February 22, 2024

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 www.darrendaily.com 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.

Last Day of Training at Top Earner Academy Live

As you might have noticed, it took me quite some time to have those 3 videos from the event posted to my blog. My “few” technical skills got in the way since the original videos were filmed in portrait format or sideways. Tried to convert them permanently, but luckily, I found out that it is easy to rotate the video by 90 degree once it is uploaded in YouTube. Had to search the internet for quite some time to find this golden nugget on video postings.

On the last day of this 3-day training we hear a lot about having the right mindset. Indeed, for many people that start in Network Marketing in a traditional direct sales company or in an internet business, it is quite common being discouraged by no-sayers, by disappearing team members or by difficulties finding leads. To get over these hurdles requires courage and determination to succeed.

Lisa Grossman, top-producing Multi-Level Marketing distributor shared some excellent Golden Nuggets on mindset with us:

–        Network marketing is about building a culture, building a community

–        It is not about you, it is about them. The relationship is what matters.

–        Become the person you want to recruit.

–        The better you are in paying it forward, the more successful you become.

–        Our job is to inspire people!

As a Network Marketer you can have a big impact on other people’s lives. You can inspire people to create their own dream lifestyle by joining your team. The only two things that will prevent you to reach your potential are your ego and money beliefs. As Ray Higdon taught us: You are worthy, but you gotta want it!

Of course, I’m practiced speaking off the cuff and made a short testimonial video about the last day of the event.


My conclusion: This was a well-rounded training on diverse subjects related to the industry of Network Marketing. Anyone just starting, or who is struggling, like I did, will hear different perspectives and learn some great tools that can be implemented right away.

I hope you got value out of my daily videos. Feel free to comment below.

Live Life in Abundance!

Day 2 at Top Earner Academy Live event in Orlando – 06/13/2014

So glad I came to this event! My head is spinning with all the great information today. Need to write down action steps for when I get back home.

Your blog can be a passive lead generator if you use it effectively. By posting frequently you will generate followers. Especially if you talk about issues that help people and make them curious about you and your next post. Creating value is the keyword! Ray Higdon shared some simple blogging steps today.

You need to be able to express the concept of your post’s topic in a short description. His suggestion is to use Google Keyword Planner a great tool that can help in choosing the right words for your subject. So far, I always put tags under each posts, but it did not bring a lot of visitors yet to this blog.

Ray‘s next tip is to include a video in which you share some things about the main point(s) of your topic. He has a great blog and posts videos almost every day on subjects that inspire, teach or recommend someone. If you are curious about him and how he helps other network marketers, or if you want to get more tips on blogging, check him out. Ray Higdon on Make Money Blogging

I made the below video outside the beautiful JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes hotel in Orlando, Florida. It is a short video about Day 2 of this powerful event.

I’m excited about all the things I’m learning. Let me know when you like my post or video.



My Take Away Of The First Day At TOP EARNER ACADEMY In Orlando, Florida – 06/12/2014

Since I started in Network Marketing for my current business, I have listened to several great business people that were successful in the home business, direct sales or network marketing business. To be successful in this industry you need the right mindset, a go-getter mentality and the drive to do whatever it takes. Discipline, perseverance and being coachable are three characteristics that will influence your success.  In order to grow and become the personality that you want to become so you attract the right people I do listen to audio tapes of people like Darren Hardy, Jim Rohn or Professor Paul Zane Pilzer.

When I was searching on the internet for creative ways to find new leads I came across Ray Higdon. He is well known in the industry and inspires hundreds of people to believe in themselves and create the life they want. He has a daily email tip on anything to do with having your own network marketing business. He frequently has free webinars and always over-delivers in content and value.

In June he and his wife Jessica organized a three day seminar I Orlando that featured excellent training by both, but also from other top-notch experts like Cesar Rodriguez and Vince Reed.

During the seminar he talked about how to use video’s to attract people to your website and he encouraged us to make a short video each day.

Using my cell phone I made this video:

If you like it please leave a comment below.

Don’t pay to file your 2014 Tax Return!

Wow, time flies when you’re have a good time! My twin brother and his wife stayed with me for a few weeks during the holiday season of 2013. When you see each other only once a year, it is so nice to have time to talk, have a glass of wine and do all kinds of fun and interesting things together. Like making “oliebollen”, a Dutch treat for New Year’s Eve.

Because of their visit I forgot completely that tax season was around the corner. This year, I did not attend any classes nor did I study online for any mandatory tests to be able to prepare Income Tax returns in the VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Assistance) program . I have been participating as a volunteer since 2006, and enjoyed helping people to prepare their form 1040 for a refund of too much tax paid to the government. Besides the for mentioned excuse, I have too many other things going on. Next Year, I hope to be back as VITA volunteer.

However, I still want to inform the public at large about this great free service for anyone who has an adjusted income lower than $52,000. For locations and opening times for free tax returns click here:



You also can call 2-1-1 for information on sites through Broward County.


Things that you need to take with you:

–        Social Security Card or ITIN card

–        Picture I.D. such as driver’s license

–        W-2 from employer or form 1099 when you are a contractor or consultant

–        Bank statement and other investment documents for interest and dividends.

–        Mortgage year end statement for deduction of interest and property taxes.

–        Documentation for all business related expenses that you want to deduct.

–        Last year’s tax return for comparison purpose

–        Checkbook for details of bank account for direct deposit of your refund.


Hope this information is informative and helps you file your taxes in a smart and free way.





It is easy to get distracted in daily things. Everybody has 24 hours in a day, but somehow some days I do not feel productive when I look at what I accomplished. Often, I compromise my goal for a better life for ordinary tasks in my home or at work. It just is easier to do house chores that you are familiar with such as dusting or doing the laundry. Tackling new projects can be daunting and take a lot of your time. However, if you continuously keep prioritizing the wrong tasks, you will not learn and grow as a human. For that reason, if you aim to make life better you need to focus on the things that will bring you closer to your goals.

Sometimes, it seems that you only encounter difficulties and everything goes wrong. These feelings can influence your focus because of the negative attention you give to these matters. When you focus on problems, you have more, when you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities. Shifting your feelings and thoughts can have a big impact on the outcome of your actions.  If want to attract friends be friendly, if you want help be helpful first, and if you want respect do respect yourself.

Focus on a result that you want to happen and your will create the right mindset for the journey towards the achievement. However, focus on its own is not enough usually to reach the goal you set. If you want to study to become a nurse or teacher, you also need concentration, discipline and perseverance to assist you in overcoming distractions that are bound to happen. Just one little thing repeated over time has a compounded effect on the final result. That works both ways. Thus focus on good things and good things will happen!

One last point for achieving your goals is to realize that focus looks ahead for something to happen in the future. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 
― Mother Teresa.




A new Year, a new YOU. Focus , believe and you will achieve!

What  are your plans for the new year?





Life is a game board. Time is your opponent. If you procrastinate, you will lose the game. You must make a move to be victorious. Napoleon Hill.

Today a subject that keeps bothering me. My intention to write more often has not become reality and time just goes by doing a lot of things, but looking back not always well spent.

Are you someone that uses excuses to not have to do things?

According to the dictionary Procrastinating is putting off or delaying or deferring an action to a later time. When postponing more urgent matters till tomorrow, you might not know how to tackle the more difficult matter. However, waiting before making the first step, usually does not make easier.

Depending on why you procrastinate, sometimes you delay doing something because you are actually focusing on something more important. However, most of the times, you will run errands for the sake of not to have to do real work. Because for most tasks such as completing a tax return or repairing a fan, you not only need more time but also the right mood. Sometimes, inaction will result in big problems.

I admit, often I rather do chores and delay working on more important items till the last minute. For example, many students do not start a project a few weeks ahead but finish a report just before the deadline. Planning to go to the gym, but when you come home after work you just have to call a friend first. And then it is too late to go.

What can you do?

Here are some tips and tricks I found on line that work for me.

  1. Find out what it is that is causing the procrastination. Is it fear of what the result should be and you don’t know how to get there? Maybe it is less daunting when you look at the end result from a different angle. Or is it a dull and tedious task that you are not excited about? Change your mindset and think of the good feeling of a job accomplished instead of those upsetting thoughts.
  2. Do it NOW. As soon as you notice that you are postponing doing a specific task, catch yourself and do just one thing to get it started.  It only takes a few minutes to take the first action and then just keep working on it.
  3. Sometimes a project is big and complicated. Make a plan of smaller tasks that you can focus on and finish within a realistic time frame. Also, think of getting all materials beforehand or researching the subject for more information on how to do it in advance.
  4. If it is not a onetime task, but an activity that you want to implement for the long term, then make time for it every day. Especially if they are easy to start, like going for a walk every day.
  5. When you complete an intimidating task reward yourself for your success and change of a “bad” habit.

Do you have similar issues sometimes? Well, You are on the right path! Since you recognized the problem and are looking for ideas how to change your life, you now can apply some of the tips I shared.

If you have a golden nugget on this subject, please post a comment, I love to learn…



Designed by TheMarketingCouple. Want a blog like this? Get one free here!