If you are among the dwindling number of people who haven’t opted to go paperless, chances are you have to deal with piles of medical bills, health insurance policies and receipts. Even if you have chosen paperless options whenever possible, you cannot avoid having some hard copies of important documents that must be dealt with. It may be tempting to simply toss them in the trash, but doing so can have negative consequences. There are a number of scenarios that require you to reference medical records from your past, and it can be difficult or impossible to track down information that was on documents you threw away. The type of document determines whether you should keep it or discard it, and the type of information included in the document determines whether it should be shredded.
What to Keep and for How Long
Always Shred Personal Information
Unfortunately, identity theft is a common occurrence, and one of the easiest ways for identity thieves to access your sensitive information is via discarded documents that have not been shredded. You should shred any medical record that has personal information anywhere in or on it before throwing it away. Sensitive personal information includes names, addresses, contact information, social security numbers, health insurance policy numbers, credit card information, account numbers and bank information.
To learn more about how to handle medical records and protect your personal information, contact Sackett & Associates today. Also, subscribe to our blog, follow us on Twitter and like us on Google+ and Facebook.
When it comes to your health, it’s much easier and less expensive to prevent problems from occurring than to fix them once they have happened. Due to this, the number of insurance companies offering free preventative care for subscribers has increased dramatically as more providers are realizing the benefits of addressing issues before they get bigger. There are several options you may be able to choose from for preventative care.
While medical advances have improved the science and technology involved in heart surgeries, the best solution is still to prevent problems from ever occurring. There are multiple screening options available for adults to check heart health, including:
Often, if a problem is discovered, your doctor can order more tests and determine treatment options to prevent additional damage to the heart.
There are also several diseases that can be screened for through free services offered by your health insurance. Many times, the chances of survival are much higher and required intervention much lower if a disease is discovered in the earliest stages, rather than when it has progressed and caused damage. Here are a few of the types of disease screenings offered.
One of the most effective ways to prevent dangerous diseases from taking over is to treat the body with vaccines. There are several that can be offered to adults, including:
In addition to preventing certain diseases, your health insurance company wants to keep you from suffering from mental health issues, like depression, and may offer free screening. Addictions can also be addressed with alcohol and tobacco use screening and counseling services.
By utilizing these benefits offered by most health insurance companies as free preventative care, you can avoid hefty hospital bills and poor health in the future. Taking excellent care of your body and watching for warning signs can greatly increase your chances of overcoming or preventing a multitude of problems now and for years to come. If you have any questions regarding what services are covered by your health insurance, contact Sackett Insurance Services at 707-823-3869.
Are you enrolled in a Covered California health insurance plan? Depending on your income, you may be entitled to a health insurance tax credit under the affordable care act. This credit provides premium assistance that can cover all or some of your monthly premiums. The amount you receive will be based on the current marketplace, your income, your location and the size of your household. Note these tax credits are not applicable for catastrophic or minimum coverage plans.
The Health Insurance Tax Credit and Your Taxes
At the end of the year, the IRS will verify your actual annual income and family size are the same as what you reported. Next, the agency will compare the advance payments you’ve received with what you qualify for. If you qualify for more than you were given, you will see this reflected in your tax amount owed and/or your tax return. Conversely, if you received too much, you’ll have to repay the excess. If you have a change in income during the year, you should report it immediately as the tax credit you qualify for will likely change as well.
Avoid Adding to Your Tax Payments
To make sure you don’t add to your tax payments by receiving too much in advance payments, you must update your information when big changes like getting married, gaining employment, income change or moving locations. Consider these options to avoid negatively impacting your taxes:
If you want to learn more about the affordable health care act and how it affects you and you tax credit, get in contact with us at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services at (707) 823-3689 or follow us on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook!
If your in need a of health insurance plan for 2016, don’t try to wade through all those complicated tax credit documents yourself or start sending out your information for every free quote available. Instead, avoid all that hassle and work with a professional health insurance broker.
These agents offer you these benefits at no cost to you:
1. Access More and Better Options
A broker can guide you through health insurance open enrollment and you might even be able to keep your preferred primary doctor. When you work with a professional, you gain the benefit of his or her knowledge so you don’t have to tackle those complex regulations on your own.
2. Save Your Time and Your Money
An insurance agent will speak with you about your personal needs regarding coverage and budget. With an extensive knowledge of the market’s options, a professional will help you find excellent coverage and savings. Additionally, you don’t have to commit to hours of personal research or waiting for slow government processes. In most cases, you’ll get an accurate and dependable quote in minutes after just one visit.
3. Professional Customer Services
As your family members get older, your health insurance needs may change as you have increased liabilities. For example, the birth of a child will result in the expansion of your policy. When you work with a professional, he or she will get to know your needs and understand how to help you navigate your changing insurance requirements. Moreover, when you have questions, you already know whom you can call.
For more information about health insurance in the Santa Rosa area, get in touch with our professionals at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services at (707) 823-3689! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+
Before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to know that you have chosen right health insurance plan to suit you, your lifestyle, and your budget. While you may be tempted to jump into a plan with the lowest monthly premiums, be sure you know your coverage, and lack there of, before you sign.
Should You Use an Exchange?
An exchange is a health insurance marketplace run by the government. This is designed for those who are not offered any insurance through their job, for those who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, and those who are over 26 and not on their parents’ insurance. Exchanges help you to browse and buy the plan of your choice online.
Types of Plans
The ideal plan for you will depend on your health and medical needs, along with the limit of your budget. Ideally, spend some time determining your needs by checking your doctors’ networks, and comparing plan costs. Don’t forget to factor in bigger expenses for down the road, such as the birth of a baby or braces for your child.
When it comes to finding the most suitable health insurance plan for you, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services, located in Sonoma County, CA. .
The insurance world can be very complicated and confusing, especially if it is your first time buying a health insurance policy. Finding the right insurance agent to work with can help to make the process of finding coverage much easier. Keep these tips in mind to help you find the perfect insurance agent that will fit with your needs.
Since the time your child is born, you are sitting right next to them during their doctors visits. However, as they enter into their teenage years, you will soon find yourself in the waiting room during the examination. Knowing what the doctor can and cannot tell you can help to make the transition a little easier for both parents and teens.
The doctor cannot tell parents about:
Doctors can tell parents about:
When it comes to protecting your child with the right health insurance policy, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County, California.
If you are getting ready to celebrate your 65th birthday, you already have a gift waiting for you – Medicare! You may also already be getting offers for supplemental insurance, known as Medigap coverage. Before you make any decisions on your Medicare and Medigap coverage, make sure that you know the facts.
Medicare was signed into lay in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson to help senior citizens pay for their basic health care needs. The coverage was then expanded to include younger people with disabilities. Prescription drug coverage was then added to the program in 2003 by President George Bush. All citizens who are 65 or older qualify for Medicare. However, you cannot have both Medicare coverage and health insurance through an employer or union.
The original Medicare plans consisted of both Part A and Part B. Part A will generally cover skilled nursing facility care, hospitalization, home health services, hospice, and certain types of nursing home care. Part B will cover doctor visits, services and supplies needed to treat or diagnose a medical condition, and services that are needed to detect an illness at an early age or prevent it.
Part C is offered through private insurers via a PPO or HMO network and is an alternative to the Original Medicare program. It will cover hospital and doctor services. Some of the plans will also provide coverage for prescription drugs. You cannot have both Original Medicare and Plan C coverage at the same time.
Part D plans are private health care plans that are approved by Medicare to help those with Original Medicare pay for their prescription drugs.
For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the coverage you deserve throughout your life, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County, California.
Investing in the right insurance policies is one of the smartest moves you can make with your money, since you will be covered from any disaster. However, choosing the right policies can be much easier said than done. Working with an insurance broker can help to ensure that you find the perfect policies that will meet your specific needs.
While it may seem like bringing another person into the insurance buying equation will lead to much higher costs, the opposite is true. In fact, when you decide to work with the insurance brokers at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services, all of their services are free. Insurance brokers do not work with just one insurance company, they work with many affiliates, which means that you will be able to see the best insurance options for your needs.
There are also many other benefits of working with an insurance broker, including:
More than half of all Americans take at least one prescription medication a day, with 1 in 5 Americans taking three or more each day. As people get older, the number of medications that they take each day continues to rise. While it may seem like all the medications that you are prescribed are working to keep you healthy, they can also cause serious medical problems. Finding ways to cut down on the number of pills you have to take each day can help to add to your overall wellbeing.
If you are thinking about lowering your medication intake, make sure that you talk to your doctor first. They will be able to let you know the risks and benefits that are associated with limiting your medications. After talking with your doctor, keep these steps in mind.
Contact Sackett & Associates in Sonoma County, California for all of your health care needs to ensure that you have access to the medical care that you deserve.
While your health insurance policy can help to save you thousands of dollars on your medical bills, it may not cover all medical devices that you need. While you should not dismiss the idea of getting ahold of these medical devices, you should make sure that you know how to get them at a reasonable price.
Millions of Americans have trouble hearing, and many of them could benefit from a hearing aid. However, only three states require health insurance providers to cover the cost of hearing aids for children and adults. While insurance will cover the cost of a hearing test, doctors can charge a 100 percent markup for hearing aids, which can put them way out of many peoples budgets. Luckily, many startups are finding new ways to make hearing aids, as well as other medical devices much more affordable.
Online startups are discovering ways to provide more affordable hearing aids, prosthetics, walkers, and many other necessary medical devices. While going straight to your doctor for any medical devices may be much more convenient, it is not the cheapest or only option out there.
Companies are taking advantage of new 3D printing technology to help produce prosthetics, hearing aids, and dental devices that are much more affordable than the same products that are available through more traditional channels. As an added bonus, these companies allow for much more customization to ensure that each patient gets exactly what they need.
Before you assume that the medical device that you need is not covered by your health insurance, make sure to ask. Check with your insurance company to see what types of devices are specifically excluded.
When looking for the right health insurance policy that will meet all of your specific needs, contact the insurance professionals at Sackett & Associates Insurance in Sonoma County, California.
Alternative medicine is used by one third of adults in the United States, who mostly pay for the care out of their own pockets. Different forms of alternative medicine, from acupuncture to supplements can be used for preventive care and treatment of acute and chronic conditions. While there is no one reason that people look at alternative medicine for their treatments, the reason is sure not to save money.
In 2007 alone, Americans spent over $33 billion out of pocket for alternative and complementary medicine. That price tag includes visits to massage therapists and chiropractors, as well as various products such as supplements. Even though alternative medicine only accounts for 1.5 percent of the total health care spending across the country, it makes up more than 11 percent of the total out of pocket costs.
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are not allowed to discriminate against licensed health care providers who provide alternative medicine, but they are not required to provide coverage. This means that insurers can put a limit on the amount of coverage that they provide for products and care that they do not consider medically necessary or think is experimental.
If you are looking into alternative medicine, but are not sure if your health insurance provider will provide coverage, there are some steps that you can take. The first step is to contact your provider and ask if you have coverage for the treatment and if there are any copays that will be required. You should also talk with local alternative medicine providers to discuss your insurance plan to see if they will accept it, and find out about any additional costs that you may have to pay.
For all of your health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of protection for any care that you require, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County, California.
Use This Guide To Maximize Your Savings
Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, you are now required to invest in a health insurance policy. While investing in the right health insurance plan is the best way to ensure that you are covered in case of any illness or injury, it can also take away a large chunk of your income. To help keep the cost of your health insurance low, keep these tips to save money on health insurance in mind.
Covered California Offers Special Enrollment Period
If you have not heard, there is a penalty fee for not carrying health insurance coverage. If you did not know, the open enrollment period—during which time you could sign up for coverage—ended on February 20th (extended from February 15th). If all of this is news to you, do not be alarmed. Covered California is offering a grace period.
Fortunately, you can now take advantage of a special enrollment period during which you can get covered to avoid penalty fees. Covered California’s executive director Peter Lee said that this special enrollment period would run until April 30th. This period has been offered to protect the 600,000 Californians who could face tax penalties since they have not obtained coverage.
When you sign up for your policy, simply indicate on your application that you were not aware of the tax penalties that you would face if you went without coverage.
So you will no longer be in the dark, the 2014 tax penalties for not carrying coverage were $95 or 1 percent of your household income, whichever was greater. For 2015, those penalties will be higher, coming in at $325 or 2 percent of your household income (whichever is more). Do not leave yourself exposed to this significant expense by going without coverage; sign up for the policy you need to protect your health and your wallet today!
If you do not yet have the health insurance you need to avoid the tax penalty fees, act today to take advantage of this unique extension. Do not wait until the last days of the special enrollment period to get covered; contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services today. We serve Sonoma County and are here to help you get the policy you need to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s regulation.
Tax credits are meant to help keep the cost of Covered California health insurance plans low for individuals and families who meet certain income requirements. In order to qualify for tax credits, individuals cannot have affordable health care choices from their employer or government.
There are two main types of tax credits that are available, including:
If you are able to take advantage of any tax credits to help make your health insurance more affordable, you must file taxes. When you file your taxes, the IRS will check to make sure that you properly reported your income to Covered California. The IRS will also check to ensure that your family size has not changed. They will then compare the premium tax credits that you received during the taxable year with the premium assistance that you can qualify for based on your family size and actual household income that you report on your tax return in a process known as reconciliation.
If your actual income was lower or if the size of your household increased, it is possible to qualify for more premium assistance than you actually received. If this applies to you, you may be able to get money back on your taxes. On the other side, if your income increased or your household decreased, you can qualify for less assistance than you originally received.
Contact Sackett & Associates for all your Sonoma County health insurance needs and to ensure that you have the right amount of coverage, all at the right price.
How To Get The Coverage You Need After February 15th
If you wake up on February 15th with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach it may be because you forgot to get your sweetheart something for Valentine’s Day, or because it is the last day of the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period. Do not wait until this deadline to get the health coverage you need or you could be stuck without coverage and facing tax penalty fees in the New Year.
If, however, life gets in the way and you are unable to get ACA-compliant health care coverage by that date, there are a few things you can do to try to remedy the situation. They are:
Whether you remember to secure insurance before February 15th or you miss the deadline, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County, California. Our team of Affordable Care Act experts can help you get the coverage you need to be protected in 2015. Do not hesitate to call us today!
A Step-By-Step Guide To Getting The Right Plan For You
If you enrolled in a plan during the last open enrollment period but have found it will no longer meet your needs for the coming year, you have the opportunity to switch plans during the current open enrollment period that ends February 15th. Until the 15th, you can shop the marketplace to find the healthcare plan that best meets your needs. Here is a simple guide to making the switch.
Title: The Benefits Of A Broker
How A Health Insurance Broker Can Serve You
If you have spent hours reading the Affordable Care Act website trying to understand what exactly is required of you and are still confused, you might find yourself wishing you could have just one person sit you down and explain it in clear, concise language. Fortunately for you, you can. A health insurance broker is just the person to come alongside you to help you understand and meet your health insurance needs. Here are a few ways a broker can serve you:
For all of your individual insurance and group insurance needs, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County, California. Our team of Affordable Care Act experts is here to navigate the new world of health care on your behalf to ensure you get the coverage you deserve in 2015. Do not hesitate to call us today!
The open enrollment period is here! Starting on November 15th, 2014 and ending on February 15th, 2015, you must obtain health insurance if you want to avoid being charged penalty fees. A large majority of Americans missed the first open enrollment period, hence the reason why no penalties were enforced during the first enrollment period. However, now that everyone has had sufficient time to prepare and understand Obamacare and their responsibility, penalties will be enforced. These penalties can easily exceed thousands of dollars annually, depending on the size of your household, which stresses the importance of being prepared. Penalties are calculated based on annual fixed rates per person in your household or by calculating a percentage of your annual household income. Therefore, obtaining the necessary health insurance can cost significantly less than facing annual penalties.
Rather than viewing the requirement to obtain health insurance as a forced burden, it is important that you take on the mindset of universal health care for all. Now, every American will be able to receive the preventative care their bodies require to thrive.
In order to prepare for the upcoming open enrollment period, it is important that you seek the guidance of a Certified Covered California Agent, such as the ones at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services. We can ensure that you comply with the regulations surrounding the Affordable Care Act so that you can avoid all penalties.
Contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County for all of your California individual health insurance needs. We will assist you in navigating the second Obamacare open enrollment period until you are confident in your coverage and receive your confirmation letter. We understand this can be a daunting task, which is why we are available around the clock to assist!
The second Obamacare open enrollment period is almost here, and if you are one of the many individuals who missed out on the first open enrollment period because you were unprepared or confused, now is the time to prepare! This time around, there will be no leeway for those who fail to enroll in time.
With website malfunctions and initial confusion during the first Obamacare open enrollment period, Obamacare officiates gave individuals who failed to enroll a break. However, if you fail to enroll during the second Obamacare open enrollment period, which begins on November 15th, 2014 and ends on February 15th, 2015, you will be faced with new penalties.
There are two ways in calculating how much an individual is required to pay for their monthly penalty. Once these two methods are calculated, you will be required to pay the higher amount. The first way is by calculating 2% of your household annual income. The second calculation method is $325 per person annually. Children are only $162.50 annually until they turn 18 years old. However, these numbers will continue to grow. In 2016, if you do not obtain health insurance, you will be required to pay either 2.5% of your annual household income or $695 per person annually.
To avoid being charged annual penalties, simply enroll for health insurance during the second Obamacare enrollment period!
Contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services in Sonoma County for all of your California individual health insurance needs. Regulations surrounding Covered California can be confusing, which is why we are available around the clock to ensure that you obtain health coverage that meets all Affordable Care Act regulations. The last thing we want is for you to be faced with penalties for not complying with all new rules and requirements. Allow the Certified Covered California agents at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services to assist!
The new SB 1446 law has changed the way that businesses can offer health insurance to their employees. Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the new law is known as the “Grandmothering” bill, and it immediately took effect the date it was signed.
SB 1446 now allows small business employers already offering a health care plan to their employees that met certain restrictions and requirements to not be forced to renew their policy until January 1, 2015. In order to qualify for the Grandmothering bill, the business’s health care plan must have been in effect when the new bill was signed into law on July 7, 2014, and be a policy that does not qualify as a grandfathered health care plan according to the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. If the policy qualified, then it would be allowed to stay active until December 31, 2015.
The Grandmothering bill also has provisions that state that these specific policies have to be amended in order to comply with the ACA guidelines as of January 1, 2016 in order for them to “remain in force on and after that date.”
This new bill will help small business employers in California who chose to renew their plans early in 2013. The bill does not mean that small businesses do not have to make any changes to their policy. In order to still be in compliance with the ACA guidelines, they must offer state-based mandated benefits, including no lifetime caps on benefits, coverage for autism, and maternity care.
Make sure to keep in mind that this bill is not a strict mandate, and gives small businesses the option to change their policy if they choose to.
For all of your health insurance needs throughout Sonoma County and surrounding areas, contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services. We can provide you with the most comprehensive coverage to ensure that you and your family have the right coverage for any unfortunate situation.
If you are still confused about all the regulations and requirements surrounding the health care reform, don’t fret! We have gathered all the important information you need to know regarding the enrollment periods for health care.
In order to obtain health insurance, you must enroll during the specified open enrollment period. If you miss the enrollment period, you must wait until the following period. The only way to enroll outside of the defined open enrollment period is if you experience one of the qualifying life events that make you eligible to register during the special enrollment period. The qualifying life events include:
After a recent analysis of Covered California, efforts will be changed to focus more on two important issues during the next enrollment period, which starts on November 15th:
The use of the California State University system worked well, and decreased the number of uninsured students from 25% to 10%.
For any further questions about health insurance, please contact the insurance agents at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services, located in Sonoma County!
If you are a small business employer, and you meet the 3 following criteria, you are eligible for a tax credit!
If you are eligible to claim this credit, but forgot to enter it on your tax return, don’t worry! You have time to file an up-to-date form as long as it is done within 2 years. To claim your credit, fill out Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. For any help with insurance for your small business, please contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services. Located in Sonoma County, our experienced insurance employees can’t wait to assist you, today!
Are you a small business owner who employs less than 50 full-time employees? If so, the SHOP marketplace is available to you! If you employ less than 25 full-time employees, you may even be eligible for tax credits! Here’s all you need to know about the SHOP marketplace, and how it can benefit your business: