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On finance and practice

New privacy protections Your bank has to notify you if your account information or other sensitive data (Social Security number, driver's license number, etc.) has been stolen or inadvertently released, under new rules adopted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The notice should describe what kind of information was accessed and how, what the bank has done to prevent further breaches, and what you can do to protect yourself. It must also list a phone number you can call for information and assistance.

For information on how to safeguard the financial future of a special needs child, go to http://www.metlife.com/desk.

Women are better with investments Men are more likely to hang onto losing stocks, buy on a hot tip without doing any research, and put too much money in a single investment, says a survey conducted by Merrill Lynch Investment Managers. But while women tend to make fewer mistakes than men, they're not as interested in managing their investments. Six out of 10 women say they prefer to spend as little time as possible managing their investments, as compared to 49 percent of men, and seven out of 10 use a financial adviser, vs half of the men.

Your Medicaid patients may be skipping medications As states intensify their efforts to rein in escalating prescription drug costs, Medicaid beneficiaries may find it harder to get needed medications. More than one-fifth of adult enrollees couldn't afford to purchase at least one prescription drug in 2003, according to a Center for Studying Health System Change study published in the May/June edition of Health Affairs. Researchers note that Medicaid enrollees' access problems were comparable to that of the uninsured (26 percent).

From 2001 to 2003, the proportion of Medicaid enrollees living in states with at least four cost-cutting policies grew from 16 to 62 percent, and researchers found that beneficiaries in those states had greater problems getting prescription drugs than enrollees in other states.

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