Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heartbleed Virus: "Next, change your passwords for major accounts — email, banking and social media logins — and do it now."

Change your passwords for major accounts — email, banking and social media logins — on sites that were affected by Heartbleed virus but patched the problem. However, if the site or service hasn't patched the flaw yet, there's no point to changing your password. Instead, ask the company when it expects to push out a fix to deal with Heartbleed... do it now.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Suspended coffee, please. Thanks."

"We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter: ‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave. I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?” My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.” Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks

‘Do you have any suspended coffee?’ It’s simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it.

Please join https://www.facebook.com/SuspendedCoffeess?ref=hl

Very respectfully,
Scott Sonnon
www.facebook.com/ScottSonnon

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sen. Warren on the Shutdown and Why Government Matters



  • "In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can't otherwise win their fights through elections, can't win their fights in Congress, can't win their fights for the Presidency, and can't win their fights in Courts. For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left---a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy."

    ~ Senator Elizabeth Warren

Friday, September 27, 2013

Small Business Adminitration (SBA) : "What the ACT law means for small businesses and self employed?"







The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act or ACA) enacted comprehensive health insurance reforms designed to ensure Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. Learn what the law means for small businesses.

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Business

SBA and Small Business Majority have teamed up for a free webinar series where small business owners can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for their business and employees. Webinar content will generally be the same each week.

Thursday, October 3 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register

Thursday, October 10 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register

Thursday, October 17 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register

Thursday, October 24 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register

Thursday, October 31 at 2:00 PM ET: Click to Register

Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act includes a variety of measures specifically for small businesses that help lower premium cost growth and increase access to quality, affordable health insurance. Depending on whether you are self-employed, an employer with fewer than 25 employees, an employer with fewer than 50 employees, or an employer with 50 or more employees, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act may apply to you. Learn about the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act based on the size of your business below.





ARTICLE

Self-Employed

Find out which Affordable Care Act provisions may impact self-employed individuals.

Self-Employed

Key Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act for Self-Employed Individuals

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act occurs in stages, with many of the reforms and requirements taking effect in 2013 and 2014. Some of the provisions that may impact self-employed individuals include:

Individual Shared Responsibility Provisions

Starting in 2014, the Individual Shared Responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act call for each individual to have basic health insurance coverage (known as minimum essential coverage), qualify for an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when filing a federal income tax return. Individuals will not have to make a payment if coverage is unaffordable, if they spend less than three consecutive months without coverage, or if they qualify for an exemption for several other reasons, including hardship and religious beliefs. Minimum essential coverage includes, at a minimum, all of the following categories: Employer-sponsored coverage (including COBRA and retiree coverage), coverage purchased in the individual market, Medicare Part A coverage, Medicaid coverage, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, certain types of Veterans health coverage, and TRICARE. It does not include certain specialized coverage such as only for vision or dental care, workers’ compensation, or coverage only for a specific disease or condition. For more information on the Individual Shared Responsibility requirements and exemptions that may apply, refer to this Fact Sheet from the U.S. Department of Treasury as well as these Q&As from IRS.



Individual Insurance Marketplaces

Coverage through new competitive health insurance marketplaces for individuals and small businesses will be in place January 1, 2014 with open enrollment beginning October 1, 2013. The individual health insurance marketplaces will offer a choice of four levels of benefit packages that differ by the percentage of costs the health plan covers. Individuals and the self-employed may qualify for individual tax credits and subsidies on a sliding scale, based on income. Increased access to quality, affordable health care will make it easier for potential entrepreneurs to go out on their own instead of staying at larger firms simply because of "job lock".

Coverage through Medicaid Expansion

Each state operates a Medicaid program that provides health coverage for lower-income people, families and children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The eligibility rules for Medicaid are different for each state, but most states currently offer coverage for adults with children at some income level. In addition, under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to include adults ages 19 – 64 with incomes up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $15,000 per year for an individual, $31,000/year for a family of four). To learn more about your state Medicaid program and other options available to you, use theinsurance and coverage finder or visit Medicaid.gov.

New Medicare Assessment on Net Investment Income

Beginning January 1, 2013, a 3.8% tax will be assessed on net investment incomesuch as taxable capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties, and interest for taxpayers with Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. Common types of income that are not investment income are wages, unemployment compensation, operating income from a non-passive business, Social Security Benefits, alimony, tax-exempt interest, and self-employment income.



Find Insurance Options

Find and compare health plans using this interactive tool provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Timeline of Provisions

The Affordable Care Act timeline provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes the next steps you can take to implement the provisions





ARTICLE

Employers with Fewer Than 25 Employees

Find out which key Affordable Care Act provisions may impact small businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

Employers with Fewer Than 25 Employees

Key Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act for Employers with Fewer Than 25 Employees

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act occurs in stages, with many of the reforms and requirements taking effect in 2013 and 2014. Some of the provisions that may impact employers with fewer than 25 employees include:

Small Business Health Care Tax Credits

The small business Health Care Tax Credit helps small employers afford the cost of health care coverage for their employees and is specifically targeted for those employers with low- and moderate-income workers. The credit is designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage for the first time or maintain coverage they already have. Since 2010, businesses that have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), pay average annual wages below $50,000, and that contribute 50% or more toward employees’ self-only health insurance premiums may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% to help offset the costs of insurance. In 2014, this tax credit goes up to 50% and is available to qualified small employers that participate in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Eligible small employers can claim the current credit through 2013, and the enhanced credit can be claimed for any two consecutive taxable years beginning in 2014 through the SHOP. To calculate your FTEs and average annual wages for the purposes of this credit, refer to this Q&A from IRS. You can also use this Small Business Health Care Credit Estimator to help you find out whether you're eligible for the credit and how much you might receive.

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)

Starting in 2014, small employers with generally up to 50 employees will have access to the new health care insurance marketplaces through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Currently, small businesses may pay on average 18% more than big businesses for health insurance because of administrative costs. SHOP will offer small employers increased purchasing power to obtain a better choice of high-quality coverage at a lower cost. Costs are lowered because small employers can pool their risk. To enroll, eligible employers must have an office within the service area of the SHOP and offer SHOP coverage to all full-time employees. In 2016, employers with up to 100 employees will be able to participate in SHOP. HHS recently launched a new Call Center specifically to serve small businesses with 50 or fewer employees interested in the SHOP Marketplace. For more information, call 1-800-706-7893 (TTY users: 1-800-706-7915) from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Employer Notice to Employees of the New Health Insurance Marketplace

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (generally, those firms that have at least one employee and at least $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business), must provide notification to their employees about the new Health Insurance Marketplace; inform employees that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit if they purchase coverage through the Marketplace; and advise employees that if they employee purchase a plan through the Marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer. Employers are required to provide this notice to all current employees by October 1, 2013, and to each new employee at the time of hire beginning October 1, 2013, regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or of part-time or full-time status. The Department of Labor has provided employers with two sample notices they may use to comply with this rule, one for employers who do not offer a health plan and another for employers who offer a health plan for some or all employees. For more information refer to DOL’s Technical Guidance.

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBCs) Disclosure Rules

Employers are required to provide employees with a standard “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” form explaining what their plan covers and what it costs. The purpose of the SBC form is to help employees better understand and evaluate their health insurance options. Penalties may be imposed for non-compliance. For more information, refer to this completed sample of the SBC form from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Medical Loss Ratio Rebates

Under the ACA, insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care rather than administrative costs. Insurers who do not meet this ratio are required to provide rebates to their policyholders, which is typically an employer who provides a group health plan. Employers who receive thesepremium rebates must determine whether the rebates constitute plan assets. If treated as a plan asset, employers have discretion to determine a reasonable and fair allocation of the rebate. For more information on the federal tax treatment of Medical Loss Ratio rebates, refer to IRS's FAQs.

Limits on Flexible Spending Account Contributions

For plan years beginning on or after January 2013, the maximum amount an employee may elect to contribute to health care flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) for any year will be capped at $2500, subject to cost-of-living adjustments. Note that the limit only applies to elective employee contributions and does not extend to employer contributions. To learn more about FSA Contributions, as well as what is excluded from the cap, refer to this document provided by the IRS.

Additional Medicare Withholding on Wages

Beginning January 1, 2013, ACA increases the employee portion of the Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance (HI) withholdings by .9% (from 1.45% to 2.35%) on employees with incomes of over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. It is the employer’s obligation to withhold this additional tax, which applies only to wages in excess of these thresholds. The employer portion of the tax will remain unchanged at 1.45%.

New Medicare Assessment on Net Investment Income

Beginning January 1, 2013, a 3.8% tax will be assessed on net investment incomesuch as taxable capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties, and interest for taxpayers with Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. Common types of income that are not investment income are wages, unemployment compensation, operating income from a non-passive business, Social Security Benefits, alimony, tax-exempt interest, and self-employment income.

90-Day Maximum Waiting Period

Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals who are eligible for employer-provided health coverage will not have to wait more than 90 days to begin coverage. The IRS has provided temporary guidance on how employers should apply the 90-day rule and is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying these rules.

Transitional Reinsurance Program Fees

The Transitional Reinsurance Program is a three-year program, beginning in 2014 and continuing until 2016, that reimburses insurers in the individual insurance Marketplaces for high claims costs. The program is funded through fees to be paid by employers (for self-insured plans) and insurers (for insured plans). HHS estimates that the fees for 2014 will be $5.25 a month (or $63 for the year) for each individual covered under a health care plan, with the required fee for the following two years to be somewhat lower. The fee applies to all employer-sponsored plans providing major medical coverage, including retiree programs. The U.S. Department of Labor has advised that for self-insured plans, these fees can be paid from plan assets. The IRS has stated that the fees are tax deductible for employers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying the details of this program.

Workplace Wellness Programs

The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs and encourage employers to take more opportunities to support healthier workplaces. Health-contingent wellness programs generally require individuals to meet a specific standard related to their health to obtain a reward, such as programs that provide a reward to employees who don’t use, or decrease their use of, tobacco, and programs that reward employees who achieve a specified level or lower cholesterol. Under final rules that take effect on January 1, 2014, the maximum reward to employers using a health-contingent wellness program will increase from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of health coverage. Additionally, the maximum reward for programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use will be as much as 50 percent. The final rules also allow for flexibility in the types of wellness programs employers can offer. For more information and to view the final rules, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Health Insurance Coverage Reporting Requirements

Beginning with health coverage provided on or after January 1, 2014, employers that sponsor self-insured plans must submit reports to the IRS detailing information for each covered individual. The first of these reports must be filed in 2015. The IRS is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying these requirements.

Find Insurance Options

Find and compare health plans for your employees.

Timeline of Provisions

The Affordable Care Act timeline provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes the next steps you can take to implement the provisions.





ARTICLE

Employers with Up to 50 Employees

Find out which Affordable Care Act provisions may impact small businesses with up to 50 employees.

Employers with Up to 50 Employees

Key Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act for Employers with Up to 50 Employees

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act occurs in stages, with many of the reforms and requirements taking effect in 2013 and 2014. Some of the provisions that may impact employers with up to 50 employees include:

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)

Starting in 2014, small employers with generally up to 50 employees will have access to the new health care insurance marketplaces through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Currently, small businesses may pay on average 18% more than big businesses for health insurance because of administrative costs. SHOP will offer small employers increased purchasing power to obtain a better choice of high-quality coverage at a lower cost. Costs are lowered because small employers can pool their risk. To enroll, eligible employers must have an office within the service area of the SHOP and offer SHOP coverage to all full-time employees. In 2016, employers with up to 100 employees will be able to participate in SHOP. HHS recently launched a new Call Center specifically to serve small businesses with 50 or fewer employees interested in the SHOP Marketplace. For more information, call 1-800-706-7893 (TTY users: 1-800-706-7915) from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Employer Notice to Employees of the New Health Insurance Marketplace

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (generally, those firms that have at least one employee and at least $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business), must provide notification to their employees about the new Health Insurance Marketplace; inform employees that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit if they purchase coverage through the Marketplace; and advise employees that if they employee purchase a plan through the Marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer. Employers are required to provide this notice to all current employees by October 1, 2013, and to each new employee at the time of hire beginning October 1, 2013, regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or of part-time or full-time status. The Department of Labor has provided employers with two sample notices they may use to comply with this rule, one for employers who do not offer a health plan and another for employers who offer a health plan for some or all employees. For more information refer to DOL’s Technical Guidance.

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBCs) Disclosure Rules

Employers are required to provide employees with a standard “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” form explaining what their plan covers and what it costs. The purpose of the SBC form is to help employees better understand and evaluate their health insurance options. Penalties may be imposed for non-compliance. For more information, refer to this completed sample of the SBC form from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Medical Loss Ratio Rebates

Under ACA, insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care rather than administrative costs. Insurers who do not meet this ratio are required to provide rebates to their policyholders, which is typically an employer who provides a group health plan. Employers who receive these premium rebatesmust determine whether the rebates constitute plan assets. If treated as a plan asset, employers have discretion to determine a reasonable and fair allocation of the rebate. For more information on the federal tax treatment of Medical Loss Ratio rebates, refer to IRS's FAQs.

Limits on Flexible Spending Account Contributions

For plan years beginning on or after January 2013, the maximum amount an employee may elect to contribute to health care flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) for any year will be capped at $2500, subject to cost-of-living adjustments. Note that the limit only applies to elective employee contributions and does not extend to employer contributions. To learn more about FSA Contributions, as well as what is excluded from the cap, refer to this document provided by the IRS.

Additional Medicare Withholding on Wages

Beginning January 1, 2013, ACA increases the employee portion of the Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance (HI) withholdings by .9% (from 1.45% to 2.35%) on employees with incomes of over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. It is the employer’s obligation to withhold this additional tax, which applies only to wages in excess of these thresholds. The employer portion of the tax will remain unchanged at 1.45%.

New Medicare Assessment on Net Investment Income

Beginning January 1, 2013, a 3.8% tax will be assessed on net investment incomesuch as taxable capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties, and interest for taxpayers with Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. Common types of income that are not investment income are wages, unemployment compensation, operating income from a non-passive business, Social Security Benefits, alimony, tax-exempt interest, and self-employment income.

90-Day Maximum Waiting Period

Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals who are eligible for employer-provided health coverage will not have to wait more than 90 days to begin coverage. The IRS has provided temporary guidance on how employers should apply the 90-day rule and is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying these rules.

Transitional Reinsurance Program Fees

The Transitional Reinsurance Program is a three-year program, beginning in 2014 and continuing until 2016, that reimburses insurers in the individual insurance Marketplaces for high claims costs. The program is funded through fees to be paid by employers (for self-insured plans) and insurers (for insured plans). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the fees for 2014 will be $5.25 a month (or $63 for the year) for each individual covered under a health care plan, with the required fee for the following two years to be somewhat lower. The fee applies to all employer-sponsored plans providing major medical coverage, including retiree programs. The U.S. Department of Labor has advised that for self-insured plans, these fees can be paid from plan assets. The IRS has stated that the fees are tax deductible for employers. HHS is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying the details of this program.

Workplace Wellness Programs

The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs and encourage employers to take more opportunities to support healthier workplaces. Health-contingent wellness programs generally require individuals to meet a specific standard related to their health to obtain a reward, such as programs that provide a reward to employees who don’t use, or decrease their use of, tobacco, and programs that reward employees who achieve a specified level or lower cholesterol. Under final rules that take effect on January 1, 2014, the maximum reward to employers using a health-contingent wellness program will increase from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of health coverage. Additionally, the maximum reward for programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use will be as much as 50 percent. The final rules also allow for flexibility in the types of wellness programs employers can offer. For more information and to view the final rules, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Health Insurance Coverage Reporting Requirements

Beginning with health coverage provided on or after January 1, 2014, employers that sponsor self-insured plans must submit reports to the IRS detailing information for each covered individual. The first of these reports must be filed in 2015. The IRS is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying these requirements.

Find Insurance Options

Find and compare health plans for your employees.

Timeline of Provisions

The Affordable Care Act timeline provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes the next steps you can take to implement the provisions.





ARTICLE

Employers with 50 or More Employees

Find out which key Affordable Care Act provisions may impact small businesses with 50 or more employees.

Employers with 50 or More Employees

Key Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act for Employers with 50 or More Employees

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act occurs in stages, with many of the reforms and requirements taking effect in 2013 and 2014. Some of the provisions that may impact employers with 50 or more employees include:

Employer Notice to Employees of the New Health Insurance Marketplace

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (generally, those firms that have at least one employee and at least $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business), must provide notification to their employees about the new Health Insurance Marketplace; inform employees that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit if they purchase coverage through the Marketplace; and advise employees that if they employee purchase a plan through the Marketplace, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer. Employers are required to provide this notice to all current employees by October 1, 2013, and to each new employee at the time of hire beginning October 1, 2013, regardless of plan enrollment status (if applicable) or of part-time or full-time status. The Department of Labor has provided employers with two sample notices they may use to comply with this rule, one for employers who do not offer a health plan and another for employers who offer a health plan for some or all employees. For more information refer to DOL’s Technical Guidance.

Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions

Beginning in 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time/full-time equivalent employees that do not offer affordable health insurance that provides minimum value to their full-time employees (and dependents) may be required to pay an assessment if at least one of their full-time employees is certified to receive a premium tax credit in an individual health insurance Marketplace. A full-time employee is one who is employed an average of at least 30 hours per week. The assessment, known as Employer Shared Responsibility, will offset part of the cost of the Marketplace premium tax credits. Treasury recently issued transitional reliefto employers covered by these rules indicating that no shared responsibility payments will apply until 2015. You can refer to the Proposed Regulations for more information about these provisions. To determine if you have 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees and are therefore covered by the Employer Shared Responsibility rules, click here .

Health Insurance Coverage Reporting Requirements

Beginning in 2015, the Affordable Care Act provides for information reporting by employers subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions regarding the health coverage they offer to their full-time employees (known as Section 6056 rules). New information reporting by issuers, self-insuring employers, and other parties that provide health coverage also take effect in 2015 (Section 6055 rules). On September 5, 2013, Treasury issued Proposed Regulations that provide further guidance about these provisions and invites stakeholders to submit comments on these proposed rules through early November 2013. The public comments will be taken into account in developing final reporting rules. To read the proposed Section 6056 rules, click here.

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBCs) Disclosure Rules

Employers are required to provide employees with a standard “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” form explaining what their plan covers and what it costs. The purpose of the SBC form is to help employees better understand and evaluate their health insurance options. Penalties may be imposed for non-compliance. For more information, refer to this completed sample of the SBC form from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Medical Loss Ratio Rebates

Under ACA, insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care rather than administrative costs. Insurers who do not meet this ratio are required to provide rebates to their policyholders, which is typically an employer who provides a group health plan. Employers who receive these premium rebatesmust determine whether the rebates constitute plan assets. If treated as a plan asset, employers have discretion to determine a reasonable and fair allocation of the rebate. For more information on the federal tax treatment of Medical Loss Ratio rebates, refer to IRS's FAQs.

W-2 Reporting of Aggregate Health Care Costs

Beginning January 2013 (applicable to 2012 reporting), most employers must report the aggregate annual cost of employer-provided coverage for each employee on the Form W-2. The new W-2 reporting requirement is informational only and it does not require taxation on any health plan coverage. Reporting is required for most employer-sponsored health coverage, including group medical coverage. Small Employer Exception: For 2012 reporting and beyond until further guidance is issued, the W-2 reporting requirement does not apply to employers required to file fewer than 250 Form W-2s in the prior calendar year. To learn more about the requirements, as well as exclusions, visit this page at IRS.gov.

Limits on Flexible Spending Account Contributions

For plan years beginning on or after January 2013, the maximum amount an employee may elect to contribute to health care flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) for any year will be capped at $2500, subject to cost-of-living adjustments. Note that the limit only applies to elective employee contributions and does not extend to employer contributions. To learn more about FSA Contributions, as well as what is excluded from the cap, refer to this document provided by the IRS.

Additional Medicare Withholding on Wages

Beginning January 1, 2013, the ACA increases the employee portion of the Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance (HI) withholdings by .9% (from 1.45% to 2.35%) on employees with incomes of over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. It is the employer’s obligation to withhold this additional tax, which applies only to wages in excess of these thresholds. The employer portion of the tax will remain unchanged at 1.45%.

New Medicare Assessment on Net Investment Income

Beginning January 1, 2013, a 3.8% tax will be assessed on net investment incomesuch as taxable capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties, and interest for taxpayers with Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) over $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married joint filers. Common types of income that are not investment income are wages, unemployment compensation, operating income from a non-passive business, social security benefits, alimony, tax-exempt interest, and self-employment income.

90-Day Maximum Waiting Period

Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals who are eligible for employer-provided health coverage will not have to wait more than 90 days to begin coverage. The IRS has provided temporary guidance on how employers should apply the 90-day rule and is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying these rules.

Transitional Reinsurance Program Fees

The Transitional Reinsurance Program is a three-year program, beginning in 2014 and continuing until 2016, that reimburses insurers in the individual insurance Marketplaces for high claims costs. The program is funded through fees to be paid by employers (for self-insured plans) and insurers (for insured plans). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the fees for 2014 will be $5.25 a month (or $63 for the year) for each individual covered under a health care plan, with the required fee for the following two years to be somewhat lower. The fee applies to all employer-sponsored plans providing major medical coverage, including retiree programs. The U.S. Department of Labor has advised that for self-insured plans, these fees can be paid from plan assets. The IRS has stated that the fees are tax deductible for employers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to provide more information in the near future clarifying the details of this program.

Workplace Wellness Programs

The Affordable Care Act creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs and encourage employers to take more opportunities to support healthier workplaces. Health-contingent wellness programs generally require individuals to meet a specific standard related to their health to obtain a reward, such as programs that provide a reward to employees who don’t use, or decrease their use of, tobacco, and programs that reward employees who achieve a specified level or lower cholesterol. Under final rules that take effect on January 1, 2014, the maximum reward to employers using a health-contingent wellness program will increase from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of health coverage. Additionally, the maximum reward for programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use will be as much as 50 percent. The final rules also allow for flexibility in the types of wellness programs employers can offer. For more information and to view the final rules, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa.

Timeline of Provisions

The Affordable Care Act timeline provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes the next steps you can take to implement the provisions.







Glossary of Key Health Care Reform Terms

For definitions of key health care reform terms, consult this glossary of key terms provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Timeline of the Affordable Care Act Insurance Reforms

The Affordable Care Act health insurance reforms will roll out in phases, many of which will occur in 2013 and 2014. This timeline contains details on key provisions.

The Law, Regulations, and Related Guidance

Read the full text of the Affordable Care Act or browse and download the law by section. Regulations and guidance are used to implement many of the Affordable Care Act provisions that address both private and public health insurance. Many of these can be found at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will be implemented during the next several years. You can find a list of provisionsnow in effect, with periodic updates, from the IRS.

Specific Affordable Care Act Information in Your State

Learn what benefits, services, and programs may be available to you depending on your location. Using this interactive tool, select your state to learn more about healthcare options where you live.

Every state will have an Affordable Insurance Exchange, or Marketplace, beginning in January 2014. States have the option of running their own Marketplace, partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to partially run the Marketplace, or opting for a Marketplace run by HHS.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have chosen to establish their own Marketplace, and several additional states have opted to partner with the federal government to establish a Marketplace. To view all Marketplace websites, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/what-is-the-marketplace-in-my-state.

Affordable Care Act Training Materials



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"I am not Trayvon Martin." by Bob Seay

John Crawley, an author I know on FB and one of my neighbors here in Dallas, Texas, whom I have yet to meet, who plays guitar, posted this originally on my section of Facebook today, so I am passing it along with an appropriate photo so you might stop and read it....




Bob Seay · 792 followers on Facebook July 14 at 8:55am ..

I am not Trayvon Martin.

 I keep seeing people say, "I am Trayvon Martin." I understand the sentiment. If that is you, then I respect that. I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a middle-aged, middle class, overweight white guy. I am also a teacher, and in 20 years of teaching, I have seen plenty of Trayvon Martins. More accurately, I have seen plenty of young men who fit the caricatured image that is being portrayed of this kid in the media, Left and Right. Fox News and MSNBC. I'm guessing that neither portrayal - saint or thug - is accurate. People are more complex than that. None of the Trayvon Martins that I know deserve to die. They may arouse suspicion, but your paranoia is not their crime. If they do commit a crime, they deserve to have a trial. Trayvon Martin's jury consisted of one person. That is not how we are supposed to do things in America. Unfortunately, that is our reality. Here's my point: You don't have to be Trayvon Martin to know this is wrong. You don't have to be black, or young, or a "troubled student" or a pot smoker to know this was murder. And you don't have to be the parent of Trayvon Martin to know this was a gross miscarriage of justice. Let me be more blunt: This type of injustice will continue until enough guys like me - guys who are not Trayvon Martin - have had enough of it and finally say "No more." You don't have to be Trayvon Martin. You just have to be human.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"25 AWESOME TIPS FOR BEAUTIFUL LIFE ... try just adding one per day!"

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. & while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant. 2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. 3. When you wake up in the morning, Pray to ask God’s guidance for your purpose, today. 4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants. 5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, and almonds. 6. Try to make at least three people smile each day. 7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. 8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card. 9. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. 10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything ! 11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 12. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present. 14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. 16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’ 17. Help the needy, Be generous ! Be a ‘Giver’ not a ‘Taker’ 18. What other people think of you is none of your business. 19. Time heals everything. 20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 21. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch. 22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 23. Each night before you go to bed ,Pray to God and Be thankful for what you’ll accomplish, today ! 24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed. 25.Share this to everyone on your list to help them lead a happier life…!!!!