13, from five to 11. In 2013-14, 10 people died of rabies. According to the civic bodys records, residents reported 38,454 dog bites in 2011-12, 37,937 in 2012-13 and 37,155 in 2013-14.

The corporation recently conducted a dog census and identified more than 80,000 dogs across 15 zones. In Chennai, Shollinganallur zone has the largest number of canines roaming the streets – around 9,000. Royapuram recorded the lowest at 1,500. The census figures will help us conduct vaccination, sterilisation projects and estimate the requirements of dog catchers and vehicles in each zone, the official said.

However, the civic bodys dog census had invited criticism as it did not have members of organizations familiar with animal census like Animal Welfare Board of India or Blue Cross of India. Conservancy workers were tasked with counting stray dogs streets. The accuracy of the exercise remains questionable as many of the workers were not trained and found it difficult to enter the required particulars accurately.

01 September

Registration is open for The Color Run 5K

HUNTINGTON — The Color Run returns to Huntington Saturday, Sept. 6. The event will begin at 8:30 am downtown with a finish-line celebration at Harris Riverfront Park.

Registration is open for individual runners and teams at

This is the second year for the event in Huntington, and this year, the Color Run is introducing its new Kaleidoscope Tour. Participants can expect novel course attractions, fresh participant gear and new store merchandise.

In 2014, The Color Run is hosting events in more than 50 countries and 240 cities worldwide. With no winners or official times, The Color Run celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality, bringing communities together for colorful fun in which participants are doused from head to toe in different colors throughout their course.

We call The Color Run the happiest 5K on the planet because our events bring together friends and family in a unique, healthy, and fun environment, founder Travis Snyder said in a news release. Our only rules are that people wear white and prepare to be covered in color at the finish.

Close to 50 percent of Color Runners are first-time 5K runners, according to the release.

01 September
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Know Your Rival: A Q&A with Barca Blaugranes

Know your enemy is one of the oldest tenets of warfare. While football isnt quite live combat, the same idiom still applies; the more you know about your opposition, the more likely it is that youll be able to find a way to defeat them.

Of course, we writers arent involved in the actual game in any way, but we can still do what we can to arm ourselves with knowledge for our own betterment and understanding. With that in mind, we sat down with Arron Duckling of fellow SB Nation blog Barca Blaugranes and had a little question and answer session to learn more about this new Barcelona side.

01 September
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Artistic duo brings innovative art style to Naples

Amanda and Roy Clark have come up with something new — totally new — in the art world: sculpted fine art paintings. While the impressionistic nature paintings, rendered in outdoor acrylic house paints on industrial-grade metal sheets, look as if they have texture and depth to them, they are completely flat.

The reaction we get from people is hilarious, Roy Clark said. They think theres texture and we say, You can touch it, and they do and withdraw their hands. Its the weirdest response, like its hot. Theres that emotional, like, it has to have texture to it.

The artistic duo, recently transplanted to Naples from Grand Rapids, Mich., invented the artistic innovation partly by intention and partly by accident about five years ago while entering a new art festival held in their hometown. ArtPrize stands unique among contests in that the audience serves as the jury and votes for which artwork will win the $200,000 grand prize.

01 September
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Majority of Americans say they work while on vacation, TripAdvisor survey shows

Vacation. It’s supposed to be time off and away from work. However, more than 3/4 of US respondents to a TripAdvisor survey say they have worked while on vacation during the past year.

Those 77 percent of US respondents who admit working on vacation is a lot higher than the average of 40 percent of respondents from nine other counties in the poll — Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom. TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, released on Tuesday those findings as well as other details from its working-on-vacation survey that queried more than 16,100 full-time, part-time and self-employed respondents in 10 countries, including 2,100 in the US

“The TripAdvisor survey shows that Americans receive less vacation time than other countries, and when they do take time off it is often more like a ‘workation’ than a vacation,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “In today’s highly connected world, most Americans feel the need to stay plugged in even while out of the office.”

Fifty-one percent of US respondents said they do not mind doing a little work on vacation, while 44 percent would prefer to be totally disconnected. Five percent said they enjoy being connected to work during time off, according to the survey. Across all of the 10 countries from which people were surveyed the top reason cited for working while on vacation was the need to address an urgent situation.

Of the US respondents, 91 percent said they check their work email and 85 percent responded to emails compared to the global average of 65 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Forty percent said they checked their email several times per day while 5 percent admitted taking a peek every hour, or more frequently, according to the survey.

US survey takers said they were also more likely to respond to emails, check voice mail, create and edit documents and respond to voice mail than those in the other nine countries.

Why are so many taking time out of their paid vacation to be connected with work? According to the survey, 18 percent of US respondents said they felt guilty if they didn’t work on vacation while the same percentage said their managers expect it. Another reason — cited by 39 percent of US respondents — could be the rise in Internet connectivity and mobile devices that has created an expectation from employers that they should always be available to work. Thirty-two percent reported a need to “check in” while out of the office.

The US respondents surveyed reported receiving 18 paid vacation days annually, but believed 22 paid days off was a more fair number.

Americans receive the fewest paid vacation days, according to the survey. French respondents receive the most at 31 days of paid vacation, an amount they consider fair. Among all respondents queried, the average number of days off was 24 and the average number of days of paid vacation considered fair was 29.

Seventy-six percent of the 2,100 Americans surveyed said they do not feel the amount of paid vacation time given in the US is fair compared to what the rest of the world receives. However, 60 percent of American survey takers said they were satisfied with the amount of paid vacation allotted.

Another interesting tidbit: 21 percent of US respondents said the would take a pay reduction in order to gain more time off. For each extra day, the average amount they would be willing to have their pay decreased was $350.

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site offering advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with links to booking tools.

01 September
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Best Car Insurance Discounts for 2014 Featured at New Car Owner Portal Online

PR Web

Miami, FL (PRWEB) August 22, 2014

Insurance agencies throughout the US can raise or lower pricing for adults depending on market changes or previous collision histories, according to newly published industry data. The Quotes Pros company is now helping to showcase some of the best car insurance discounts for 2014 that consumers can review at

A public system has been completed for use this year that includes participating companies in all states in the US that are supplying price data to car owners. The types of discounts that apply to adults who use the search tool this year pertain to liability, full coverage, collector and SR22 plans.

Weve adjusted the number of insurers that appear in our location system to provide immediate access to a broad base of discounts that agencies now supply, said a Quotes Pros rep.

The 2014 discounts for automobile insurance policies that are searchable are delivered once a driver enters a zip code that is matched to national providers. Because the system uses local search data, car owners can be presented with affordable prices from local companies in their area.

Buying an auto insurance plan from a provider is possible using our research system because some providers lock in an annual price for consumers, said the rep.

The Quotes Pros company is using its national database of insurers to connect with the public to make researching on the Internet for discounts easier. The company system provides more than vehicle insurer plans and consumers can search for health insurance rates at


The company offers the public a way to compare or to review the actual pricing that agencies in the insurance industry provide to the public. The company has a set of tools that are specifically designed to search nationally for price data. The website offers life, health, auto, motorcycle, business, collector and other popular coverage package pricing that companies calculate online.

Read the full story at