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Tag Archive | "health care"

Claiming the small business health care tax credit


If you are a small employer with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that earn an average wage of less than $50,000 a year and you pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums…then there is a tax credit that may put money in your pocket.

The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations. The credit can enable small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations to offer health insurance coverage for the first time. It also helps those already offering health insurance coverage to maintain the coverage they already have.

Here is what small employers need to know so they don’t miss out on the credit for tax year 2011:

Qualifying businesses calculate the small business health care credit on Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, and claim it as part of the general business credit on Form 3800, General Business Credit, which they would include with their tax return.

Tax-exempt organizations can use Form 8941 to calculate the credit and then claim the credit on Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, Line 44f.

Businesses that couldn’t use the credit in 2011 may be eligible to claim it in future years. Eligible small employers can claim the credit for 2010 through 2013 and for two additional years beginning in 2014.

For tax years 2010 to 2013, the maximum credit for eligible small business employers is 35 percent of premiums paid and for eligible tax-exempt employers the maximum credit is 25 percent of premiums paid. Beginning in 2014, the maximum credit will go up to 50 percent of qualifying premiums paid by eligible small business employers and 35 percent of qualifying premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.

Additional information about eligibility requirements and calculating the credit can be found on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers page of IRS.gov.

 

 

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From the editor’s desk


By Judy Reed

Did Obama lie?

For many of the people who watched President Barack Obama’s speech last week on the health insurance proposal making its way through Congress, one thing will stand out—Rep. Joe Wilson accused him of lying. It was a Kanye West kind of moment. The President had just finished saying that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the plan, when Wilson yelled out, “You lie!” Whether you agree with the president or the protestor, it was a disrespectful way to refute what the man who holds the highest office in the land was saying. (He later apologized.) And now that the furor has been overshadowed by Kanye West’s latest antics (taking the microphone away from Taylor Swift during her victory speech), the question remains—did Obama lie? We went to factcheck.org to find out, and discovered some interesting points.

Obama was correct when he said his plan wouldn’t insure illegal immigrants; the House bill expressly forbids giving subsidies to those who are in the country illegally. Conservative critics complain that the bill lacks an enforcement mechanism, but that hardly makes the president a liar.

The president said, “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” But the House bill would permit a “public option” to cover all abortions, and would also permit federal subsidies to be used to purchase private insurance that covers all abortions, a point that raises objections from anti-abortion groups. That’s true despite a technical ban on use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion coverage.

The president repeated his promise that his plan won’t add “one dime” to the federal deficit. But legislation offered so far would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The president overstated the degree of concentration in the insurance industry. He said that in 34 states the “insurance market” is controlled by five or fewer companies, but that’s true only of insurance bought by small groups, not the entire “insurance market.”

Obama said his plan won’t “require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” It’s true that there’s no requirement, but experts say the legislation could induce employers to switch coverage for millions of workers.

Obama said that one man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it. The insurance company did treat him badly and did delay his treatment for stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer, but it was resumed in April 2005. He died this past January, 2009. There’s no way to know whether he would have survived his cancer if the treatment had not been interrupted. According to a writer from the Chicago Tribune, White House speech writers said they got their info from Slate magazine, who reported the case “incorrectly.”

This is just a summary. For more in depth analysis, go to www.factcheck.org.

Also, we want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts on the health care issue!

Posted in From the Editor, Voices and ViewsComments (1)

Congressman Ehlers on health care legislation


V-Ehlers-headshotWASHINGTON—The House Committee on Education and Labor, of which Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers is a member, began consideration of the America’s Affordable Health Choice Act (H.R. 3200) in July. Congressman Ehlers gave this opening statement on the bill: “We are here today to consider legislation that will have a significant impact on my constituents, as well as most other Americans.

“In Michigan, about 11 percent, or just over one million people, lack health insurance coverage. I strongly believe that Michiganders and all Americans should have access to good health care. I support making improvements to health care so that more people may have more of the health care that they need, while maintaining control over their own health care. Having suffered from chronic asthma during my childhood, I fully understand that all people need access to excellent doctors, nurses and hospitals.

“We should focus on prevention of illness, finding cures, and ensuring that Americans have accurate information about their health while receiving the best health care in the world.  In addition, I support combating fraud, waste and abuse in health care so that taxpayer funds are wisely invested in providing health care that people need.

“I also believe that the state and federal governments have a role in providing health care access and payment, especially for vulnerable populations such as the frail elderly, people with disabilities and those with lower incomes. In fact, I have supported many proposals over the years to expand health care coverage. For example, I voted in support of providing low-income children with health care under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and I supported providing access to prescription drugs for people enrolled in Medicare.

“But, even though the government has a responsibility to ensure its citizens have access to health care, it does not mean the government has to provide it.

“We must take care in defining the role of the government, especially given the role the private sector currently plays. In Michigan, two out of three nonelderly people with health insurance receive it through their employer.  Controversial “pay or play” schemes will disrupt employer-sponsored coverage or cause benefit packages to change. In addition, many people and businesses rely upon the informed advice of health insurance agents, often their friends, in selecting health plans. Under the “exchange system,” Americans will no longer have access to the valuable advice of their trusted advisors. Moreover, a government-run, public plan likely will create an unlevel playing field, pricing private health insurers out of business. This is an issue which particularly concerns me.

“When America and the states decided that every auto owner needed to have auto insurance, they did not set up state-run or federal-run auto insurance companies. Rather, they made use of the existing structure. Similarly, if we now would like to advocate that everyone have health insurance, why should we assume that the federal government must provide it all? We have a complete industry that deals with health insurance, we have private agents who are well-known in their communities. They are well-versed in the issues, and they know how to best help the public. We should make use of them, and not invest in a public plan in which the government controls it all.

“Also, we must ensure that health legislation boosts our economy, not harms it further. In Michigan, we have been struggling economically for too many years. The unemployment rate in my state is 15.2 percent, and the total number of unemployed reached an unfortunate historic high of 740,000 in June. I am concerned that new mandates and taxes will cost my state and our nation jobs at a time when we can least afford to lose them.

“In addition, we must foster a workforce equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to innovate and transform medicine.  I am a strong supporter of improving our students’ math and science education, and this is crucial to having an excellent medical workforce. Related to this, I plan to offer an amendment to provide loan assistance to students entering the medical profession.

“Finally, we must safeguard our children’s future by not only providing them access to excellent health care, but also by providing a fiscally responsible system.  We need to address the structural and financial problems associated with the current government programs before enacting a new, massive entitlement program. To that end, I am a cosponsor of the Securing America’s Future Economy Commission Act, and I am hopeful that provisions from this legislation will be included in any final health care reform legislation.

“I look forward to carefully evaluating the legislation before us, and it is my hope that we will enact bipartisan legislation that truly helps Americans access health care without bankrupting either our citizens or our nation.”

Posted in Vern Ehlers, Voices and ViewsComments Off

The Health Care Scare


By Lois Allen

Health Care is scary. Especially when you don’t have it! There’s been a lot of debate about Health Care, the health care system and an urgent need to reform.

Let’s face it, the only people that need health care are sick people. And they cost money. The only way a health insurance company can make a profit is to deny paying for care. Death by denial.

I have long thought that health insurance companies should be nonprofit industries. With a not-for-profit industry, any money made over expense is put back into the company thereby making it even better for those that use it. Of course that’s only if  the CEO’s of that company don’t give themselves great big fat paychecks!

I’m 54 (almost) and I pay $100 a week for my health insurance coverage. That does not include prescription or dental. I also have to pay for doctor’s visits and lab tests. I have not been sick since I got it. Not that I’m complaining! But I can’t help thinking how much money I would have right now if I could have put that money into the bank and drawn interest!

Today I am having great difficulty deciding whether to cancel my health insurance or not pay my mortgage. And that’s the way it is.

A woman awakes from a deep sleep to hear someone breaking into her home. She dials 9-1-1. “Someone’s breaking into my home,” she whispers. The operator on the other end replies, “I’m sorry ma’am, but you don’t have police protection coverage, so we cannot service your call….” Click.

Calling the doctor’s office, “I’m sorry ma’am, but you don’t have health coverage we cannot heal you…. Click. Or at the pharmacist’s counter, “I’m sorry, you have to pay…” “we can’t help you.”

For those in that situation, it may feel like they’ve been assigned to a death squad.

And that’s what I’m going to hear when I’m canceled! It seems to me that in this, the wealthiest country in the world, people should not be afraid to get ill.

Currently those that have it are either the rich or the very poor. But it is the working class that runs this country! If you have it great! If you don’t have it, you want it. You need it.

Some of the Post employees need it while others have it through their spouses.. The Post is an independently owned small business. Like many today, it is trying to just stay afloat.

We need all of America healthy with a home. Anything less is not acceptable.

Join our health care discussion on our Facebook page.

Posted in From the Editor, Voices and ViewsComments Off


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