Meet Obamacare's first clients
Recapping the day's news and newsmakers through the lens of CNBC.
Who's signing up for Obamacare? So far, the federal government is mum on the subject, but Kentucky has just released some details on its enrollments. Nearly 60 percent of enrollees are women, and the bulk of those signing up are poor or previously uninsured.
But the surprising fact is that the most popular plan is the mid-priced Silver Plan, with 39 percent of enrollees. Second is the pricey platinum plan, with 30 percent. Then comes the gold plan, between silver and platinum, with 17 percent. The cheapest plan, bronze, got just 12 percent. About 41 percent of those signing up are under 35. That's something the insurers and Obamacare supporters should like, because premium payments from healthy young people can help keep costs down for everyone else.
"Let's face it, for a lot of things women are more conscientious than men ... a lot of men may go two or three years and not go to the doctor."—James Brasfield, professor of management and health services for the Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University
Airlines: The catch in becoming the biggest
For U.S. Airways and AMR, the price of combining to become really, really big is now known. In a settlement with the Department of Justice, the airlines agreed to shut down some gate operations at LaGuardia, Reagan National, Boston Logan, Chicago O'Hare, LAX, Dallas Love Field and Miami International airports. The government sued in August to stop the merger, which will create the world's largest airline. Six states that had joined the suit have also signed onto the deal. The biggest cutback will be Reagan, where the combined operation would have had 70 percent of the gates.
"A significant gate give-up, if you will."—CNBC's David Faber
Apple's devices—desktops, laptops, tablets and phones—have long been known as a kind of niche product for offices. Apple desktops have been favored in graphics-heavy businesses, but for most other tasks personal computers running Microsoft were the office choice. That's changing. A few years ago Apple had just three percent of the business market; now it's around 18 percent. In many cases, employers are responding to demand from employees who use Apple products outside of work. Apple is ramping up its business marketing, often giving away software, and is advertising for executives with enterprise experience.
"It's more bad news for Dell, Microsoft and the HPs of the world, though."—Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry
The merchants of menace
Paying with plastic is so commonplace this statistic really stands out: 55 percent of the nation's 27 million small businesses don't take credit or debit cards, according to Intuit. Typically, cash-only businesses want to save the various fees charged for plastic transactions, and many sell inexpensive products and services that customers can easily pay for with cash—cups of coffee, for instance. But staying cash-only may cost more than it saves. Intuit estimates that the 15 million businesses that reject plastic are missing out on about $100 billion in annual sales, or $7,000 per business.
"I don't understand the small businesses that don't take cards. In my opinion, as a grocery and a wine store owner, if you don't take credit cards, you suffer."—Jason Richelson, founder of ShopKeep POS, a point-of-sale software firm
—By Jeff Brown, Special to CNBC.com