The gig economy didn't deliver
And more of the week's best financial advice
Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
Broken bones, broken billsThe biggest public hospital in San Francisco takes no private insurance, and sends out bills of more than $24,000 for a broken arm and $113,000 for a broken ankle, said Sarah Kliff at Vox. The charges from Zuckerberg San Francisco General — recently renamed after a $75 million gift from the Facebook founder — are some of the most egregious examples of the national problem of surprise bills. The San Francisco hospital is an extreme case because while "most big hospital ERs negotiate prices for care with major health insurance providers," ZSFG does not. The problem is especially acute for patients who are "brought to the hospital by ambulance, still recovering from a trauma and with little ability to research or choose an in-network facility." Insurers end up paying only the fraction they deem reasonable and sticking patients with the balance — in the case of the broken arm, $20,243.71.
Don't sell yourself short Modesty doesn't pay in the working world, said Jack Nasher at Market Watch. While underpromising and overdelivering might sound like a good career strategy, research suggests otherwise. In a study by psychologists Barry Schlenker and Mark Leary, subjects were asked to predict their performance at a random task, from "very good" to "very poor." Those who predicted they'd do well were consistently rated as more competent by observers, independent of how well they actually did. "The crystal-clear trend is that the subjects' competence was evaluated higher if they had previously raised great expectations."
The gig economy didn't deliverTwo experts on the "gig economy" now say the Great Recession made them overestimate its growth, said Josh Zumbrun at The Wall Street Journal. Economists Alan Kreuger and Lawrence Katz said in a 2015 study that a growing number of people "cobbling together a living from odd jobs, especially via apps like Uber, would upend traditional work arrangements." That didn't happen. The predictions were driven off base by a downturn in which workers sought odd jobs to make ends meet. Then "as the economy returned to normal, they returned to more familiar work arrangements." The researchers also blame spotty data from the Labor Department, which had "repeatedly sought, but been denied, funding for a survey that examined contingent and alternative workers."