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Many popular search engines arent making it clear to Web users that some listings might be paid ads, says Commercial Alert, a consumer watchdog group. Advertisers are paying to have their products or services put in a prominent position by some search engines, but the ads look like any other listings, according to a complaint the group filed with the Federal Trade Commission. The search engines named in the complaint are offered by MSN (www.msn.com ), Netscape (www.netscape.com ), Direct Hit (www.directhit.com ), Lycos (www.lycos.com ), iWon (www.iwon.com ), Altavista (www.altavista.com ), HotBot (www.hotbot.com ), and LookSmart (www.looksmart.com ).
It will be easier to pay taxes online next year. The US Treasury now has a secure Web site that lets individuals and businesses pay taxes by electronically transferring money from their bank accounts. Individuals can schedule a payment up to a year ahead of time (120 days ahead for businesses). You can also make estimated tax payments online.
To enroll in the online service, log onto EFTPS-OnLine at www.eftps.gov . Youll be mailed a personal identification number and a confirmation kit with instructions on how to get an Internet password.
Monthly premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 11 percent from spring 2000 to spring 2001more than three times as fast as inflation. Thats the largest increase since 1992, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.
Although businesses generally have passed little of that increase on to workers, employers say thats likely to change. Seventy-five percent of large companies and 42 percent of small ones (44 percent overall) expect to shift more costs to employees next year. Moreover, fewer employers than in the past may be willing to offer health coverage at all. As the economy cools off, health insurance will become less available, less comprehensive, and more expensive for your patients, warns Larry Levitt., vice president of the foundation
Location and lifestyle are the most important considerations for last-year residents weighing practice opportunities, according to a survey of 300 graduating residents by Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, the physician search firm.
About 80 percent of the respondents seek a community of 51,000 or more. None want to practice in a town of 10,000 or less. Ninety-three percent of the primary care residents expect their earnings to exceed $100,000 in the first year of practice. More than half of the surgical residents expect incomes above $175,000 starting out.
Residents ending specialty training are clearly in higher demand. Forty-four percent of them had been showered with more than 25 job offers; only 22 percent of primary care residents received that many.
The majority of surveyed residents want to practice with a group, rather than a partnership or solo. Only 1 percent (down from 20 percent in 1995) favor working in a managed care environment.
Would not prefer
Ability to find a job
Dealing with managed care
Availability of free time
Insufficient medical knowledge
Dealing with patients
N/A: The question was worded differently in 1995 and cannot be compared.
Source: Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, 2001 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents
Auto insurance companies are increasingly looking at your credit history as well as your driving record. Ninety-two of the 100 largest auto insurers use credit data when they decide whom to insure or what rates to charge, according to a study by Conning & Co., an insurance research and asset-management firm. People who manage their finances well are less likely to file an insurance claim, reports the National Association of Independent Insurers.
Joan Rose, Yvonne Wollenberg. ONLINE News Briefs.