May 23, 2024

Archives for January 2015

Only 28 Days to Chose A Health Insurance Plan

Are you ready for filing your income taxes this year? Have you all your papers together? Did you get health insurance or will you pay the penalty when you file your tax return?

You still have 28 days to get health insurance as open enrollment period is till February 15th, 2015. The Affordable health Care Act (or Obamacare) requires everybody to have health insurance for 2015.  At the moment there are 40 million Americans that have not yet enrolled.

Many people do not have the financial means to purchase health insurance. In the past, they just did not buy it, and when they were sick they often could not pay for the treatment in the emergency room or hospital. Fair enough, many people that did not have insurance paid their doctor’s visit, medication and any surgery or clinic stay.

Either way how you think about this law, health insurance is required, just like having car insurance and home insurance.  So what is it about?


Employer Sponsored Insurance

The ACA law requires employers that have more than 50 full time employees to offer health insurance. Luckily, many companies fall in this group. People that work for these employers usually have an option out of two or more plans. Depending on their family situation they can choose the one that best fits their needs. However, if  an employee does opt out of any plan offered, and would get a health plan on the open market, they will not be able to get a subsidy, even if they would qualify.


Health Insurance Exchange

If you work for an employer with less staff or who has cut your hours to make you a part time employee, you need to look on the federal, state or private market place to find affordable health insurance. You can either go to an insurance agent or to a local community organization that has counselors to assist in navigating the websites and pick a plan. But you need to be mindful that these might advise you to purchase a plan that is offered by the sponsoring insurance provider.

All states and the Federal Government have their own websites where you find all plans offered. This can be a daunting task if you are not well informed. There are different plan tiers, deductibles and benefits that vary and numerous insurance companies to choose from. Depending on your family situation you may qualify for a subsidy, but how much would you get? And if your income is below a certain amount, you could also get assistance in out-of-pocket expenses. Let me help you get a better understanding on how to determine what plan you need.


How to get the best plan?

You need to consider a few things when choosing a health insurance plan.

–        First, get your total family income for 2014 by either taking the details from your W-2 or the last paycheck of the year.

–        Next, how many people are in your family that need to be covered.

–        Then, you need birth dates of every one.

–        Lastly, I would look at my healthcare expenses for the years 2013 and 2014, so I can estimate the amount that I have to budget.

The number of people that need insurance and your total income control if you get a subsidy. Below is a chart that gives the income limits for a lower premium.


2015 wage limits for subsidy

2015 wage limits for subsidy

Plans in the market are grouped into 4 categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. In order to qualify for a subsidy, you have to purchase a Silver health insurance plan. Usually, these plans have a lower deductible that the Bronze plans.


The question now is:

how much health care expenses will I have in 2015 that warrant to take a Silver Plan with a higher premium, but a lower deductible and maybe qualify for a subsidy?


High Deductible?

When you are a healthy person and you do not have children, then you probably could choose a plan with a high deductible. However, when you have children, your health care expenses could be quite different. Looking back at the total cost for health care in 2013 and 2014 will give you an idea of how much you will spend in 2015. If it is less than the deductible in the Silver plan you could take a Bronze plan with a lower premium and save money that you can use towards out-of-pocket expenses. But if it is not substantially more then you could compute the savings of a bronze plan for the year and see if you are better off purchasing a Silver plan.

As I mentioned before, every person’s situation is different and you definitely should look ahead on what is happening in 2015. If you plan to get pregnant, or have a surgery that is necessary for your health, then you need to take this into consideration.

All plans cover the same preventive care that is free of charge even if you have not yet met the deductible. Vaccinations, screenings for cholesterol and high blood pressure, mammograms and other tests are free. See the full list here. Only caveat is that these services need to be performed in-network.


High Expenses?

For those that do not qualify for Silver plan with lower out-of-pocket expenses, you can reduce cost by taking a supplemental plan that gives you access to a nurse 24/7/365 by phone or you can talk with a doctor for just $5. This will save on high unnecessary emergency room visits or long wait times to get a doctor’s appointment. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention find that more than 50 % of ER visits do not need treatment within an hour. And according to another report 76% could have been treated better at other outpatient care facilities.


My recommendation:

If you are ready to purchase health insurance now I recommend that you check out this private members only market place, which has dedicated licensed brokers to help you navigate the insurance choice options.

If you are an owner of a small business that is looking into offering health insurance, please contact me for any assistance.

I realize while writing, that there is so much more that influences a thorough decision for choosing a health insurance plan. I do not want to make this one lengthy post, thus I will talk about the benefits of a high deductible plan in my post next Sunday. Stay tuned for Health Insurance – Part 2.

Feel free to get in touch with me about this post or to leave a comment below. Let me know if this information was helpful for you.



Take the Challenge and kick-start 2015

Today, I had the chance to listen to a short 30 minutes webinar while on my lunch break. I like to be productive and learn something while I eat my healthy salad.

In my last post I mentioned that there are many resources on the internet now at the beginning of the year that can help with establishing new habits or achieving goals. I actually found two excellent programs that I think will give me a kick-start for 2015.


Darren Hardy Daily Mentoring

Since Monday I’m participating in the 30 days of Daily Mentoring by Success Magazine publisher Darren Hardy. Every day you receive an email early morning with a short video that explains the next step in the process to conquer your dreams. You then get a few action steps that you can do in just a few minutes. It gets you thinking about the issues that are preventing you to go after your dreams and living a life that is not mediocre.

Darren Hardy is great in breaking things down in smaller chunks, so by doing every day something small you can change your mindset. It also allows you to continue the momentum of starting the day with something that helps you develop in the person you want to become. Many coaches and teachers believe that in a period of 30 days a bad habit can be broken and more beneficial routines can be incorporated in a lifestyle. Don’t think that it is too late now to start! You still can catch up on the first five steps when you register at tonight. You receive his next email for step 6 tomorrow, on Monday 01/12/2015.




Another program that can be very beneficial for anyone who is in sales or has to reach a quota is called “Go-for-NO”. If you need leads or clients to purchase what you sell or to become a business partner, then this 7-day challenge might be the right thing for you.  Andrea Waltz explains why you should embrace hearing “NO” more often, and be less sensitive to the outcome of your offer of services or products to any person.

We are all conditioned in our thinking and feeling that “NO” is not good and is seen as a failure. However, in order to get more positive results you need to talk to more people. Take a 7 day period (or a 30 day Period) and set your targets for each day and “Go-for-NO”. Andrea is coaching this 7-day challenge that started on Thursday, 01/08/2015.

I must admit, I have been doing other things for my business and will start on Monday 01/12/2015. NO more Excuses!

Go For No!

I hope this information helps you to find a way to improve your business and whatever it is that you want to achieve. Let me know if you liked my post in a comment below.


2015 has just started. As so many of us, I use the beginning of the New Year to make resolutions and to set goals. Somehow, it seems easier to make the decision to change at this time of the year, because the New Year is like a new book with no pages written yet. However, time does not wait for us to take action. Time is one of the few things that we cannot get back.

Even when we know what we want to change, we will need to make it happen. Results will not happen overnight and it often takes considerable effort to achieve a goal. Sometimes, we might not know how to get there, sometimes it seems too complicated, and other times we have fear of rejection or failure that stops us from getting started.


Some suggestions on how to get help:

–        Search for specific programs on line that offer guidance on topics such as how to “change a habit in 30 days”.

–        Look for coaches that have blogs for what you want to change and see if they offer a free 30 minute consultation.

–        Talk to people in your industry by checking contributions on LinkedIn in related groups or forums.

–        Find a mentor that can guide you and hold you accountable.


Depending on what the goal is, sometimes we need someone to help us to get you to the next level. We can know what we need to do, we can have all the tools and we are open to learning from the best. However, all this does not make us successful if we lack discipline or have fear of failure issues.

I belong to this group of people that want to move-up and “hope” that this time it is the right person, this time it will happen.  But I must admit, that there are too many distractions that I use as excuse for not getting the results I want.


Today, I just throw it out there. I need a mentor! Somebody that I can rely on to keep me focused and accountable.


What does a good mentor do?

–        He/she has knowledge on the topic and is willing to share the expertise

–        He/she is committed to helping the mentee and will set aside time to talk

–        He/she has an open mind and is a good listener that will give advice that makes sense

–        He/she offers tactful and constructive feedback on performance and tells the truth no matter how tough.

–        He/she is an avid learner on new developments in the industry and displays curiosity for trends.

–        He/she is a positive role model, showing sincerity in all activities that can influence his/her surroundings.

–        Keep the relationship “formal” so both parties know what to expect and for what amount of time.


My goal for 2015 is to find a Mentor.

Preferable a person in Network Marketing that  has time available on a weekly basis and can commit to provide strategic, personal and motivational support.  Maybe he/she wants to get a rave testimony on leadership skills?

Do you have a mentor? How did you get started and what is the one thing that made it successful for both parties?

If you got value from this post or want to comment on my questions, I would love to hear from you.

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