The Cost of Going Uninsured – How Tax Penalties Can Impact You

January 28th, 2015
penalties When the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, it brought with it many changes to our health care system. It’s now considered a requirement to have health insurance, otherwise you may face high penalties for going without coverage. These penalties apply to everyone in your household, including children.   What is Acceptable Health Insurance Coverage by the Affordable Care Act?   Coverage through an employer, a student health plan, a plan purchased on their state or federal | Continue reading this entry »

Why Turning 21 May NOT Be a Reason to Celebrate Under the Affordable Care Act

January 26th, 2015
21st birthday There are numerous precious milestones in life we all excitedly anticipate - turning 16 and driving a car, turning 18 and registering to vote, and turning 21 and buying that first alcoholic beverage. But did you know that turning 21 will also cost you under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?   Under the ACA, policyholders can no longer be denied coverage or be charged higher premiums due to pre-existing conditions. Rates are determined are four factors: age, whether or not you use tobacco, | Continue reading this entry »

What Is an HSA-Qualified Expense?

January 21st, 2015
HSA Qualified Expenses As I gather together all of my records for 2014 preparing for tax time, one document that continues to peek my interest is my list of health savings account (HSA)-qualified expenses. Why is this document so valuable? Because it shows a precise record of where my HSA dollars were spent and verifies that the expenses are indeed considered “qualified.” But what exactly is an HSA-qualified expense?   Qualified Medical Expenses   The IRS outlines which medical expenses it considers | Continue reading this entry »

Get Healthy in 2015 with No-Cost Preventive Care Benefits

January 16th, 2015
Preventive Care Services It’s the time of year when many are making New Year’s Resolutions. Some may include goals such as “getting in shape”, “losing weight” or “living a healthier lifestyle.” These goals mean different things to different people, and living a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight and being able to participate in an active lifestyle are important to the majority of Americans. However, reaching these goals is no easy feat.   Maintaining a healthy weight is much more than | Continue reading this entry »

Health Savings Accounts: Frequently Asked Questions

December 16th, 2014
HSA FAQs Funding your health savings account and understanding what you can use those funds for can get a bit tricky. If you overfund your HSA, you could be looking at a 6 percent penalty. Here are a few situations you could find yourself in, and here’s how you can avoid and fix these simple mistakes:   Q: Do employer contributions count towards the annual maximum contribution limit for an HSA?   A: Yes - if your employer contributes towards your HSA, this counts toward the annual contribution | Continue reading this entry »

Your Role in Driving Medical Costs Down

November 26th, 2014
driving medical costs down It’s no surprise that health plans have higher deductibles today than they ever have in the past. That’s why consumers like you have to take action to reduce medical costs. That’s easier said than done, but here are a few tips.   It’s common when a doctor orders an MRI or a CT scan for a patient to have the office staff schedule this test for you. But have you ever wondered how they decide which facility to use? Are your best interests in mind? Doctors typically look at several | Continue reading this entry »

Subsidy Scenarios Under the Microscope

November 24th, 2014
subsidy Premium subsidies are about to be reconciled once you file your 2014 tax return. And with tax time not too far away, many Americans are beginning to calculate their final income for 2014 to see if they are going to owe the IRS a refund of any advanced premium subsidies received. Do you fall into this category? Let’s look at a few scenarios:   Q: My husband and I separated and filed for divorce in 2014. He has removed me from his health insurance policy, and I have applied and received | Continue reading this entry »

12 Terms to Know When Reviewing Your 2015 Insurance Options

November 19th, 2014
health insurance terms When reviewing your health insurance options for 2015, you’ll likely come across many terms that seem confusing or just don’t make sense. But to get the best plan at the best value, you have to understand what these terms mean and how they can cost you financially. Here are a few I have put together to help you through the 2015 insurance enrollment process:   Insurance Terms for 2015   Deductible - Once your insurance carrier processes a claim, they apply it to the “deductible”, | Continue reading this entry »

How Switching Health Plans Could Save You Money in 2015

November 13th, 2014
saving money Insurance enrollment begins November 15, and that leaves little time for shopping if you want to avoid auto-renewing your 2014 health plan. By this time you have received a notice from your insurance carrier acknowledging whether your plan is still available in 2015 and your new premium rate. If you take no action by December 15, most plans will auto-renew. But is this the best option for you?   Besides the many problems involving premium subsidies I’ve discussed in my earlier blog with | Continue reading this entry »

Your Health Insurance Options During Open Enrollment

November 5th, 2014
health insurance options On November 15 insurance enrollment begins - an important date you don’t want to miss since you can only sign up for a health plan or change plans during this time. You must be eligible for a special enrollment period to sign up any other time of the year. But how does insurance enrollment affect you?   Did You Sign up for a Health Plan Last Year?   If the answer is yes, you have several choices during this year’s insurance enrollment:   Allow your plan to auto-renew. | Continue reading this entry »