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No soaking of these customers

Roughly four out of 10 people get free banking services, and another 14 percent pay less than $3 a month, says a survey from the American Bankers Association. (Banking services include checking account maintenance fees and ATM access fees.) Another 18 percent pay between $3 and $8 in monthly fees, while 23 percent pay more than $8. (Two percent didn't know how much they were charged each month.) Many banks offer free accounts to customers who have their paychecks directly deposited or bank online.

Air travel with fewer hassles

A new alternative to packed commercial planes and long security lines is springing up. "Air taxi" services are more convenient since they can use smaller airports that major airlines can't, allowing passengers to avoid crowded terminals. SATSair (www.satsair.com) flies throughout the Southeast and charges $595 an hour for a three-passenger private plane with leather seats, in-flight entertainment, and snacks. Interstate Air Taxi (www.interstateairtaxi.com) flies within 500 miles of airports in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. It charges $1 a mile, plus a $400 trip fee. Linear Air (www.linearair.com) covers the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Canada. (Sample fares are listed on its website.) For more air taxi services and where they operate, visit www.airtaxiworld.com.

The answer to high textbook prices

Save a bit of cash when your kids head to college this fall by hunting down textbook bargains online. The 2004 edition of Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, a hardcover text that lists for $149, can be had for $48 through Best Book Buys (www.bestbookbuys.com) or $60 at BookFinder.com (www.bookfinder.com).You can also buy or sell used textbooks through the Campus Book Swap (www.campusbookswap.com) or BooksonCampus.com (www.booksoncampus.com). Before you buy, though, check the book's description to see whether you aren't getting an international version of the text, which may or may not be similar to the US version.

Even experienced doctors are missing this diagnosis

Primary care physicians are less likely than other doctors to recognize kidney disease, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions surveyed 304 family doctors, internists, and nephrologists about the diagnosis and management of a fictitious patient whose lab results were consistent with moderate-to-severe chronic kidney disease. While nearly all of the nephrologists correctly diagnosed the patient with moderate or severe CKD, only 59 percent of family doctors and 78 percent of internists recognized the disease. Moreover, family doctors with at least 10 years of clinical experience were most likely to miss the diagnosis.

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