Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Health Insurance Good News!

Have you had problems with the government healthcare website?  Are you confused or frustrated?  I can help!  I have a private exchange that will allow you to explore the plans available, see if you qualify for a subsidy and apply for coverage.  Just click on this link:



ACA tax penalties to rise in 2015, 2016
People who opt out of health insurance coverage as required under the Affordable Care Act will face average fines of either $325 or 2% of income in 2015 and about $1,100 in 2016. The Internal Revenue Service will collect the penalties, which for 2014 are set at either $95 per person or 1% percent of household income above the tax-filing threshold. About 26 million people qualify for one of the many exemptions, but they might not be aware exemptions exist, tax experts say. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The CMS recently proposed a number of rules related to the Affordable Care Act, including one that would shorten and shift the open enrollment period. Open enrollment for the 2016 plan year would run from Oct. 1 through Dec. 15, 2015, under the proposal. Another rule would allow exchanges to automatically enroll current subscribers in the lowest-priced plan of the same tier unless the subscriber chooses otherwise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Social Security Benefits Rising 1.7% For 2015, Top Tax Up 1.3%

The nation’s nearly 64 million Social Security recipients will get a 1.7% cost of living increase for 2015, while the maximum Social Security tax, which is linked to a different measure, will go up by just 1.3%, the government announced today.

The 1.7% boost means the average retired worker will see a $22 increase to $1,328 a month and the average senior couple will get a $36 boost to $2,176, the Social Security Administration said. The maximum monthly Social Security check for a single baby boomer claiming benefits in 2015 at the “full” retirement age of 66 will be $2,663, up from $2,642 in 2014. The increase will show up in regular Social Security checks in January and in payments made to 8 million beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on Dec. 31, 2014.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell announced today that next year’s standard Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductible will remain the same as the last two years. Medicare Part B covers physicians’ services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items.  For the approximately 49 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part B, premiums and deductibles will remain unchanged in 2015 at $104.90 and $147, respectively. This leaves more of seniors’ cost of living adjustment from Social Security in their pockets.

Friday, September 26, 2014



A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that HealthCare.gov and its related systems continue to show weaknesses that threaten sensitive personal information if the system is breached by unauthorized users. According to the report, Healthcare.gov had weaknesses when it was first deployed, including “incomplete security plans and privacy documentation, incomplete security tests, and the lack of an alternate processing site to avoid major service disruptions.” The report notes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken steps to address some of these weaknesses but has not fully mitigated all of them.

The Obama administration announced last week that tax subsidies for about 360,000 people will be discontinued if proof of income is not submitted to the government in the next two weeks. CMS also announced last week that about 115,000 people will lose their health insurance coverage at the end of September because the government does not have proof of their immigration or citizenship status.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

healthcare.gov GETS A MAKEOVER

HealthCare.gov GETS A MAKEOVER

Engineers are upgrading some parts of the federal health insurance enrollment website and are behind on some tasks, such as the system for automatic payments to insurers, federal officials told health insurers. The site's consumer-facing portion, including the application for insurance and plan-comparison tools, is being revised, software that consumers use to create accounts and log in is being replaced, and some hosting services are being turned over to Amazon. The Wall Street Journal (6/5)


Tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. One of the poignant memories of that day and the weeks and months that followed was the way people came together, unified in their resolve and unified in their commitment to each other and the nation.

No matter what an enemy might do to us, we are able to look for the good in each other. And yes, there is a lot to appreciate about each other. May we be better people because of those attacks.  Let's show an increase in love to the world, and especially to those closest to us.

As you think about protecting your loved ones from the unforeseen, consider reviewing your insurance policies. Are they doing what you need them to do?  

I would be happy to help you conduct that review and answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to give me a call.  (678)464-8602     

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.

Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The House of Representatives plans next week to vote on a bill to delay the individual mandate for a year.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., introduced the bill, the Simple Fairness Act, on Friday.

Under the health care law, Americans who don’t purchase government-approved insurance policies face a fine of $95, or 1 percent of taxable income, for 2014. In 2015, the fine is scheduled to increase to $325, or 2 percent of taxable income.

The new bill would effectively push back that implementation timeline for a year, by setting the fine at $0 for 2014 and then reducing the 2015 fine to $95 (the current 2014 level).

Delaying the individual mandate has added populist appeal given that the Obama administration has already acted
to delay the mandate on employers.

“The President recently issued another delay to unilaterally change his own law, a delay that protected businesses from the employer mandate tax,” Jenkins, who serves as vice chair of the House Republican Conference, said in an emailed statement. “It is not fair to give relief to businesses with big checkbooks, yet not help hard working families with relief from these unaffordable mandates.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FDA: It's not too late for an influenza vaccination
It is not too late to get the flu vaccine, the FDA is telling people. While virus activity usually peaks in January and February, it can continue well into May. Meanwhile, development on next year's flu vaccine is underway. "Influenza viruses can change from year to year, due to different subtypes and strains that circulate each year," said Marion Gruber, leader of the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review. The Washington Times

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ACA coverage gap raises concerns in some states
Close to 5 million Americans are estimated to fall into a coverage gap created in states that declined to expand Medicaid eligibility. Those affected have incomes too low to qualify for Affordable Care Act tax credits and subsidies but too high for Medicaid without the expansion of eligibility. That has some governors reconsidering their states' decision not to expand Medicaid programs. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/10)

Monday, February 3, 2014

White House considers rules for out-of-network care
President Barack Obama said his administration is considering ways to ensure that patients being actively treated for a medical condition do not lose access to their doctors when they change health insurance. The administration has encouraged but has not required insurers to continue covering doctors patients saw under prior coverage even if those doctors do not participate in the new plan's network. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Washington Wire blog

Friday, January 31, 2014

Average U.S. spending on Rx drugs per person was $1,432 in 2010
Americans spent an average of $1,432 on prescription drugs in 2010, according to data gathered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The report said the percentage of the population with prescription drug expenditures was lower for Florida at 58.1%, New York at 53.4%, Texas at 53.1% and California at 47.7%, compared with the whole of the U.S. at 61.3%. BeckersHospitalReview.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

Few consumers are prepared for loss of income
A disability-related loss of income can devastate a household's finances, even in dual-income households, but few people have a plan in place to mitigate the impact. "A well thought-out plan that includes disability insurance is the only sensible way to protect against what ranks as one of the most significant, if not the most significant, threat to an individual's or a family's long-term financial stability," writes Barry Lundquist, president of the Council for Disability Awareness. Advisers should ask their clients about plans for income loss and help them develop income protection plans, Lundquist writes. National Underwriter Life & Health