Healthcare Medical Feed

My H-E-B helps me keep track of store purchases that might be eligible for FSA reimbursement. (Crumpled receipt photo by Kay Bell) After today's weekly grocery buying trip, I'm pulling out my stash of COVID-19 pandemic masks. Yes, I bought a lot. A whole lot! As before, the facial protection is to shield me from the sneezes and coughs of many of my uncovered fellow H-E-B shoppers. This time, though, I'm hoping the upper respiratory cacophony is due to the changing weather, dust stirred up by the firing up of furnaces, and, here in Central Texas, cedar fever. But you... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service IRS is expected to process more than 160 million individual and business tax returns this filing season. Through March 15, the IRS had received nearly 71.6 million individual returns. Some taxpayers probably put off filing in the hopes that the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act would be enacted by Tax Day. Several of its provisions could help both personal and business filers. Whether that will happen is still unclear, as the tax bill that cleared the House has hit a lot of speed bumps in the Senate. Other taxpayers, however, aren't that concerned... Read more →


Herbal supplements might make you feel better, but such products typically don't qualify as medical treatments that are eligible for tax-favored treatment. (Photo by Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash) Health savings accounts, or HSAs, can offer some taxpayers triple tax savings. Holders of HSAs also have a longer window to contribute to these tax-advantaged plans. As noted in my March tax moves post, you can contribute to your HSA by Tax Day (that's April 15 this year), and have it count as money put into the account for the prior tax year. In addition to being a... Read more →


March's arrival means it's time to start stalking some tax savings. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) While the saying that March comes in like and goes out like a lamb usually is a reference to this month's weather transition from winter to spring (or, here in Central Texas, to summer already), feline aggressiveness could come in handy at tax filing time. There are plenty of tax moves you can make during this final full month before Tax Day, which is this year is the normal April 15 due date. Here are five tax matters to consider in... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction. Those who opt to itemize do so because they have enough tax deductible expenses to exceed their filing status' standard amount. In most cases, those expenses are medical. Generally, you can claim allowable medical costs for yourself, your spouse, and dependents as long as the treatments were prescribed by a physician as necessary to diagnose, ease, or prevent a physical or mental illness. The amount of these medical costs that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income count on your Schedule A, the form where you detail... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Ave Calvar You checked out my post on who has to file a tax return (thank you!) and confirmed that you're one of the lucky few who doesn't have to file a Form 1040 this year. But maybe you should. Even if you aren't legally required there are some good reasons to send the Internal Revenue Service a tax return anyway. Here are eight such should-file situations. 1. You are due a refund. Most U.S. workers have income tax amounts taken from their paychecks. Other sources of income also sometimes take some tax amounts off the... Read more →


More than 21 million people selected a medical insurance policy using the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace during the 2024 open enrollment period that ended in mid-January. The numbers should increase, as open enrollment continues in California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C., through Jan. 31. So far, this year's medical coverage enrollees include more than five million people, about a fourth of the 21.3 million total, who are new to ACA. Another 16 million people renewed their coverage to the plans, also still referred to by many as Obamacare. While the sheer numbers indicate a diverse... Read more →


You're ready to file your tax return, but there's one problem. You don't have all the statements you need to complete your Form 1040 and associated schedules. Many of us, however, are just going to have to be patient for a couple more weeks. While some issuers have sent taxpayers the required statements, many don't get them out until close to, in most cases, the mandated Jan. 31 delivery date. The documents typically are snail mailed, but technology is gaining ground. Issuers of most of my annual tax statements now let me know by email the documents are ready. Then... Read more →


This pup looks like he's asking it it's time to open gifts. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Next Monday morning, Dec. 25, many families will welcome a new member. I'm talking, of course, about a pet. A puppy, kitten, or other pet of any type of age can be a wonderful addition to a home. Pros and cons of pets as presents: But many animal groups and veterinarians warn against giving a pet, especially as a surprise, during the holidays. This already is a stressful time for many, and if everyone who will be involved in the... Read more →


Photo by Xingchen Yan on Unsplash If your work involves driving, the Internal Revenue Service has some good news for your 2024 business trips. Today, the tax agency announced that on Jan. 1, 2024, the standard optional mileage rate you can use to claim those eligible miles will go to 67 cents per mile. That's a 1.5 cent increase over the 2023 mileage rate. However, the other two mileage rates that the IRS evaluates and adjusts each year are going down. Travel for medical and, in the case of qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, moving purposes will be... Read more →


The only thing worse than being sick is not having health insurance that will cover your medical costs to get well. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The current frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination surprised his party and most of the country last month when he declared he would again try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if he gets back into the White House . Even if Donald J. Trump's swipe at Obamacare, as the health care program still is known, is more than just campaign rhetoric, the reality of repeal is difficult.... Read more →


No need to wrap cash holiday gifts. Here are three that also have some tax benefits. (Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash) Still shopping for the perfect gift? Lots of folks who get stuck turn to cash. As the old saying (OK, cliché) goes, any amount is the perfect size and green looks good on everyone. Many people, though, find giving cash too crass. There are, however, ways around this that are a bit more subtle, and which can financially help others in a tax-favored way. Here are three. 1. Open a Roth IRA for a young worker.... Read more →


You have a lot to do, and which you'd rather be doing, this month. But also take some time to check out a few December tax moves. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Me neither. Although I love the holidays and Christmas decorating, my time and patience get shorter this time of year as my seasonal to-do list gets longer. So I understand if you are rolling your eyes right now as I suggest adding some tax moves... Read more →


Are you enjoying Thanksgiving? I hope so. And if your Turkey Day celebration extends, like it does for most of us, into Friday and the weekend, Happy Beyond Thanksgiving! But when you're ready (or forced) to get back to your regular routine, you might want to make time to consider the items in the box below: five tax turkeys and how to avoid them. A few relatively easy tax moves in these areas could help make your tax life easier. 2023's Tax Turkeys 🦃 🍗 🦃 to Avoid Not adjusting your incorrect withholding Not collecting your employer's maximum 401(k) match... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images If you've been to a doctor recently, refilled a subscription, had to go to an emergency room, or just bought over-the-counter medications, you know that all these treatments cost a lot more than in previous years. It's enough to make you sick, or at least nudge up your blood pressure a bit. However, the tax code might have an Rx that can help. There are a variety of medical tax breaks that can help lower your federal tax bill. Several of them are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Here, in Part 5... Read more →


Confused about your workplace benefits options during open enrollment? Your answers to the following questions could help. (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash) Millions of U.S. workers are now deciding what workplace benefits they want in 2024. Many during this annual open enrollment period simply re-up the options they chose last year. I get it. It's easy. But you could be costing yourself, both in out-of-pocket cost and tax savings. So, before you make a final decision, ask yourself the following questions. 1. Will your company help your repay your student loan? College costs and the debt that... Read more →


Congress has received a lot attention of late for action on the full House floor. Over the weekend, U.S. Representatives narrowly averted a federal government shutdown, agreeing to a measure to fund all of Uncle Sam's offices through Nov. 17. Today, Republican House members ousted their leader, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for the first time ever. But while those large-scale, and related, moves were brewing and ultimately unfolding, some members were actually doing their policy making jobs. Members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee were among those working under the radar. They passed, with votes from lawmakers representing both... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images When we watch streaming shows, the hubby and I get a kick out of the warnings that pop up before the programs start. The one that shows how things have changed the most is the alert that we will see people smoking. We both grew up in homes where both our parents smoked. So did their friends. And I smoked way to many cigarettes for almost a decade, before quitting as my wedding gift to the never inhaled any product hubby. While my smoking days ended because of love, money is a reason that... Read more →


Swimming pool steps photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Jordan González We have new neighbors, and it's obvious why they bought the house. Family members and their friends have been in the swimming pool every day since they moved in. Good for them. I hope they enjoy the pool. I also hope they budgeted for the upkeep. Judging from the assortment of pool companies that also have been over there almost every day, the maintenance to keep it swimmable could be significant. The perpetual pool question: The added costs of being able to step out your back door and take... Read more →


Photo via Unsplash+ License The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) wrapped its latest term on Friday with a couple of education-related rulings — affirmative action in college admissions and student loan forgiveness; the high court said nope to both — that will be dissected for a while. But we're still talking about a year-old decision by the justices. On June 24, 2022, SCOTUS overturned 1973's Roe v. Wade, sending abortion decisions back to the 50 states. That's effectively limited the availability of the medical procedure in more than half of the country. Last year's Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s... Read more →


Inflation has increased the cost of everything, including health care. That's why many people, even before the recent jump in the cost of living, have chosen a high deductible health plan, or HDHP. As the name indicates, HDHPs require enrollees to pay more out-of-pocket costs, aka the high deductible amount, before policy coverage kicks in. However, HDHPs typically have lower monthly premiums than the traditional type of medical insurance. Many individuals, especially those in generally good health, accept the risk of a higher deductible in exchange for the immediate cash-flow benefit of lower premiums. Another part of the HDHP trade-off... Read more →