What type of job do you want in the finance sector? Do you want to be an analyst and crunch numbers all day, or would you prefer the fast-paced environment of a trader? Moreover, do you aspire to work in equity research, risk management, or something else?
Depending on your aspirations, you have many choices, but all of them share a few key elements in common. The roles come with their own requirements and skill sets, but many are common across the finance industry. Each has its own challenges and rewards. Given this, it’s important to understand what kind of job you want first and then decide on the appropriate skill sets needed for it. One of these is learning the right programming languages used in finance. Let’s take a look at some of them. In order to do so, we need to first examine what we mean by a programming language.
There are a few different ways to think about a programming language; however, in the context of finance, it is any language that enables a person to write instructions for a computer. The instructions are then translated and executed by the computer. By writing the instructions, you can program a computer to complete specific finance-related tasks, such as running calculations, managing databases, and executing other functions that would normally be done by humans in earlier decades. Learning a programming language doesn’t have to be hard! Many students of programming find the process to be rather straightforward, though that varies greatly according to the language. Fortunately, there is plenty of coding help available. One of the best ways to learn coding is to take a course in a specific language. The good news is that a number of programming assignment services like Assignment Core offer professional assistance when you need someone to do coding homework for you or a helping hand to find more time to study coding.
When choosing a programming language for finance, you have a few great options for languages that will be most useful. Here are a few of them:
Used in many different fields, Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It is also one of the most frequently used in finance. The language is suitable for beginners and has a large community of users. This means that you can more easily find help and receive feedback with any issues you may be facing. In terms of specializations, Python is most popular in the data science, artificial intelligence, and financial engineering domains. It is suitable for these areas owing to its strength in data science, mathematical computations, and natural language processing. As a general-purpose programming language, Python can be used to write any type of program, from web apps to websites. It is also used for data analysis, machine learning, and scientific computing.
Java is another popular programming language used in finance. It is the most commonly used language for large-scale enterprise applications owing to its scalability. It is a general-purpose language suitable for any kind of software development. Java is a modular language, which means programs are broken into smaller pieces that can be developed independently from each other. This makes the development process much more streamlined. Java is an object-oriented language, which means that programming is done with an emphasis on objects. For example, if a car were considered as an object, it would contain information about its make, model, and color. Object-oriented programming assigns attributes to blocks of chunks of information called objects. This is helpful, as it is easier to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces. As a general-purpose programming language, Java can be used to write any type of program. However, it is primarily used for enterprise applications, such as websites, business systems, and mobile apps.
C++ is a general-purpose, high-level programming language used in many domains. It is an important language in finance because it is suitable for high-performance computing. High-performance computing is the process of using advanced computer technologies to solve complex problems. C++ is derived from another programming language called C. C++ adds object-oriented programming and other advanced features. These make it more suitable for complicated tasks, such as modeling securities. C++ is a compiled language, which means that programs are translated into machine-readable code before they are executed. Compiled programming languages are more efficient than interpreted ones, such as Python, because they require fewer computing resources. C++ is often used for graphical user interfaces, mathematical computations, and computer hardware applications.
SQL is the language used to communicate with databases. In finance, databases are used to store information about assets, clients, and other aspects of trading. They also store the results of mathematical models and statistics. The most common database in finance is SQL, which is why knowing how to use SQL is an important skill for finance professionals. While SQL can be used to write queries, as well as to read data, it is better to learn other programming languages for the latter. This is because SQL is designed for one-off tasks and not for building applications.
Several additional programming languages are used in finance, so it’s important to research which languages are most common in the subdiscipline you plan to enter. By knowing which language is suitable for your role, you can develop exceptional skills to set yourself up for success in your career.
Rajat Bhargava is an entrepreneur, investor, author and currently CEO and cofounder of JumpCloud.
From the 1980s until the mid-2000s, the monoculture around Microsoft ruled. Users logged into Windows-managed computers and used Office and Windows File Server; businesses relied on Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to manage user identity and access.
Then, IT evolved. On-premises environments and closed systems gave way to the flexibility of the cloud. Organizations adopted Mac- and Linux-based systems. Software as a service (SaaS) environments exploded. Data centers started to be replaced by infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers. Now, Gartner predicts that over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025, a dramatic increase from 30% in 2021.
With cloud servers preferred for data processing and storage, web applications now dominate the market. In part because wired connections gave way to wireless networks and people became more mobile through smartphones, and Google Workspace (aka G Suite, Google Apps) and M365 (aka Office 365) became as popular as machine-based Office applications in the enterprise space.
In this environment, organizations can’t be bound to anachronistic approaches as businesses shift to the cloud and globally distributed workforces. Now’s the time for companies—especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—to approach IT with an open mind and an open approach.
“Open” in this context doesn’t mean porous or loose; it represents scalability, flexibility and agility in terms of changes in technology and developments in the stack. An open approach improves end user experience, worker productivity and satisfaction. An open approach to IT can be a critical tool in helping organizations establish zero-trust security without sacrificing the agility and flexibility made possible by the cloud.
In this article, I’ll offer some tips to getting started with this approach.
Modernizing IT stacks means making sure that work—remote and hybrid—functions well. Employees care about doing their job; they want easy access to the resources they need. IT teams want a similarly streamlined experience and assurance that company data remains secure without impacting productivity. My company’s survey of 506 SME IT admins found that nearly 75% prefer a single solution to manage employee identities, access and devices than having to manage a number of different solutions. An open directory platform approach incorporates a cloud-hosted “virtual” domain that meets this need, offering the flexibility and security necessary to support modern workplaces.
This means creating an IT environment that consumes identities wherever they live. Not just employee identities but also device identities, allowing your system to be open to receive information from authorized sources anywhere. On the outgoing side, it means creating a single source of user identity that can be propagated out to other devices, other users or to an authorized network.
Identity as a service and cloud directories are vital tools that enable an open approach. Look for those that offer fluidity and the flexibility to change resources any time (for example, from M365 to Google Workspace or vice versa).
Flexible Security Layers
Instead of traditional perimeters, an open approach favors a creation of virtual offices and security perimeters around each employee—and whatever devices they use. Being open doesn’t equate to a cavalier security approach; it’s a way to offer authorized access to resources anywhere that is convenient and tracked for compliance and overall visibility.
Security layers can evolve with each organization’s need and should include:
• Identity layer: A cloud directory houses authentication credentials and establishes centralized access control across user identity, admin access, service accounts and machines. Centering identity within a cloud directory allows SME teams to draw a security perimeter around each employee, enabling updates without disruption and providing access to on-prem and cloud-based resources.
• Device layer: Most IT environments operate within an ever-evolving state of company-issued, personal and mobile devices running some combination of Mac, Windows or Linux systems. In this complicated device ecosystem, organizations should extend user identity to establish device trust, meaning that a device is known and its user is verified. A mobile device management solution (MDM) is one option that can install a remote agent to handle basics—including multifactor authentication (MFA) and permissions—zero-touch onboarding and remote lock, restart or wipe. Determine the control level you need in your device environment, factoring in options like how you honor employee device choice and how you manage your bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
• IT resource layer: In office environments, employees generally use a form of single sign-on (SSO) to log into their desktop at designated workstations and then get instant access to applications and shared files and servers. In remote, hybrid and other modern IT environments, SSO should include everything from SaaS apps to systems, files, infrastructure and shared networks. Some organizations use SSO solely for web-based applications, while some centralize identity and extend it to virtually any IT resource through authentication protocols like LDAP, SAML, OpenID Connect, SSH, RADIUS and REST.
Given security, ongoing monitoring and compliance needs, visibility is critical to an open IT approach. Considering the breadth of access transactions, businesses should look for a holistic solution with broad coverage.
Basic event logging data is table stakes, and IT solutions should include a method for capturing discrete and unique log formats. That includes logs from SSO and from cloud RADIUS for network connection, LDAP and device connections—any log format for resources deployed in your stack.
Because integration requirements make log analysis and management solutions expensive, challenging to implement and difficult for admins managing custom feeds for authentication protocols, consider options that offer a wide range of analysis by enriching raw data. This can be done with a number of other data points, sessionizing the data through post-processing. Such information provides admins with broad insight across their entire IT environment, not just into a particular service or user.
For many organizations, extending closed legacy systems was a necessity. In the age of hybrid and remote work, it’s proving more of a liability than an asset. An open approach allows companies to embrace a diverse, modern IT environment that can keep pace with what users need, keeping them and company data secure at every access point.
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With digital disruptors eating away at market share and profits hurting from prolonged, intensive cost wars between traditional competitors, businesses had been looking to reduce their cost-to-income ratios even before COVID-19. When the pandemic happened, the urgency hit a new high. On top of that came the scramble to digitize pervasively in order to survive.
But there was a problem. Legacy infrastructure, being cost-inefficient and inflexible, hindered both objectives. The need for technology modernization was never clearer. However, what wasn’t so clear was the path to this modernization.
Should the enterprise rip up and replace the entire system or upgrade it in parts? Should the transformation go “big bang” or proceed incrementally, in phases? To what extent and to which type of cloud should they shift to? And so on.
The Infosys Modernization Radar 2022 addresses these and other questions.
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Currently, 88% of technology assets are legacy systems, half of which are business-critical. An additional concern is that many organizations lack the skills to adapt to the requirements of the digital era. This is why enterprises are rushing to modernize: The report found that 70% to 90% of the legacy estate will be modernized within five years.
Different modernization approaches have different impacts. For example, non-invasive (or less invasive) approaches involve superficial changes to a few technology components and impact the enterprise in select pockets. These methods may be considered when the IT architecture is still acceptable, the system is not overly complex, and the interfaces and integration logic are adequate. Hence they entail less expenditure.
But since these approaches modernize minimally, they are only a stepping stone to a more comprehensive future initiative. Some examples of less and non-invasive modernization include migrating technology frameworks to the cloud, migrating to open-source application servers, and rehosting mainframes.
Invasive strategies modernize thoroughly, making a sizable impact on multiple stakeholders, application layers and processes. Because they involve big changes, like implementing a new package or re-engineering, they take more time and cost more money than non-invasive approaches and carry a higher risk of disruption, but also promise more value.
When an organization’s IT snarl starts to stifle growth, it should look at invasive modernization by way of re-architecting legacy applications to cloud-native infrastructure, migrating traditional relational database management systems to NoSQL-type systems, or simplifying app development and delivery with low-code/no-code platforms.
From the above discussion, it is apparent that not all consequences of modernization are intentional or even desirable. So that brings us back to the earlier question: What is the best modernization strategy for an enterprise?
The truth is that there’s no single answer to this question because the choice of strategy depends on the organization’s context, resources, existing technology landscape, business objectives. However, if the goal is to minimize risk and business disruption, then some approaches are clearly better than others.
In the Infosys Modernization Radar 2022 report, 51% of respondents taking the big-bang approach frequently suffered high levels of disruption, compared to 21% of those who modernized incrementally in phases. This is because big-bang calls for completely rewriting enterprise core systems, an approach that has been very often likened to changing an aircraft engine mid-flight.
Therefore big-bang modernization makes sense only when the applications are small and easily replaceable. But most transformations entail bigger changes, tilting the balance in favor of phased and coexistence approaches, which are less disruptive and support business continuity.
Phased modernization progresses towards microservices architecture and could take the coexistence approach. As the name suggests, this entails the parallel runs of legacy and new systems until the entire modernization — of people, processes and technology — is complete. This requires new cloud locations for managing data transfers between old and new systems.
The modernized stack points to a new location with a routing façade, an abstraction that talks to both modernized and legacy systems. To embrace this path, organizations need to analyze applications in-depth and perform security checks to ensure risks don’t surface in the new architecture.
Strategies such as the Infosys zero-disruption method frequently take the coexistence approach since it is suited to more invasive types of modernization. Planning the parallel operation of both old and new systems until IT infrastructure and applications make their transition is extremely critical.
The coexistence approach enables a complete transformation to make the application scalable, flexible, modular and decoupled, utilizing microservices architecture. A big advantage is that the coexistence method leverages the best cloud offerings and gives the organization access to a rich partner ecosystem.
An example of zero-disruption modernization that I have led is the transformation of the point-of-sale systems of an insurer. More than 50,000 rules (business and UI) involving more than 10 million lines of code were transformed using micro-change management. This reduced ticket inventory by 70%, improved maintenance productivity by about 10% and shortened new policy rollout time by about 30%.
Technology modernization is imperative for meeting consumer expectations, lowering costs, increasing scalability and agility, and competing against nimble, innovative next-generation players. In other words, it is the ticket to future survival.
There are many modernization approaches, and not all of them are equal. For example, the big-bang approach, while quick and sometimes even more affordable, carries a very significant risk of disruption. Since a single hour of critical system downtime could cost as much as $300,000, maintaining business continuity during transformation is a very big priority for enterprises.
The phased coexistence approach mitigates disruption to ensure a seamless and successful transformation.
Gautam Khanna is the vice president and global head of the modernization practice at Infosys.
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The international community deserves credit for trying to negotiate, pressure, or conjure up democratic reform in Venezuela. But it’s time to realize that five separate internationally-sponsored efforts since 2002 haven’t led to a democratic opening. Nor have sanctions cracked the inner circle of the dictatorship. The diplomatic recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim president hasn’t inspired change within Venezuela.
None of these well-intentioned efforts have succeeded because of the intractability of the Nicolas Maduro regime, the absence of a credible leadership option in the opposition, and the inadequacy of tools available to the international community. supply Maduro credit; he’s a catastrophe as a strategic leader, but he and his cronies, schooled in the short-term political culture of Venezuela, have been able to hang on. For Maduro, every day he’s still in charge is a good day.
A new approach is needed.
Part of the solution will be in place when the opposition has created a realistic and attractive governance option. That’s their mission, and the ability of the international community to help them do so is extremely limited.
A different kind of negotiation should be part of a new approach. With Presidents Gabriel Boric in Chile and Gustavo Petro in Colombia, combined with the possible election of Lula in Brazil — depending on the results of the upcoming elections there — there may well be a critical mass of progressive democratic leaders in South America. Unlike well-intentioned extra-hemispheric actors, each of these South American nations has paid significant costs for Venezuela’s instability: in millions of impoverished refugees straining social services, in cross-border security problems, and in dramatically decreased trade. The security and financial wellbeing of all three nations have been damaged by the Venezuelan mess. Their interest in addressing those concerns, along with their shared commitment to a progressive democratic model, present these leaders an unprecedented opportunity to press now for fresh talks focused on achievable solutions to Venezuela’s continuing problems.
Chile, Colombia, and Brazil should focus on practical and incremental steps going forward. A few examples of useful Topics for discussion would be: loosening media restrictions to permit at least one media outlet with an opposition viewpoint; agreement to permit opposition leaders to freely travel and speak within Venezuela; the establishment of a timeline for elections at some level to test Bolivarian reliability; a regularization of migration from Venezuela; and a reliable mechanism for providing humanitarian and health assistance to Venezuelans. Critics will dismiss such matters as tried and failed, but they have not been addressed under the auspices of weighty and politically well-positioned leaders like Lula, Boric, and Petro. Importantly, much as was done during the Colombian peace talks with the FARC, questions about lifting sanctions imposed by external actors should be pushed off until later in the discussions, when and if real progress is made.
The involvement of Boric, Petro, and potentially Lula brings additional advantages. They can serve as mentors to the Venezuelan opposition. Each of those leaders participated in long, frustrating, but ultimately successful political enterprises against an existing order which each believed to be fundamentally closed to real reform. Their achievements in gaining power through their nation’s democratic processes can serve as model and inspiration for the beleaguered Venezuelan opposition.&nbsp;
To be sure, there will be obstacles. If the regional leaders take up this cause, their views of reform may not completely overlap with those of the U.S. Additionally, some foreign policy stances of the new Petro government will cause skepticism. Colombia’s understandable re-establishment of relations with Venezuela has in practice been clumsily handled by the new Colombian ambassador, and Bogota’s lame refusal to join OAS condemnation of the Ortega dictatorship in Nicaragua was concerning. Chile may be distracted after the accurate defeat of the constitutional referendum — but on the other hand, a change in focus might be refreshing for Boric. And finally, while Lula might well participate in South American outreach to Maduro, a re-elected Jair Bolsonaro almost certainly would not.&nbsp;&nbsp;
Nonetheless, a regional approach by these leaders is worth the effort. The Venezuelan people have suffered enough, and the Maduro regime has wrecked the country enough. Based on their nations’ interests and their democratic principles, the current crop of progressive South American leaders can press for real democratic change in a way that 20 years of desultory talks coordinated by well-meaning but disinterested outsiders has not.
Ambassador Kevin Whitaker&nbsp;is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. He served 42 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, achieving the rank of career minister. He was U.S. ambassador to Colombia from 2014 to 2019, the longest-serving ambassador to that nation in a century. Follow him on Twitter @AmbWhitaker
When people believe that a door is closing—that they have a limited amount of time left to enjoy something, such as dining out or traveling—they gravitate to the comfort of something familiar rather than the excitement of something new, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
In eight experiments with nearly 6,000 total participants, researchers explored whether people tend to prefer novel, exciting experiences, such as trying a new restaurant, or familiar ones, such as returning to an old favorite—and whether those preferences shift with the amount of time people believe that they have left to enjoy similar experiences.
The research was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Previous research has found that, on average, people tend to opt for novel and exciting experiences over familiar ones. They would rather enjoy a new movie than rewatch something they've already seen, for example, given equal access to both. However, study authors Ed O'Brien, Ph.D., and Yuji Katsumata Winet, of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, suspected that "perceived endings" might affect those choices by nudging people to return to a meaningful old favorite.
In the first experiment, the researchers asked 500 online participants and 663 college and business school students to read hypothetical scenarios in which they were given the choice between a new experience or a familiar, beloved one—such as practicing a new novel versus rereading an old favorite, or visiting a new city versus revisiting a city they loved.
Half the participants were simply asked to make the choice, while the other half were instructed to imagine that it was the last chance that they would have for a while to travel or read a novel. Overall, across all the situations, participants in the "endings" groups were more likely to choose familiar activities compared with participants in the control groups.
In the next set of experiments, the researchers moved beyond hypothetical questions to explore people's behavior in lab and real-life settings. In one, for example, participants were told they would be given a gift card to a restaurant and that the gift card needed to be used in the next month.
Then, half the participants were told to reflect on how few opportunities they would have for going to restaurants in the next month and specific things that might prevent them from going to restaurants. Finally, participants were asked whether they would prefer a gift card to a restaurant they'd visited before or one that was new to them. Overall, 67% of the participants in the "endings" condition preferred a gift certificate to a familiar restaurant, compared with just 48% of those in the control condition.
Finally, the researchers explored why perceived endings seemed to push participants toward familiar things. They found evidence that it was not simply because the familiar experiences were a safe bet that participants knew they would enjoy, but also because they were more likely to find those familiar things personally meaningful.
"Our findings unveil nuance to what people really mean by ending on a high note," said Winet. "Endings tend to prompt people to think about what's personally meaningful to them. People like ending things on a meaningful note as it provides psychological closure, and in most cases old favorites tend to be more meaningful than exciting novelty."
"The research is especially interesting because, on the surface, it runs counter to the idea of the bucket list, whereby people tend to pursue novelty—things they've never done but have always wanted to do—as they approach the end of life," O'Brien said. "Here we find that, at least in these more everyday ending contexts, people actually do the opposite. They want to end on a high note by ending on a familiar note."
The researchers noted that the findings could help people better structure their time to maximize their enjoyment of experiences, for example by visiting an old favorite attraction on the last rather than the first day of a vacation. Retailers and marketers, too, could take advantage—a café slated to close for renovations might put more of its favorite dishes on the menu rather than try new items for sale.
And perhaps, according to the researchers, such psychological framings could be useful for addressing larger societal problems. "Nudging people toward repeat consumption by emphasizing endings and last chances could subtly encourage sustainable consumption by curbing the waste that necessarily accumulates from perpetual novelty-seeking," Winet said.
Citation: When endings approach, people choose the familiar over the novel (2022, October 6) retrieved 17 October 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-approach-people-familiar.html
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Major chemical companies are backing pyrolysis plants that convert plastic waste into hydrocarbon feedstocks that can be turned into plastics again. The process uses high temperatures in the absence of oxygen to break down plastics into a mixture of smaller molecules known as pyrolysis oil. But the practice has its critics, according to a cover story in Chemical & Engineering News.
Proponents of pyrolysis argue that the process can make up for the shortcomings of traditional recycling, which captures only about 9% of plastics in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But environmentalists are not yet convinced, and a growing number of jurisdictions, such as California, don't consider pyrolysis recycling at all, writes Senior Editor Alex Tullo. Critics say that pyrolysis facilities can't actually accept the mixed plastic waste that they claim to, as residual contaminants gum up the process too much. A second charge is that pyrolysis is really just incineration. Another concern is scale. Pyrolysis and other forms of chemical recycling have roughly 120,000 t of capacity currently onstream in the U.S.—a miniscule fraction of the 56 million t of overall plastics production in North America in 2021.
Industry executives say they are more committed than ever to recycling and are eager to practice pyrolysis at large scale. Firms are building facilities that are bigger than before to increase capacity. Many companies are attempting to take in more mixed waste, with approaches such as using catalysts and adsorbents to filter out particulate matter and eliminate the most reactive compounds from the feedstock stream. And interest in pyrolysis is taking off, with petrochemical companies building infrastructure to process the products of pyrolysis plants and large engineering companies licensing technology to third parties that want to get into the business. How the technology works in the real world will go a long way to determining the public's perception of the plastics industry.
Citation: Controversial approach aims to expand plastics recycling (2022, October 12) retrieved 17 October 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-controversial-approach-aims-plastics-recycling.html
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Medicare’s annual enrollment period begins on Oct. 15 and lasts until Dec. 7, but beneficiaries shouldn’t wait until the last minute to review their insurance coverage and make changes.
Retirement Tip of the Week: The wrong Medicare decision – or just one that hasn’t been given much thought – can cost beneficiaries money and stress the following year when they need medical attention. Review your coverage as soon as possible, and check which options make the most sense for your medications and doctor preferences.
There are three P’s to focus on, said Ari Parker, co-founder and lead adviser at Chapter, a company that specializes in maximizing Medicare coverage: providers, prescriptions and priorities. The Medicare options a beneficiary chooses affect all three, and all three affect their coverage in return.
For example, not all doctors may be covered under one option, so someone who wants to see a specific specialist (or more) should make sure they’re in network when switching plans. Beneficiaries should also be hyper-aware of the prescriptions covered under the drug plan they choose. If they choose to travel internationally, or if they expect to be in multiple states for months at a time throughout the year, they should take that into consideration when making Medicare coverage decisions too, Parker said.
Keep in mind what your budget is, and how your insurance fits within that budget, said Christopher Ciano, president of Aetna Medicare. Look at all out-of-pocket costs, premiums, copayments, deductibles and coinsurance. What medication may you be expected to start next year, and how does that fit into your current or potentially new plan? Check that even if you were to stay with the plan you already have, these prices and figures aren’t changing, he added.
Want more actionable tips for your retirement savings journey? Read MarketWatch’s “Retirement Hacks” column
Not everyone needs to switch insurance plans during this period, but they should at least check their current plans as those may have changes for next year. Sticking with your current coverage could make sense, or it could cost individuals hundreds or more dollars a year.
The changes expected next year from the Inflation Reduction Act is another incentive to get serious about Medicare coverage this year. Older Americans won’t see their annual medical costs cut, significantly for some, for a few more years, but they can expect to pay less for insulin beginning next year, Ciano said.
For example, Medicare beneficiaries who use insulin will pay no more than $35 a month for it starting in 2023. Beneficiaries should look at how insulin shaped their Medicare decisions prior to this year and where it fits into their current coverage or the plan they may adopt. Not all plans cover the same insulin products.
Changes during the open enrollment period will go into effect on January 1. The annual enrollment period between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 allows beneficiaries to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, which is government-approved health insurance private companies offer, or from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
Medicare Advantage has its own enrollment period,from Jan. 1 to March 31, when people can switch between Medicare Advantage plans or move back to Original Medicare. That second enrollment period for Medicare Advantage is not available for beneficiaries who want to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, however. Here’s more information about when switching to Medicare Advantage makes sense, and when it may not.
People who are just becoming eligible for Medicare, such as by turning 65, have their own special seven-month enrollment period, beginning three months before the month of their birthday and ending three months after.
Medicare’s handbook, “Medicare and You,” is already available for 2023, and covers updates for COVID-19, such as eligibility for vaccines and booster shots.
President Joe Biden made unexpected headlines this week by launching a new initiative that will see Venezuelan migrants turned away at the southern border — but some critics say there's more show than substance to the program.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that Venezuelans entering the United States illegally will be returned to Mexico as a way to reduce the number of people arriving at the border. The move seemed to be a response to pleas from border state politicians to stem the tide of illegal migration.
BORDER CHIEF: REPUBLICAN BUS STUNTS COULD ENCOURAGE MORE ILLEGAL MIGRATION
“These actions make clear that there is a lawful and orderly way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and lawful entry is the only way,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Those who attempt to cross the southern border of the United States illegally will be returned to Mexico and will be ineligible for this process in the future. Those who follow the lawful process will have the opportunity to travel safely to the United States and become eligible to work here.”
The southern border has been a hot issue on the Right since Biden took office, with GOP Govs. Doug Ducey (R-AZ), Greg Abbott (R-TX), and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) attracting headlines in accurate months with taxpayer-funded buses and planes sending volunteer migrants to places like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Martha's Vineyard.
Biden's approval rating on immigration is just 35.3%, per the RealClearPolitics average, which is lower than his overall approval rating. The president ended the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy upon taking office, and migrant encounters have surged.
Since January 2021, the number of noncitizens apprehended attempting to enter the country or denied admission at a port of entry has increased threefold, reaching over 200,000 encounters per month on several occasions. More than 2 million migrant encounters have taken place this fiscal year.
The DHS move may be one sign that the administration is finally listening. As part of the deal, the U.S. will collaborate with Mexico to target human smuggling operations, according to a press release, with new migration checkpoints, additional resources and personnel, and "joint targeting" of human smuggling organizations.
The move would seem to align with the wishes of figures like Abbott.
"Cartels are using social media to recruit drivers for human smuggling operations, like this one in Hidalgo Co.," he tweeted the same day as the DHS announcement. "Until Pres. Biden cracks down on cartels & secures the border, Texas will respond in full force to prevent the smuggling of people into Texas."
But many conservatives are skeptical, seeing the move as a midterm ploy that will have little real-world effect.
"Biden cares more about performative politics and his party's midterm chances than he does saving lives and addressing the humanitarian crisis Democrats created at the southern border," said Republican National Committee spokesman Will O'Grady. "There is no quick fix to this problem — but new leadership would be a solid start. Also, where is Kamala Harris?"
Harris was set to lead the Biden administration's efforts on the border but has not been a strong presence there. She has mostly focused on the root causes of immigration, visiting the border only once and skipping the area during a trip to Texas last weekend.
Beyond the optics, critics say the new program will not be effective, as it only affects immigrants from Venezuela and will also allow 24,000 migrants from that country to apply for a parole program.
The Heritage Foundation's Lora Ries describes it as a signal rather than a major substantive change.
"This administration is dealing with the border crisis by whack-a-mole," said Ries, director of the conservative think tank's Border Security and Immigration Center. "We've got Operation Allies Welcome for Afghanistan refugees, then they created the Uniting for Ukraine program, and now the volunteering for Venezuela program. They're creating new programs instead of sticking to preexisting avenues in the law, namely our Refugee Admissions Programs."
The program has also drawn criticism from the other side, with Venezuelan American Alliance President Maria Antonietta Diaz telling the Wall Street Journal that "a quota of 24,000 is not enough" and promising to demonstrate the need for a higher number.
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Biden is keenly aware of the criticism he'd receive if he took strong action to secure the border, Ries previously told the Washington Examiner, saying the president has decided he'd rather get beat up by the Right than by the Left on the issue.
Yet some Democrats are also beginning to sound the alarm. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) placed responsibility squarely on Biden and his administration to tackle an influx of immigrants coming to her state.
Describing the situation as a worsening “humanitarian crisis,” Hochul lamented a lack of federal action to address the declining situation.
“We really are looking for a federal response to this, to take ownership of a crisis, and we’ll be there to help," she said. "But this belongs to the federal government."