Health Reform Subsidy Calculator

Please follow the link to a Health Reform Subsidy Calculator from the Kaiser Foundation. It is a great tool to see whether or not you might be eligible for a subsidy.

The problem with Healthcare Reform is that it is constantly changing. This could be outdated by the end of the week. Many states are considering opting out of the Medicaid expansion of the Healthcare reform law. Medicaid is a state and federal partnership for funding, however in the PPACA law Federal funds dry up after a couple of years and the states are on the hook for the expanded medicaid costs.

There are a lot of factors that will determine whether or not you will be eligible for a subsidy including income, age, and family status.

Subsidies also depend on how much your current level of coverage costs and how much you pay for that coverage.

Take a poke at the calculator as I am curious to see what your thoughts are. Please post any comments you may have.

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Justices Expected To Reject Postponing Ruling On Healthcare Reform Challenge

The Supreme Court’s hearing Monday on whether it is proper for the justices to rule on the Affordable Care Act at this time generated extensive television, print and online coverage. Media analysts last night and this morning largely agree that the case will almost certainly move forward, as both the Administration and the plaintiffs have requested. While the three networks devoted more time to the hearing than any other topic — more than 12 minutes in total — the Trayvon Martin case was the chief topic of debate during the primetime hours on the cable news channels last night.

Much of the coverage last night and this morning focuses on the legal arguments made yesterday, as opposed to the likely political repercussions of the court’s eventual ruling. However, the CBS Evening News (3/26, lead story, 4:15, Pelley) and the New York Times (3/27, A17, Sussman, Cooper, Phillips, Subscription Publication) both have reports on their new poll that found 47% of the public disapproves of the ACA as a whole, while 36% approves. The poll also found large majorities support individual aspects of the ACA, including the ban on denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, which had the support of 85% of respondents.

NBC Nightly News (3/26, lead story, 3:40, Williams) reported, “We begin tonight with a basic question for everybody: Can Congress force you to buy health insurance? More than that, can they charge you a penalty if you choose not to? That question of course is…at the crux of the health plan that may be known forever as ‘Obamacare.'” NBC (Williams) added, “Outside the court, passionate demonstrations, mostly supporting the law. … Rick Santorum even showed up to underscore the political stakes.”

Scott Pelley, at the opening of the CBS Evening News (3/26, lead story, 4:15), reported that the court will be answering the question: “Can the Federal government force you to buy something whether you want it or not?”

On ABC World News (3/26, story 2, 2:55), Dianne Sawyer noted that “some provisions of the healthcare law have already gone into effect. For instance, two and a half million young people have been added to their parent’s health insurance,” and it is now “illegal for children under the age of 19 to be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions.” Sawyer asked, “What will happen to the changes already in place?” Terry Moran replied, “If the court decides to strike down that individual mandate…they could decide that the whole law has to go,” or “the court could just strike down…that individual mandate,” but then “the insurance industry would rebel,” and “would lobby to get the rest of it changed.”

USA Today (3/27, Heath, Wolf) reports the Supreme Court “opened three days of historic oral arguments on the fate of President Obama’s health care law by skeptically questioning whether an 1867 law should bar them from even considering whether the government can require Americans to purchase health insurance.” According to USA Today, “Justices on the court’s liberal and conservative wings seemed doubtful that the law, known as the Anti-Injunction Act, would serve as a roadblock to deciding the constitutionality of one of the Obama administration’s signature accomplishments.”

The AP (3/27, Sherman) reports that the justices “signaled…they are ready to confront without delay the keep-or-kill questions at the heart of challenges to President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul. Virtually every American will be affected by the outcome, due this summer in the heat of the election campaign.” The AP adds, “Outside the packed courtroom, marching and singing demonstrators on both sides — including doctors in white coats, a Republican presidential candidate and even a brass quartet — voiced their eagerness for the court to either uphold or throw out the largest expansion in the nation’s social safety net since Medicare was enacted in 1965.”

Bloomberg News (3/26, Stohr) said Justices Breyer and Ginsburg “suggested they didn’t view [the] 1867 law as barring them from ruling immediately on the law’s requirement that Americans either get insurance or pay a penalty. The 1867 law blocks suits over taxes that haven’t been imposed, and Ginsburg questioned whether health-care penalties would be taxes. ‘This is not a revenue-raising measure,’ Ginsburg said. ‘If it’s successful, nobody will pay the penalty and there will be no revenue to raise.'”

Politico (3/27, Gerstein, Brown) reported that Justice Sotomayor “said she found at least four similar cases in which the Supreme Court had allowed such types of challenges, and questioned whether the penalty for not obtaining insurance was really meant to be a tax or an inducement for people to purchase coverage.”

According to USA Today (3/27, Heath, Wolf), “Some liberal justices indicated they were puzzled by 26 states’ contention they would be harmed by the law’s expansion of Medicaid. Although Washington would pay for those newly eligible, states would have to contribute to help those already eligible. ‘That does seem odd, to suggest that the state is being injured because people who could show up tomorrow with or without this law will show up in greater numbers,’ Justice Elena Kagan said.”

Yesterday, Politico (3/26, Haberkorn, Nocera, Millman) reported that “court watchers…are almost unanimous in their assessment: The justices will blow past the Anti-Injunction Act and decide the merits of the case.” The Los Angeles Times (3/27, Savage) also reports that the justices “gave no sign…they are inclined to put off a constitutional ruling on” the individual mandate. The Times adds, “During the 90 minutes of argument, none of the justices spoke strongly in favor of delaying a decision on the healthcare law.”

The Financial Times (3/27, Rappeport, Subscription Publication) and the Wall Street Journal (3/27, Bravin, Radnofsky, Kendall, Subscription Publication) offer similar reporting. The Baltimore Sun (3/27, Cohn) notes, “Monday’s 90 minutes of arguments are among a historic six hours allotted to the health care law over three days.”

Warren Richey, in the Christian Science Monitor (3/26), wrote, “In a somewhat unusual move, the court had earlier appointed a lawyer, Robert Long of Washington, D.C., and assigned him 40 minutes to argue why the AIA did in fact apply to the case.” Also reporting on the first day of arguments are CQ (3/27, Reichard, Subscription Publication), HealthDay (3/27, Esposito), Modern Healthcare (3/27, Carlson, Subscription Publication), Medscape (3/27, Lowes), MedPage Today (3/27, Walker), and WebMD (3/27, Lowes).

CBS/NYTimes Poll: 47% Disapprove Of ACA; 36% Approve. The CBS Evening News (3/26, lead story, 4:15, Pelley) noted that a new CBS News/New York Times poll “on views of the healthcare law finds that more Americans disapprove overall than approve, 47% to 36%. At the same time, many Americans approve of elements of the law. For example, 85% like the part that requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, and 68% like allowing children under 26 to stay on their parents’ health plan. But to pay for all of that, virtually everyone has to buy mandatory health insurance or pay a penalty, and more than half disapprove of the so-called mandate.”

The New York Times (3/27, A17, Sussman, Cooper, Phillips, Subscription Publication), in an article titled, “Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds,” reports, “Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News .” According to the Times, “Keeping the law intact is preferred by a mere quarter of those surveyed, largely Democrats.” The Times adds that “the contrast between Americans’ overall view of the law and their view of its component parts suggests that opponents have had more success making their case to the public than the White House has.”

State Officials, Insurance Industry Mull Mandate Alternatives. The New York Times (3/27, B1, Abelson, Subscription Publication) reports, “State officials and insurance executives are devising possible alternatives” to the individual mandate, including “imposing state requirements that people get insurance, penalties for people who delay and automatic coverage enrollment.” The Times adds, “Some Wall Street analysts predict that if the federal mandate is struck down and the rest of the law is upheld, the industry will quickly shift its focus to alternatives, particularly those that enable the states to bolster enrollment, so enough healthy people sign up and premiums do not skyrocket.”

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Obama’s Big Health-Care Reform Is Going To Cost Double What He Said

Obama’s Big Health-Care Reform Is Going To Cost Double What He Said

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Michael Braun, Leading Times Insurance

Video of services

Mike Braun, Leading Times Insurance

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RX Discount Card

LeadingTimes RX pg
RX Discount Card!

Here is an RX discount card that can be used for Prescription drugs. Most of the major pharmacies participate in the program. The program is not insurance and is only a discount drug card. If you have an insurance plan you can also still use this card. This card can be used for discounts on RX, Dental, Lab, and Vision.
Please email me with any questions.

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Drug prices to plummet | BenefitsPro

Drug prices to plummet | BenefitsPro.

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House Panel Approves 2012 Budget, Including Medicare, Medicaid Cuts

The AP (4/7, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports, “The Republican-led House Budget Committee approved a $3.5 trillion budget for 2012 on Wednesday that was hailed by its GOP authors as an end to a federal spending binge but savaged by Democrats as an assault on retirees and the poor.” Notably, the “party-line 22-16 vote underscored the sharp partisan divide over the blueprint, crafted by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at a time of record federal red ink.” This budget proposal “lays the groundwork for a decade of cuts in spending, taxes and deficits, tempered by a shift in medical costs from the government to future retirees and a reshaping of the two chief federal health programs for the elderly and poor, Medicare and Medicaid.”
Ryan Plan Aims To Shift Rising Healthcare Costs From Government. The NPR (4/7, Goldstein) “Planet Money” blog reports that currently, “the federal government shoulders much of the burden” for increasing healthcare costs, “particularly for the elderly, who are covered through Medicare.” But, “Rep. Paul Ryan wants to change that. In the big budget plan he proposed yesterday, the government would pick up the Medicare tab at current rates,” which means “the burden would shift from the government to the elderly.”
The National Journal (4/7, Fernholz, Subscription Publication) reports, “Congressional Republicans have derided President Obama’s health care reform act since before it was enacted, arguing that it won’t work, doesn’t save money, and represents a government takeover of health care.” But, after Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget plan, “Obama’s work began to look only half-bad.” The Journal notes, “Over the next 10 years, Ryan’s plan would cut $1.4 trillion in expanded health-care coverage that Obama’s law would have provided and eliminate $520 billion in revenue increases that were supposed to pay for part of the bill.”
CQ HealthBeat (4/7, Adams, Subscription Publication) reports, “Because seniors would pay higher costs under the proposed system, the federal government’s share of Medicare spending would be the same in 2022 under Ryan’s plan as it would under current law. The nonpartisan CBO analysis said that out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries would more than double in 2022 when compared with the current system.”
Liberal Group To Air Ad Against Proposed Medicare Cuts. The Hill (4/7, Fabian) “Blog Briefing Room” reports, “The liberal group Americans United for Change released a television ad Wednesday that goes after Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan to drastically change the Medicare entitlement program.” The Hill adds, “The 30-second ad, titled ‘Hands off Medicare,’ is set to air this week nationally on MSNBC and other cable news stations in Washington, according to the group. It says Ryan’s plan would transform Medicare…into a voucher program to subsidize the purchase of private insurance.”
Ryan’s Plan May Erode Senior Support For GOP. USA Today (4/7, Wolf, Kennedy) reports, “Republicans unveiled a budget-cutting plan Tuesday that would dramatically revamp the twin health care pillars of the Great Society, taking a huge political risk that could reverberate all the way to November 2012 and beyond.” Notably, “Medicare, the government-run health insurance program covering about 47 million seniors and people with disabilities, would be run by private insurers and would cost beneficiaries more, or offer them less.” Meanwhile, “Medicaid, the federal-state program covering more than 50 million low-income Americans, would be turned over to the states and cut by $750 billion over 10 years, forcing lesser benefits or higher co-payments. Social Security eventually would be cut, too.” The National Journal (4/7, Brownstein, Bland, Subscription Publication) also covers the story.

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Small Business Tax Credit

A client of mine recently met with there accountant to go through the 2010 tax filing. One of the subjects was the small business tax credit for small businesses. He pays about $100k a year in premium of which he pays about 70% of the premium for the employees. His employees on average make about $38k per year. So based on the parameters of the tax credit the corporation should receive a nice credit on the taxes. The calculations produced a $600 tax credit for the year.
Thank you Obamacare.

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Aetna Suing Six New Jersey Doctors Over “Unconscionable” Medical Bills.

Bloomberg News (3/24, Waldman) reports that health insurer “Aetna Inc. (AET) is suing six New Jersey doctors over medical bills it calls ‘unconscionable,’ including $56,980 for a bedside consultation and $59,490 for an ultrasound that typically costs $74.” Bloomberg News adds, “The lawsuits could help determine what pricing limits insurers can impose on ‘out-of-network’ physicians who don’t have contracts with health plans that spell out how much a service or procedure can cost.” In particular, Aetna’s “lawsuits, filed in superior court in Camden, New Jersey, over the last eight months, allege the defendants violated New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners rules against excessive fees, and seek triple damages under state insurance- fraud laws against filing false or misleading claims

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Update on Grandfathered Plans

HCR Regulations on Grandfathered plansHere is a legislative Brief on updated information on Grandfathered plans. Please read over. There will be more changes as a result of the polictical landscape changing and the uninteded consequences of the Health care Reform Bill.

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