|Health care reform-tax credits for small biz|
Small businesses (i.e., businesses with fewer than 25 employees and average wages of less than $50,000) get a tax credit for their contributions towards buying health insurance for their employees. In 2010, the credit will start at 35 percent and increases to 50 percent in 2014. A full tax credit may be available to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and average wages of less than $25,000.
Have questions about how health care reform affects your business? Contact Andrea Levine
|What to look for when signing a lease |
Often, the lease agreements you sign expose you to more liablity than what your standard insurance policy covers. A landlord can--and often does--require that you sign an agreement that makes you liable for issues that your business insurance excludes.
Here's an example that we've seen recently: a "dumpster agreement." Most standard leasing agreements place full responsibility for the contents of the building's dumpster on the leasee.
Say a lawn company drives through your alley and dumps hazardous chemicals into your trash. Even though you had no control over what they threw into your dumpster, you will be held liable for the hazardous clean-up. And don't count on your insurance to cover it. Most standard policies totally exclude "all forms of pollutants." You are personally liable.
Things to look for and be wary of before signing a lease:
- Contract provisions that require you to indemnify another party for their negligence (i.e., bearing the expense for your landlord's mistake). In fact, it's CRITICAL that you understand ALL items under the "indemnification" clause.
- Broad wording that requires you to be responsible for items which are not in your control.
- "Hidden" obligations that exist under different headings. Not every insurance requirement is spelled out under the insurance heading.
- Clarification of unfamiliar terms/clauses.
- Understand the insurance requirements, including who needs to see evidence of insurance and how those parties need to be notified.
It's a good idea to have an attorney review your lease agreements. Although it can be initially expensive, think of the money you'll save not indemnifying another party for a risk you didn't know you assumed... or for expensive litigation.
Questions about covering your practice? Contact Kristin Stepien
|Colorado launches new health reform site|
The state of Colorado recently launched a dedicated portal for information and communication on the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its implementation in Colorado.
The site will be updated with the most pertinent and important information on health reform and its effects on Colorado. The site contains information on the immediate benefits of the legislation, projected impacts on coverage and affordability in Colorado, long term initiatives and system changes, and many other aspects of these policy reforms.
This site will also house information on the work underway in state government to successfully implement the many provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the proceedings of the Interagency Health Reform Implementing Board and some of the most immediate initiatives such as the Temporary High Risk Pool and other upcoming grant opportunities.
|CLASS Act- all around? Health reform's take on long-term care|
Many of you may not know this, but the recently passed health reform bill includes an insurance program for long-term care.
Dubbed the CLASS Act, the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act created a voluntary government program for long-term care.
Although we're still not 100 percent sure how the program will work, there are terms that are set in statute. Those who enroll will:
- Through payroll deductions, pay a monthly premium. Self-employed people will also be able to join the program through a government payment mechanism.
- Not be denied coverage and will be eligible for benefits after the five year waiting period (participants must have been working for three of those five years).
- Receive a lifetime cash benefit after meeting the eligibility criteria. They expect this to be an average of $50-75/day and is payable for as long as the participant is disabled.
- Be offered this coverage through their employers and will be automatically covered unless they opt out.
The details are still being ironed out in Washington. According to COPIC's long-term care specialist Carolyn Samuelson, this is likely not the right answer for all individuals.
"The CLASS Act provides very modest benefits, in addition to a five-year waiting period, and seems to be primarily for those individuals who are uninsurable or can only afford a policy offering limited benefits," said Carolyn.
Questions about the CLASS Act or about how to protect your family and assets from the high costs of long-term care? Contact Carolyn
If you are insured by COPIC for your professional liability insurance, you may already have base-plan long-term care coverage! Learn more.
|2014: Everyone has health insurance... or pays a penalty!|
Starting in 2014, everyone must have health insurance coverage or be penalized by the Internal Revenue Service. These penalties will be phased in and include:
In 2014, individuals without insurance must pay whichever amount is greater: $95 or 1 percent of their annual income.
For 2016 and beyond, the penalty rises to $695 or 2.5 percent of income (whichever is greater).
For kids who are not insured, a family will pay half of the penalty (capped at $2,085 per family).
Some exemptions to this requirement will apply in certain cases of financial hardship and other limited circumstances.
The changes that employers will see are numerous. Contact Andrea Levine
at 720-858-6287 for help navigating the maze!
Even if you're not currently in the market for insurance products, we're always available to help make sure you're getting the best coverages at the best prices. Call us at 720-858-6280!
VP, COPIC Financial Service Group
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