Big Price Hikes for Medicare Premiums in 2017?

Some Medicare beneficiaries could see rate increases of 22% next year.

Retirees, brace yourselves: Some participants may see double-digit premium hikes for Medicare Part B in 2017.

Congress figures to step in before the bills are due, as it did last year. But if it doesn’t, premiums for about 30% of beneficiaries could jump 22%, from $121.80 per month to $149 a month in January 2017, if the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security is low, as expected. The COLA for next year is likely to be quite small: 0.2% to 0.8%. The actual rates for Part B (which covers the costs of doctor visits and outpatient care) will be announced in October and take effect January 1.

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Which companies will profit from the digital surge as India comes online?

In this issue: New Wi-Fi gear for the home. Hacking threats to fitness trackers. The huge market for tech products in India. Amazon stock: What’s it worth? More-detailed rules to govern the Internet. Apple’s effort to improve its apps. What Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn means for business.

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Why truckers aren’t jumping for joy at $2.37 diesel

Cheaper fuel would seem like a godsend for businesses in the transportation world. But even with gasoline and diesel at multiyear lows for this time of the year, low prices are a mixed blessing. Also in this issue: An early note for propane customers who are already thinking ahead to next winter.

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How will new battery technologies change the energy industry?

Large, powerful batteries are going to be popping up in new places in coming years. They’ll be especially prevalent in the electric industry, as utilities and other companies use huge battery banks to help stabilize the electric grid and homeowners start pairing rooftop solar systems with batteries to store excess energy from the sun for nighttime use. Meanwhile, one company is essentially betting its future on being able to produce large batteries cheaply enough to power millions of electric cars.

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Which computer hardware manufacturers will benefit from faster Wi-Fi?

New blazing-fast Wi-Fi will usher in a cordless future. Plus, what to expect from upcoming cable regulation, state planning for cyber disruptions and Apple’s billion-dollar bet on Chinese ride sharing.

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Should you prepare for a spike in oil prices?

The next month or two figure to be an extremely bumpy period for the oil market. Predicting what the price of crude will do any given day will be even harder than usual. The only thing you can count on is plenty of volatility. Traders are digesting worries about real or potential shutdowns of oil production on four continents, even as the global economy shows signs of slowing, which could dent oil demand. But when the dust clears, we suspect the price of a barrel of oil this summer won’t be radically different from today’s level.

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