Your health and wellbeing are our number
one priorities at Woodhead Insurance Services LLC. We want to make sure you
have the information and resources you need to stay safe. I have discussed with some of you the benefit of
virtual visits, but want to reiterate the value of not going where sick people
are. Maybe it is time to reschedule your wellness check or at least call the doctor’s
office to see if they want you to come in.
It is also time to familiarize yourself with your options for care. Here are the links for each insurance company’s virtual visits. I have personally used this and can verify that it was very easy and we are here to help you if you need us. Many of the below plans offer this to members for free. Most plans are offering COVID-19 testing for no cost, but check their site or call/email us with questions. If you need to speak with someone due to anxiety… the lines are here to help you too!
Community Health Plan – Together with CCHP
Ground Health Care
will have to click Virtual Visits off of the main page and then log-in
Robin Health Partners
will need to log-in to Quartz MyChart)
Line / Care My Way for Security Health Plan members: 1-800-549-3174. Most
Security Health Plan members have unlimited access to Nurse Line or Care My Way
services for free.
to network telehealth providers using your computer or mobile device online at www.amwell.com
AVAILABLE – directly with your current clinic (((co-pays may apply)))
Ascension Online Care is also offering video urgent care
visits at a discounted rate of $20, valid through March, so you can talk to a
doctor from home. No insurance required. Use the code HOME at Ascension Online
Nutrition is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and it has become a growing trend in our nation to not only eat better but to support our local farmers and businesses. Eating unprocessed foods is a great way to make a change in your eating habits.
In our area farmer’s markets have become very popular and are not held just on the weekend any longer. The days of a farmer’s market just having a few food stalls is mostly in the past, now you can find a wide range of goods from clothing to bird feeders and household items. Farmer’s markets have even become a place to socialize; stretch your legs and take a stroll through the vendor stands, stop and listen to a local musician or catch up with a friend and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere!
Not sure where to start? Below are a few of the local options you can find for farmer’s markets.
An HSA or Health Savings Account allows account owners to pay for current health care expenses and save for those in the future.
Contributions to your HSA are tax-deductible. Why not make what you’re paying for your health care tax free? You have until the annual filing deadline to make contributions for the previous tax year. The best part is, you don’t have to itemize to claim the deduction as you write off the deposits on line 25 of your federal 1040
For tax year 2018, the contribution limits are set at $3,450 if you have individual coverage and $6,900 for families.
If you don’t use all the contributions you will receive interest and that interest earned is tax-free.
When you take a distribution from your HSA you don’t pay any taxes as long as you’re using the money for qualified medical expenses (See IRS publication 502 for more details). If you decide to use HSA funds for something other than healthcare, you might have to pay regular income tax on the money along with an additional 20% tax penalty (This will change after age 65. See IRS publication 969 for more details)
An HSA is The money in your HSA remains available for future qualified medical expenses even if you change health insurance plans, change employers or retire. Funds left in your account continue to grow tax free.
Most HSAs issue a debit card, so you can pay for your prescription medication and other expenses right away. If you wait for a bill to come in the mail, you can call the billing center and make a payment over the phone using your debit card.
You have to keep your receipts to prove that withdrawals were used for qualified health expenses.
What can I use it for?
Qualified expenses include most services provided by licensed health providers, as well as diagnostic devices and prescriptions. Allowable expenses are explained fully in IRS publication 502 Continue reading →
Did you know that if your employer group plan is small, delaying the Part B enrollment could create a penalty?
When you are eligible for Medicare usually at 65 you are required to maintain creditable coverage or enroll into the Medicare program with parts A, B, & D. In most situations employer group is considered creditable and you can delay the enrollment and stay on the group plan, but not always.
You may want to wait to sign up for Medicare Part A (hospital service) and/or Part B (outpatient medical services) if you are working for an employer with more than 20 employees when you turn 65, and have healthcare coverage through your job or union, or through your spouse’s job. COBRA is not considered employer group coverage.
*If you are disabled under 65 and working (or you have coverage from a working family member), the Special Enrollment Period rules also apply as long as the employer has more than 100 employees.
When deciding to delay your Medicare enrollment it is important to determine if you will qualify for Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
You can get a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Parts A and/or B:
• Any time you are still covered by the employer or union group health plan through your or your spouse’s current or active employment, OR
• Within 8 months following the month the employer or union group health plan coverage ends or when the employment ends (whichever is first).
If you wait longer, you may have to pay a penalty when you join.
When in doubt it is important to schedule an appointment with the local social security office and have them assist you in making the best decision for you.
Don’t Be Scared… we’ve got you! Health insurance can be overwhelming and scary at times. There are plenty of commercials, online ads and even people that go door to door. Many times these situations use scare tactics, trying to push you towards a provider or plan that may not be your best option. Never be afraid to say “no” or feel like you have to provide personal information to someone you are not comfortable with.
While there is a lot of information available to consumers, it can be difficult to interpret. There is no need to feel intimidated; this is where your local agent can help you. An agent should be there for you, to educate you on your options, help with issues and give you peace of mind; not only the day of your appointment but for years ahead.
Whether you have a simple question, or would like to stop by for an appointment please feel free to call our office 920-544-0058! We are here to help you.
What is a silent tax return in regards to compliance with the individual mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Here is the information from the IRS website. Sited below. “This in not tax advise only a resource to answer questions for clients whom choose to use non-ACA compliant plans.”
ACA Executive Order and Current Tax Filing Season
The IRS is currently reviewing the Jan. 20, 2017, executive order to determine the implications. Taxpayers should continue to file their tax returns as they normally would.
The instruction for individual taxpayers involving the Affordable Care Act has been to indicate on their Form 1040 filing whether they had health insurance, an exemption from coverage or made a shared responsibility payment. In recent years, tax returns silent in that regard were still processed. This year, the IRS put in place system changes that would reject tax returns during processing in instances where the taxpayer didn’t provide that information.
The recent executive order directed federal agencies to exercise authority and discretion available to them to reduce potential burden. Consistent with that, the IRS has decided to make changes that would continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be accepted for processing in instances where a taxpayer doesn’t indicate their coverage status.
However, legislative provisions of the ACA law are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe.
Processing silent returns means that taxpayer returns are not systemically rejected by the IRS at the time of filing, allowing the returns to be processed and minimizing burden on taxpayers, including those expecting a refund. When the IRS has questions about a tax return, taxpayers may receive follow-up questions and correspondence at a future date, after the filing process is completed. This is similar to how we handled this in previous years, and this reflects the normal IRS post-filing compliance procedures that we follow.
At the below link you can read the full story and have access to links for:
I promised you that as updates happened to the Affordable Care Act that I would give you a clear concise analysis of what the updates are and how they apply to you. Last night’s vote in the Senate did nothing to the current law of the land. The law does however have some issues that are coming up. One of the issues is the expiration of funding for the subsidies used to assist people with the high deductibles and coinsurance when they have a lower income, defined as at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. These payments to the insurers are scheduled to stop this year. Insurers are obligated by the Affordable Care Act to grant the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, to eligible customers. At this point, failure to address this issue is expected to increase premiums for individual coverage 15 – 30% for 20181. Currently companies offering individual plans have filed rates with the commissioner with the prediction that these payments will stop and have a chance to change the rate before the plans are actually set to release. I, like you, will be waiting for the November 1st release date to actually see the rates.
The state of Wisconsin could do something to help reduce the price hikes for premiums for Wisconsinites. The state could apply for at 13:32 waiver and set up a program to help with the very ill. This waiver is what the state did to keep the BadgerCare plus program for children under 193.
Currently approximately 20% of the population creates 80% of the health care costs in this county 4. If the state were to create this waiver they could in act an underlying program that helped the insurance carriers mitigate the costs to consumers while working with providers to manage this specific populations cost in a more cost effective and innovative manner much like the HIRSP of old 5.
The time is now for them to act but I have heard nothing. I also have heard no mention of cost control or requiring providers of healthcare to disclose prices so consumers are aware and can shop if they want to. I have seen more and more difficulty trying to determining pricing before procedures and no transparency. Please be aware many hospitals will not send out detailed billing unless you specifically request it.
To date companies that offer individual insurance in Wisconsin have reported large losses. If there are any winners with the ACA it is not the insurance companies. The only ones seeing record profits are the hospital systems 6. Anthem Blue Cross has decided to stop offering individual coverage in Wisconsin except for in one smaller County. Wisconsin now only has 13 companies statewide that will be selling individual plans 2. Remember plans are regional and in most counties you may have 2 or 3 carrier options. In some counties like Kewaunee you will only have one company in others it is rumored that there might be no options. People often come to me and say, “Well I will just go off the marketplace and buy a plan.” What people fail to grasp is that if they are not selling… they are not selling…. There is no magic plan that I can find for you.
The options today are:
ACA Compliant coverage (true health insurance regulated by the Commissioner of Insurance with no cap on coverage and no underwriting)
Short term (underwritten, 91 days at a time.) Changes to this option have made it difficult to use and not appropriate for most consumers.
Alternative plans (They are out there and they are underwritten. They are often called Christian plans but buyers beware as they are not regulated by the Commissioner of insurance – much like banking without FDIC protections.)
Indemnity plans ( This is often toted as an option but read the fine print as they really just pay you directly a small portion of what the bill actually is. You may still have huge medical bills)