Deadline looming for Affordable Care Act enrollment

You have until the end of the month to sign up for a plan on the health-care exchanges.

With the March 31 deadline nearing, the White House is pumping up and plugging HealthCare.gov to get more people to enroll, especially young adults, reports Puneet Kollipara of The Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

President Obama’s recent appearance on the Funny Or Die Web video series “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” is getting a lot of attention.

“The series mimics low-budget interview shows, with the host and his famous guest often trading passive-aggressive digs at each other,” writes The Post’s Aaron Blake.

Post TV has Obama’s best moments on the program, including his jabs at Galifianakis that are intended to get young adults to sign up.

“The portion of young adults ages 18 to 34 — a critical component observers say is needed for the law to be a success — has grown since the sign-up period began on October 1 of last year,” reports Bruce Jaspen of Forbes.

A spokeswoman for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the administration believes millions more Americans will enroll close to the deadline.

Given the technical issues with HealthCare.gov, if you’re interested in getting coverage on the exchanges, don’t procrastinate.

I’m Live Online Today

Let’s talk money.

Join me today, at noon ET, for my weekly Q&A about personal finance. It’s always a lively discussion about all things financial.

If you can’t join me live, you can send your questions in early.

Physician, Heal Thyself

Even with an average salary of a little under $300,000, physicians aren’t saving at a rate some experts say they should, according to a Fidelity Investments report, “Physicians Savings Behavior and Retirement Readiness.”

Experts recommend when saving for retirement you aim to invest well enough to replace on a yearly basis a percentage of your pre-retirement income. The percentage, of course, will vary depending on a lot of factors. But we do know that many seniors, especially those used to living well, may need more money in retirement than they think.

That brings us to high-earning doctors.

“Physicians are on track to replace only 56 percent of their income in retirement, considerably lower than the income replacement rate of 71 percent Fidelity suggests for those earning more than $120,000 annually,” reports Yahoo Finance.

The research finds that the retirement income replacement gap can be attributed to shorter savings years since many physicians often don’t begin making six-figure salaries until their 30s.

And then there is their six-figure student loan debt.

“Even though they make good salaries, they have a lot of debt they have to take care of,” Jason Dyken, president and CEO of Dyken Wealth Strategies and a former doctor himself, told NBC News.

Oh, and perhaps there’s a bit of showing off.

“There’s this perception — doctors feel like they have to live a certain lifestyle,” Dyken said, “in order to be seen in the community as a successful professional.”

No Tipping Allowed

Many restaurant patrons prefer to have the tipping line removed from their tabs, according to a recent survey.

Some restaurants are listening.

“In recent years, such renowned restaurants as Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York and French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., and Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago have put no-tip policies in place,” writes Charles Passy for MarketWatch.

Passy says Scott Rosenberg, owner of Sushi Yasuda, another no-tip restaurant in New York, says diners are tired of judging the work of servers and then tipping them based on that judgment. “The meal should be there for you to enjoy without doing this calculus,” says Scott Rosenberg.

But even if restaurants ban tipping, it’s unlikely all patrons will comply.

“Even if you changed the server’s mentality toward how they are compensated, it is almost impossible to rewire the American customer who thinks they have to leave ‘something’ at the end of the meal,” says Carolyn Richmond, a New York-based attorney with Fox Rothschild who specializes in the hospitality industry.

Color of Money Question of the Week

Do you think restaurants should ban tipping? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “No Tips Allowed” in the subject line, and include your full name, city and state.

Teens Sues Parents for Support

Last week’s Color of Money Question generated lots of comments. It was about Rachel Canning, a high school student who claimed her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18. Her parents said she moved out because she didn’t want to follow their rules. The teen sued her parents, asking a New Jersey court to make them pay child support, finish paying for private high school tuition and give her the funds they saved for her college education, reported the Associated Press.

A judge denied the teen’s requests and encouraged the family to try and settle the matter on their own. It appears they listened. Canning has moved back home “without any promises of financial support or other consideration,” the AP reported.

I told you what I thought about the situation before the teen moved back home. I said they needed therapy not lawyers.

So I asked: “What do you think of the Canning case?”

Here’s what some of you thought:

“Your points made in the article were right on the money,” wrote Molly Feliciano of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “This is a matter that in no way belongs in a court of law but rather should be handled by mediation and/or family therapy.”

Feliciano, like me, thought the family that took in Rachel Canning was dead wrong for giving her the money to file the lawsuit against her parents. “While they may have been well meaning, they have far overstepped their boundaries into the affairs of the Canning family,” she wrote. “Had they backed off and sent Rachel back home where she belongs, this whole episode would never have reached the heights that it has. They have demonstrated extremely poor judgment.”

Patricia Harrell of Columbus, Ohio, wrote: “Whether it is a home with one or two parents, as a parent we have a responsibility to our children. Without rules, guidelines and boundaries they can be lead astray or go hog wild. I feel sorry for this situation because it sounds as if there are pieces missing. I do not agree with the way this young lady is handling this matter nor the involvement of her friend’s parent. I think there is a serious need for counseling.”

Andy Oden of Edmond, Okla., wrote: “My children have a ‘Children’s Bill of Rights’ protecting them -- created by their parents (my wife and me). It includes things like food, shelter, clothing, an interest in their health, education and well-being, etc. It does not include private school tuition nor guarantee college support. The Inglesino family, if they find the young Ms. Canning so charming, is welcome to pay her tuition instead of her lawyers. Also, shame on the attorneys representing her.”

Tia Lewis contributed to this report.

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to www.postbusiness.com.

Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, “The Color of Money.”
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