Healthcare Medical Feed

Are you one of the around 10 million taxpayers who got an extension to file? I was. Are you one of this group who's yet to file a tax return? I am. What are we waiting for? We paid any tax we owed, or a close guesstimation of our tax bill, when we filed for the extra six months back in April. So we're not that worried about a big tax bill. And we fully intended to get to the tax task sooner rather than later. But we woke up today, took a look at the calendar (or our smartphone)... Read more →


The Republicans still want to repeal Obamacare, or as it's officially known the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They say so every chance they get, be it on Capitol Hill, the campaign trail or in the Party's 2016 official platform. The Democrats want to extend and, according to that Party's platform, move the 44th president's namesake legislation toward even broader universal health care. President Barack Obama meets with doctors at the White House. (Photo by White House photographer Pete Souza) But until either of those comes to pass, we've got to work with what we've got. And that means coverage requirements... Read more →


I've reached a milestone age where doctors seem to think a person suddenly needs every test medical science has so far devised. Routine blood tests were the least of my worries after my last doctor visit. I am pushing back on some of my physician's suggestions for several reasons. They range from "I feel fine" and "I have no family history of that particular ailment/disease/condition" to "Ewwwww!" to "I don't have time" and "Wow, that costs an awful lot." As for the expense argument, even though I have medical insurance, it has a deductible. A sizeable one. My medical approach... Read more →


Watch out, West Coast. Michael Bloomberg has you in his anti-sugar sights. Classic and Cherry Cokes in our pantry. Photo by Kay Bell. The former New York City mayor was a major financial backer of Philadelphia's beverage tax, providing around $1.6 million in support of the measure. The Philly city council handily approved the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-added and artificially sweetened soft drinks on June 16 As I noted in my Bankrate Taxes Blog post on the day of the vote, the tax campaign was notable for the admission by Philadelphia lawmakers that revenue, not public health, was the prime... Read more →


One way to survive working on your tax return with a deadline looming -- April 18 this year -- is to make sure you don't make any easily avoidable filing mistakes. Similarly, you don't want to overlook any tax breaks. I guess that technically omitting a tax claim could be considered a mistake, but for the sake of keeping things clear -- and for providing an added blog post topic! -- I've separated them. Searching for tax breaks? Below are 18. (James Corden GIF via CBS.com/Corden) And to save you time in your search for ways to cut your tax... Read more →


Tax Day 2016 is a week away. That's seven days to take care of your annual tax duty. It also means you have seven days to complete some other tax-related tasks that have an April 18 deadline, too. Here are eight tax tasks to take care of in this final filing week. The Beatles' most famous tax-related song is Tax Man, but for this post, Eight Days a Week works, too. Click image to watch the YouTube video of the more-than-a-week-long song. 1. File your 2015 tax year federal tax return. If you miss this deadline by more than 60... Read more →


NOTE: This post was updated Jan. 26, 2017. Obamacare, the popular name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was supposed to be a key factor in the 2016 presidential election. It still might be one came up in the general election once Democrats and Republicans have settled on their respective candidates. Now the Republican-controlled Congress and GOP President Donald Trump are working on repealing and replacing the prior president's signature health care law. So far, though, For the most part during last year's run for the White House, health care has received only cursory mention and, surprisingly, that's been was... Read more →


The hubby and I get our medical insurance through his employer. Today we and several of his coworkers got our Form 1095-C in connection with our health care coverage. This is one of two new documents that employers are sending out to their workers in connection with the Affordable Care Act, or as many of us call it (fondly and otherwise), Obamacare. When one of the hubby's colleagues raised questions about the form, I suggested he send out a company-wide email blast with a link to my story on ACA forms. He declined. We now have a dinnertime discussion topic.... Read more →


One of my favorite faux inspirational sayings suggests a way to deal with stress, which is a major issue for many folks at tax time. "When life is stressful, do something to lift your spirits. Go for a drive. Go two or three thousand miles away. Maybe change your name." It actually works, the taking a short drive, I mean. Thankfully, neither my taxes nor the rest of my life has gotten so overwhelming (yet!) that I've been tempted to follow the rest of the tongue-in-cheek advice. And in addition to the mental and emotional relief, some of the driving... Read more →


If you're feeling the Bern, you count Bernie Sanders's effective tie with Hillary Clinton in last night's Iowa caucuses as a win. However, Sanders is a loser on Capitol Hill when it comes to his tax plan. The party's leadership in Washington, D.C., has made it clear that it won't run on any platform that supports raising taxes on middle-class voters. Wealthy are the traditional tax target: Democrats have long argued for higher taxes, but the target has always been the wealthy. In recent years, that has been the $250,000 earnings mark for families. Higher taxes for the rich was... Read more →


Welcome to the last week of 2015. The end of the calendar year is important not just for your New Year's Eve party planning purposes, but also because when it comes to most tax moves, Dec. 31 is a critical and firm deadline. So with the soon-to-be-old year rapidly winding down, here are 10 tax moves to make by Dec. 31. 1. Take your retirement account distribution. Most owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts who are age 70½ or older must take a specific amount out of their nest eggs by the end of the year or face stiff penalties. This... Read more →


When we think about tax-related inflation adjustments, we typically expect amounts to bump up, at least a little. But, as the Federal Reserve made clear yesterday when it finally hiked interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, inflation has not been a big deal for a while. So it's not such a big surprise that the Internal Revenue Service's annual inflation adjustments for the rates used to figure tax deductible driving looked like some earlier Fed moves: they will drop in 2016. A young driver knows what it takes to keep his vehicle on the road. The... Read more →


Sin taxes are supposed to encourage help force people to break what are generally perceived as bad habits. One of the most common sin taxes is an added levy on cigarettes. It has long been argued, and shown in some studies, that the tax is effective in keeping young people from starting to smoke. They tend to have lower incomes, so a hefty tobacco tax makes the habit too expensive for them, especially when they consider other ways they could use the money that otherwise would turn to ash. Now it looks like cigarette taxes also can improve the health... Read more →


Hey, smokers. How's it going for you on Great American Smokeout day? This annual American Cancer Society event occurs the third Thursday of November. It was created as a way to encourage smokers to kick the habit for good. It's a good idea, but I'm not sure it really works. I think folks need a more personal reason to permanently snuff out their smokes. I gave up the nasty habit as a birthday gift to the hubby. A friend quit smoking after his doctor warned him he probably wouldn't be around to see his grandkids if he kept inhaling. And... Read more →


Fall has arrived. That means in addition to leaves changing colors, some folks will be changing their workplace benefits. Yep, the open season for employer-provided options is or about to be underway in offices across the country. One of the most popular benefits is the tax-favored flexible spending account, usually referred to as an FSA. As the latest Weekly Tax Tip details, these worker accounts offer tax-saving ways to cover some child care or health care costs. The key to both accounts is knowing your, and your family's, needs and then managing the accounts carefully. Putting away pre-tax dollars: Both... Read more →


When avowed Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and a whole passel of Republicans in both chambers don't like you, you know you are in trouble. Yes, Cadillac tax, I'm talking about you. 1959 Caddy tailfins photo courtesy Rennett Stowe/Flickr This Affordable Care Act provision was created to raise money to pay for other, expanded health care coverage. Supporters of the tax, which are dwindling, say that it should raise around $87 billion over 10 years. Expensive plans, high tax: So just how will Uncle Sam get that much new money? Beginning in 2018, companies will have to pay a 40 percent... Read more →


We got a $147.26 check today from a neighborhood medical clinic. It was a refund for treatment the hubby got when he had a kidney stone. I'm always happy to cash any check. But this one is a perfect example of what's wrong with the medical industry. The hubby's ailment was back in December 2013. Yep. It took more than 20 months for the bill to be completely settled. When we got the check and statement detailing the payment and refund process, my initial expectation was that it was the insurance company's fault. It wasn't. Here our billing timeline. Dec.... Read more →


The House Ways and Means Committee plans to mark up seven bills this morning (Thursday, Sept. 17), most of which usually are considered as part of a comprehensive tax extenders package. More than 50 temporary tax laws expired at the end of 2014. Congress is slowly working on getting them back in the tax code for at least a couple more years. Passage of the extenders, so named because they are temporary tax laws that must be renewed (aka extended) periodically by Congress, have become an end-of-the-year pain in the a… a legislative ritual. Such a delay, however, means that... Read more →


Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) plans to introduce legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act's Cadillac tax when Congress reconvenes after Labor Day, according to National Journal. It's not your grandfather's Cadillac that we're talking about in connection with Obamacare, although having this 1959 finned baby in my garage would definitely make me feel much better. The Affordable Care Act's Cadillac tax is a levy that will affect expensive employer provided medical coverage starting in 2018, unless it's repealed. (Image courtesy Travel and Trade South Africa) The 40 percent tax on high-cost health care coverage (hence the Cadillac nickname) over a... Read more →


Could the U.S. Supreme Court hear yet another Affordable Care Act, or ACA, case? If opponents of Obamacare, as the law is popularly known, have their way, yes. Last Friday, Aug. 7, the judges on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear a suit challenging the legislative process by which the ACA became law. Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, filed by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Iowa artist Matt Sissel, argued that because the ACA is expected to generate $473 billion in its first 10 years as law, it is a... Read more →