Tag Archives: health insurance

Health Insurance for Children

With the recent twists and turns of the Affordable Care Act, there have been many changes to health insurance. While most people talk about how this will affect the health insurance needs of adults, not many people think about how it can help children. The Affordable Care Act has made it easier than ever for children to be covered with the right health insurance policy.

In order to sign up for health insurance, adults have to wait for an open enrollment period or have a qualifying life event. However, children are able to get covered with the right health insurance plan at any point in the year through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. Both federal and state programs offer low cost or free health care to children, which help to bring the number of uninsured children to record lows.

Many private health insurance providers are now offering the same services that CHIP and Medicaid are offering, including various preventive care services that come at no cost. These preventive services include immunizations, autism screenings, depressions screening, obesity screenings, and more to help ensure the health of children across the country.

All health insurance plans are now required to offer 10 services, including vision and dental care for children, as well as maternity and newborn care. It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies do not have to offer dental and vision care to children who are over the age of 19, so look carefully when deciding on the right policy to fit your needs.

Contact the insurance experts at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California for all of your child health insurance needs. We will work with you to ensure that you have the right amount of coverage for everyone in your family, all at the right price.

Forgot To Sign Up For Health Insurance? Special Enrollment Period Is Now Open!

It is not too late to sign up for health insurance! Even though the open enrollment period ended on February 15th, Covered California and the Federal government are offering a new special enrollment period for those who were not able to sign up for health care coverage during open enrollment.

In order to qualify for the special enrollment period, you must prove that you were not aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2014, or that you may now be facing a penalty for not having health insurance during the beginning of 2015. The special enrollment period opened on March 15th, and will stay open until April 30th to give people the chance to sign up for health coverage.

It is important to keep in mind that while you now have a chance to sign up for health coverage if you are not already enrolled in a plan, the special enrollment period will not get rid of any penalties that you already have to pay. To attest that you did not know about the penalty for not having coverage, you must select “Informed of Tax Penalty Risk” on the drop down menu on the Covered California website.

In addition to the special enrollment period, there are other qualifying life events that may help to qualify you for a special enrollment period. Some of the most common qualifying life events include getting married or divorced, having or adopting a child, or moving to a state that does not offer the same health care plan that you are currently enrolled in.

For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of protection, contact the health insurance professionals at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands, California.

Preparing Your Small Business For Tax Season

With tax season just around the corner, small business owners must consider whether or not they will be taking advantage of the small business health care tax credit. New changes surrounding the small business health care tax credit mean that you simply cannot sign off on the paperwork from last year. To ensure that you are in complete understanding of your responsibility in regards to this tax credit, allow the following informational points to guide you:

  • Starting in 2014 and continuing to following years, the maximum tax credit increases to 50 percent of paid premiums for small business employers. However, the maximum tax credit increases to 35 percent of paid premiums for small tax-exempt employers.
  • In order to be eligible for the small business health care tax credit, you must pay premiums on behalf of your team that has enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan. These plans must be obtained through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
  • You can be eligible to take advantage of the small business health care tax credit for two consecutive taxable years.
  • To claim the tax credit, you must file Form 8941 – Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. This will guide you through the process of calculating the tax credit.
  • As a small business employer, you may be eligible to carry the tax credit back or forward. In order to determine your eligibility, seek guidance from a Certified Covered California agent, such as the experienced and knowledgeable professionals at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services.

Rather than leaving yourself unprotected, seek the care you deserve today! Contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands for all of your California health insurance needs. As Covered California experts, you can rest assured that we will be your guiding hand in the realm of health insurance and health care.

Understanding Eligibility Of The Special Enrollment Period

With the deadline for the second Obamacare open enrollment period now in the rear view mirror, many individuals who failed to obtain health insurance before the deadline will soon be receiving penalties in the mail. Due to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, each and every one of us is now required to obtain health coverage or receive a penalty.

If you want to avoid penalties, you must obtain health insurance. However, there is one way out of this requirement: the special enrollment period. The special enrollment period provides an individual with varying circumstances a second chance at enrolling for health care. However, you must experience one of the many qualifying life events in order to be eligible for the special enrollment period.

Life events that may make you eligible to take advantage of the special enrollment period and avoid penalties include:

  • Getting married changes your tax situation and health care needs, so you can take advantage of the special enrollment period.
  • Likewise, having a baby, adopting a baby, and placing a child in adoption or foster care all make you eligible for the special enrollment period.
  • Do not fret if your existing health coverage drops or changes, as you will be able to obtain new health insurance during the special enrollment period.
  • Permanent moves that change your coverage area or coverage requirements allow you to obtain health insurance during the special enrollment period.
  • If your citizenship status changes you can obtain health insurance during the special enrollment period.

Rather than leaving yourself unprotected, seek the care you deserve today! Contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands for all of your California health insurance needs. As Covered California experts, you can rest assured that we will be your guiding hand in the realm of health insurance and health care.

Understanding Penalties Under Obamacare

Since fees were not implemented during the first trial of enrolling in the new health insurance marketplace, the first Obamacare open enrollment period proved to fall short of successful. However, now that enforced penalties mean that you will be faced with a fee if you do not have health coverage, it seems that many enrolled before February 15th passed.

If you failed to obtain health coverage before the open enrollment deadline passed, you will be faced with a penalty until the third Obamacare open enrollment period arrives. Therefore, it is important that you understand why you are being penalized and how much. Gathered are some helpful guiding points for determining how much your penalty for not enrolling for health insurance will be:

Failing To Have Coverage In 2015:

Two calculations are made to determine your penalty amount. Of the two below, you will need to pay the higher amount.

  • $325 per person in your household, $162.50 per child under 18 years old – The maximum penalty an entire family can be charged is $975.
  • 2 percent of your household annual income – In this calculation, the amount above your tax filing threshold is considered, approximating about $10,000 per individual. The most a family can be charged is the national average premium for a bronze plan.

Failing To Have Coverage In 2016:

Each year, the penalty for not obtaining health insurance will increase. You can expect the following increases in 2016 if you still do not have health coverage:

  • $695 per person in your household
  • 5 percent of your household annual income

Rather than leaving yourself unprotected, seek the care you deserve today! Contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands for all of your California health insurance needs. As Covered California experts, you can rest assured that we will be your guiding hand in the realm of health insurance and health care.

Understanding The SHOP Marketplace

Small business owners across the country have been experiencing change as they are now legally required to comply with new regulations and requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Since the world of health insurance and health care has transformed completely, choosing the right small business health insurance plans to best protect your team is more challenging.

If you missed the open enrollment deadline on February 15th and are beginning to panic since you have not properly set up your small business plans, do not fret! We can still write you a policy for your small business.

A unique entity known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace allows small business owners to obtain the coverage they are required to offer their team, despite missed deadlines. When utilizing plans offered in SHOP, you have the luxury of avoiding restricted enrollment periods and offer deadlines.

There are many benefits of utilizing the SHOP Marketplace in addition to full luxury to pick and alter coverage as you please. If you are currently satisfied with your insurance agent, feel free to enroll with them! The SHOP Marketplace does not require that you change agents; therefore, you can go through this process with the agency you trust most.

The SHOP Marketplace is the perfect way to obtain health insurance and comply with all requirements set forth by the Affordable Care Act if you have 50 or fewer full time employees. The same goes for nonprofit organizations, however, if you are self-employed you cannot utilize the SHOP Marketplace.

Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you are in need of enrolling for a SHOP plan for your small business. Contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services in Redlands for all of your California health insurance needs. As Covered California experts, you can rest assured that we will be your guiding hand in the realm of health insurance and health care.

Discerning The Aid You Can Secure For Your Health Insurance

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changing healthcare in the United States, it can be difficult to understand exactly what kind of support the government can offer you. According to the ACA, the government now offers subsidies to make healthcare more affordable for eligible parties. These are tax credits that are available for lower income families and individuals.

To qualify for subsidies, you must live in the United States, be a citizen of the US or lawfully residing in the country, not be in jail, and have a household income level of four times the federal poverty level or less. This means that if your Modified Adjusted Gross Income is between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level you can qualify for tax credits to help you cover the expense of your health care.

How much reimbursement can you expect? The subsidies are based on a sliding scale. The government will determine what percentage the amount you pay for your health insurance is of your income, and offer increased subsidies the higher the percentage is. The sliding scale is based off of the cost of the second least-expensive silver-level plan that is available in your area.

If you would like help from the experts to discern if you qualify for a subsidy, a certified agent like the ones at Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services is here to aid you. To understand what the ACA means for you, how not to miss an important deadline, and how to save on your premiums, do not hesitate to contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services today. Located in Redlands, we are here to help you secure the best protection for you and your family today.

Understanding What Qualifies Coverage As Affordable

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the face of healthcare in the United States in an effort to make securing health insurance affordable for every American. What, exactly, qualifies as affordable coverage? It cannot just be a vague idea, as the government now requires all businesses that employ a certain number of people to offer affordable coverage to their employees. So how, then, is affordability defined?

According to ACA standards, a plan is considered affordable if it costs 9.5 percent or less of the individual it covers income. As an employer, how can you know if your plan will be affordable for your employees? There are a few safe harbors you can use to avoid being hit with penalty fees.

First, you can reference Box 1 on your employee’s W-2, where he or she will have to report his or her taxable income. Secondly, you can base affordability off your employee’s rate of pay on the first day of coverage under that plan. And finally, you can rest easy knowing your plan is affordable if your employee’s paid share is not more than 9.56 of the federal poverty level for a single individual. These safe harbors enable you to protect your employees by ensuring they are able to afford the protection they need, and protect your business from penalty fees.

Do not be left wondering if the plans you offer as a business or the plan you secure as an individual will be complaint with ACA regulations, only to be hit with tax penalties in April. To have a certified agent come alongside you to help you navigate the changing face of health care, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services today. Located in Redlands, we are here to help you secure the best protection for you and your family. To get the health insurance you deserve this year, call us today!

Your Guide To The Tax Penalties Of The Affordable Care Act

If you have not yet secured health insurance for 2015, do not wait. The open enrollment period (the time during which you can secure an individual health insurance plan) ends on February 15th, and if you do not have the coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by that time you may be subject to tax penalties.

What kind of coverage should you have to avoid those fees? You need a major medical health insurance plan. According to the ACA, these plans include coverage for emergency services, pediatric services, laboratory services, rehabilitative services and devices, mental health/substance abuse services, preventative/wellness services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, ambulatory patient services, and prescription drugs.

If you do not have major medical health insurance for three continuous months, you will be hit with penalties when you file your taxes. These penalties will be 2 percent of your taxable income or $325 per adult ($162.50 per child), whichever is greater.

Are you concerned you will not be able to afford the insurance you need to avoid these fees? Do not worry- the ACA also outlines subsidies to help lower income individuals and families get coverage. If your household income is 400 percent or less of the federal poverty level, you can qualify for tax credits to help pay for your health insurance.

Do not let yourself be subject to these fees. Get the health insurance the ACA requires, and that you deserve. To have a certified agent help you determine the right coverage and secure it at the right price, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services today. Located in Redlands, we are here to help you secure the best protection for you and your family. To get the health insurance you deserve this year, call us today!

What Does Your Employers Plan Mean For Your Subsidies?

For most, health insurance options through your workplace are good news. If, however, you had plans to secure subsidies to help you pay for an individual health plan outside of your work, your employer’s offer of coverage may be a problem for you. Make sure you do not opt out of health care through your work only to find yourself without tax credit.

How does qualification for health care subsidies work? According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), anyone who is at an income level of 400% or less of the federal poverty levels can qualify for tax credits to help them cover the cost of health insurance. These subsidies are available in your specific state and can be applied for during the open enrollment period, which ends February 15th.

If, however, you work somewhere that offers affordable health insurance and you choose not to accept a plan through your workplace, you will not qualify for subsidies. The same is true if you are eligible for coverage through Medicare. The government is committed to helping every American get the health care he or she needs, but if you choose to opt out of perfectly good coverage there will be no aid for you. That is because your job-based plan counts as the now federally mandated minimum essential coverage. Securing a plan through your workplace will also help you avoid the tax penalties that could be assessed if you do not have coverage.

To understand how your employer’s coverage affects your subsidy eligibility and what to do if you want a plan other than the one offered through your workplace, do not hesitate to contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services today. Located in Redlands, we are here to help you secure the best protection for you and your family today. Connect with a certified agent; call us today!