HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

WHAT HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL MEAN TO THE OVER 50




Starting in 2018, if total premiums for your family are above a certain level a year—including both what you pay each month for insurance and what your employer pays for you—your insurer will have to pay a 40 percent tax on the cost of your plan that is above $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals. Experts say that at least a portion of the tax will be passed on to employees in the plans through lower benefits and higher premiums.

My family makes more than $250,000 a year.

Starting in 2013, you will pay more in Medicare payroll taxes (2.35 percent instead of the current 1.45 percent). That would mean, for example, an extra $225 per year in taxes for a couple earning $275,000.You’ll also pay an additional 3.8 percent tax on income from stocks and other investments. If you have a flexible spending account, you will only be allowed to contribute $2,500 a year tax-free rather than the current $4,000 or $5,000 that is typically sheltered.

I own a small business.

If you employ fewer than 50 people, you are not required to provide health insurance for your workers. But companies with fewer than 25 employees—whose average wage is below $50,000—can get tax credits to help buy insurance. That means the smallest companies with the lowest-wage workers get the most help. If you employ more than 50 workers and do not offer coverage, your company will have to pay fees if some employees receive government subsidies to buy insurance. Starting in 2014, small businesses—or their employees—can purchase competitively priced insurance through the state-run insurance exchanges.

I am self-employed and have private insurance.

Within a year, private insurers cannot cancel your coverage because of illness. Lifetime limits on your coverage are prohibited. Insurers must create standardized websites to help you compare coverage options before you purchase. In 2014, you will be able to purchase insurance through the state-run exchanges, which should make health care more affordable. And insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions or gender. Moreover, they may only charge older Americans three times what they charge younger people. Subsidies are available for moderate-income families to help them purchase private insurance.

I don’t make enough money to afford health insurance.

Depending on how much money you make, in 2012 you may be eligible for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. Anyone with an income below 133 percent of the poverty level—about $14,400 for an individual and $29,327 for a family of four in 2009—can enroll in Medicaid. Also, doctors who treat Medicaid patients will receive higher payments, so more may be willing to treat people in the program. There will be subsidies for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Starting in 2018, if total premiums for your family are above a certain level a year—including both what you pay each month for insurance and what your employer pays for you—your insurer will have to pay a 40 percent tax on the cost of your plan that is above $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals. Experts say that at least a portion of the tax will be passed on to employees in the plans through lower benefits and higher premiums.

My family makes more than $250,000 a year.

Starting in 2013, you will pay more in Medicare payroll taxes (2.35 percent instead of the current 1.45 percent). That would mean, for example, an extra $225 per year in taxes for a couple earning $275,000.You’ll also pay an additional 3.8 percent tax on income from stocks and other investments. If you have a flexible spending account, you will only be allowed to contribute $2,500 a year tax-free rather than the current $4,000 or $5,000 that is typically sheltered.

I own a small business.

If you employ fewer than 50 people, you are not required to provide health insurance for your workers. But companies with fewer than 25 employees—whose average wage is below $50,000—can get tax credits to help buy insurance. That means the smallest companies with the lowest-wage workers get the most help. If you employ more than 50 workers and do not offer coverage, your company will have to pay fees if some employees receive government subsidies to buy insurance. Starting in 2014, small businesses—or their employees—can purchase competitively priced insurance through the state-run insurance exchanges.

I am self-employed and have private insurance.

Within a year, private insurers cannot cancel your coverage because of illness. Lifetime limits on your coverage are prohibited. Insurers must create standardized websites to help you compare coverage options before you purchase. In 2014, you will be able to purchase insurance through the state-run exchanges, which should make health care more affordable. And insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions or gender. Moreover, they may only charge older Americans three times what they charge younger people. Subsidies are available for moderate-income families to help them purchase private insurance.

I don’t make enough money to afford health insurance.

Depending on how much money you make, in 2012 you may be eligible for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. Anyone with an income below 133 percent of the poverty level—about $14,400 for an individual and $29,327 for a family of four in 2009—can enroll in Medicaid. Also, doctors who treat Medicaid patients will receive higher payments, so more may be willing to treat people in the program. There will be subsidies for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

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THERE - YOU READ IT IF IT WAS IMPORTANT TO YOU. ( I highlighted the one that is most important to me.)

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Airline Announcements?

United Flight Attendant announced, 'People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!

************ ********* ********* *******

On landing, the stewardess said, 'Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have. '

************ ********* ********* *******

'There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane'

************ ********* ********* *******
An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a 'Thanks for flying our airline.' He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane.

She said, 'Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?'

'Why, no, Ma'am,' said the pilot. 'What is it?'

The little old lady said, 'Did we land, or were we shot down?'

************ ********* ********* *********

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker:
'Whoa, big fella, WHOA!'

************ ********* ********* ********* ****

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, 'Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because sure as hell everything
has shifted after a landing like that.'

************ ********* ********* *******

Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: 'We ask you to please remain seated
as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.'

************ ********* ********* *******

Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo , Texas on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo ... Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!'

************ ********* ********* *****

'Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.'

************ ********* ********* *****

'As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses..... ...except for that gentleman over there.'

************ ********* ********* ********* ***

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City . The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, 'That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt.'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: 'We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today.
And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube,
we hope you'll think of US Airways..'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

Heard on a Southwest Airline flight - 'Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section
on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em.'

************ ********* ********* ********* *

A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport . After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom; 'Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles . The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax.... OH, MY GOD!' Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!'

A passenger in Coach yelled, 'That's nothing. You should see the back of mine!'

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I suppose you're wondering what the photo had to do with the blog. Nuthin. I just wanted to publish it because Tom Wieseler is a great friend and an amazing musician. Not only does he play guitar but he crochets some mighty purty crescendos on the keyboards. And I like the way his smiling face draws you from the headline about people over 50.

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Sorry. Larry couldn't be here today.


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