This is a discussion that I have been wanting to have because frankly I am personally pretty excited about a change here in US law.
Although I know that some will be capable of making this discussion political I ask that you please don't. Instead I wanted to relate my own experiences with the health insurance topic, Lutherie, getting into the biz, etc. and not be a shill for the affordable care act aka Obamacare.
When I left the stinkin desk job and wanted passionately to someday hang out my shingle and do repair/restoration work the one single issue that I could not overcome and find a solution for was affordable health insurance.
In the states our insurance tends to be connected to our employment and as such doing anything unconventional or as an individual leaves one subject to the wild, wild west of brokered individual health plans. These plans often sucked.... did not cover much of anything, and cost a fortune as well. And you could be cancelled, capped, denied for previous conditions such as being nuts like me.
But no longer and this morning I ventured onto the Health Insurance Exchange and purchased the very best plan offered here in Michigan for less than half it's retail price. I have pre-existing condition(s) as well and every quote that I received in the past was north of $2,200 monthly.... Now I'm enrolled in a "gold" plan that has to cover most everything, can't be cancelled, can't be capped for just under $395 a month!
There is more too. Because I can now solve my own health insurance problem we, our business is in a position to provide meaningful work to others as well. There are five of us in our business.
As such for those who ever fancied going pro, severing the bonds of corporate America, the health insurance issue is no longer impossible to solve.
I'm wondering if others here are seeing this new change in US law AND the availability of quality, affordable health insurance as I see it which is as something that is a pretty good deal for Luthiers?
Replies are closed for this discussion.
LOL!!! Thanks Ernie and you made my day my friend!
My best advice hesh , is to follow the motto of the IDF, don/t get mad , get even. The best revenge in life is living well .Enjoy!
I am sorry to hear about all of your problems with Health coverage in the USA. And I don't agree with what some are saying about health care in Canada. My EXP. hear has been very good I can go see a Dr. anytime I like or to EMR. ROOM .Also get my Medications free after the first $100.00 ayear at no cost to me as well as any operations.But if I travel to the USA it will cost me $5000.00 for Insurance for six months and I will not be to sure if they will pay if I do need it even then.P.S I would like to invite all my fellow Luthiers to come to Canada to enjoy what we have hear only that you would all starve to death working as a luthier like the rest of us. Good health to you all .Bill............
Bill, which city and province are you in.? Doesn/t healthcare vary from province to province and one/s location.Or , is everything now fairly uniform.My bad experience was in van bc circa may 1989.
To be quite honest, I have not read most of the replies on this....I could see which way the wind was blowing, after my first reply.
I really don,t think that I will change anyones minds with my 'drivel'....however, I have read the word 'free' in many of the replies that I read. My brothers, sorry to tell you, but nothing is 'free' ! You, me, and everyone is paying for these 'services' through taxes....whether it be income, sales, property or value-added, etc.
This is important.....there is no free lunch!.....someone....???.... is paying.
And also ....there is no greater 'monopoly' on services rendered than those by government! Think about it. Who is in competition?
I am not 'taking sides' with parties. I believe 'both' sides are to blame and in concert for complete control of our personal well-being.
By my nature, I relate to the conservative side of issues, as I believe in personal control of my personal and family's well-being and not wanting 'other men' to dictate what is 'right' for me and them.
Giving the government control of healthcare allows them to 'dictate' your personal life as well as charge you the sum of what they 'think' you can afford!
I have really 'outgrown' the "nanny state".mentality!
"Teach your children"? ......wasn't that a song!
Perhaps we were taught wrong....with Gov'ment education? eh!
IN Ontairo I don't know any thing about the rest of Canada.BILL...........
Thanks for that Bill and I know Americans who do travel to Canada to receive health care that they cannot afford here.
Another big issue for the right in the US is border security. Although this applies to any border the southern border has always been the biggest concern. It's pretty scary to think that some undocumented.... nanny might sneak across and find some willing American family to abuse them, work them to death, etc.
But more recently border security has had new meaning in that we want to stem the tide of sick Americans traveling north to benefit from Canada's excellent system....;) Makes me wonder how many undocumented Americans might already be in beautiful Canada... If this is the case please excuse us in advance and it's also likely that many of us are hiding our birth certificates from view...
Thanks for your thoughts Bill - much appreciated!
i would like to thank everyone for your very valued participation and pretty good manners too, considering how passionate many are in respect to this issue.
I had a lot of contact with folks directly since I started this thread via email, personal messages on other forums, and even phone calls as well. We even heard directly from Murray today as unpleasant as he can be.... :) What clearly seems to be the case is this:
Working Luthiers in the trade are benefitting and welcome the ACA. Our friends who like to hang with us and share our passion for what we do but have other day jobs are as divided as the US population.
Most Luthiers, not all, don't make a lot of money. An understatement. Some of us do this anyway because we love it and have always had a passion for musical instruments and in my specific case the guitar. For us the ACA directly addresses a very common problem for us being independent business folks and that is truly affordable health care.
It's unfortunate that to some having others benefit, perhaps even have their lives saved, has to be a political issue. I also feel for those who are losing their current plans, substandard as they may be. I'm not a fan of being told what to do either and can completely relate.
When I am interested in something my way is to go off and read all that I can about it. I have actually read the entire 2,200 page ACA and I have to tell you it was the very worst read ever for me. I've also spent hundreds of hours now researching other sources, was one of the first on the web site and have been there multiple times daily since it's inception. I actually believe that I now understand this stuff.
As such for those losing plans it's also required of the companies that you currently have that they provide you with alternatives. Unfortunately for some of you the alternatives will be real insurance, not health saving accounts where someone else holds YOUR money and the policy is only as good as how much you have populated your HSA with. Instead you will be offered plans that actually pay for something if you get sick unlike what the highly partisan publication Consumer's Reports has appropriately dubbed "junk insurance plans."
You also can use the marketplace/exchange like I did and in many cases will get subsidized (again since much of your lives is already subsidized like it or not).
Something else new in the ACA is that insurance companies are now regulated and limited to making no more than 20% on the rest of us. This year millions of Americans received unexpected rebate checks because their insurance company made over 20% and by law is now required to rebate the difference to customers.
Regarding the OTC medications and tax pre-tax income it's true that in the past, through 2010, you could use your HSA to purchase OTC stuff with pre-tax dollars which may reduce your taxable income. But I have to wonder, especially for those who claim to be healthy as a bull, how much OTC stuff (Tylenol, etc.) can be consumed in a tax year... Or, more specifically, I'm not sold on the idea that anything is really being lost here of any consequence. I take a lot of Advil but I doubt that I consume more than $50 of it annually.
Anyway again thanks and I especially appreciate the civility. Many thanks to Frank too for letting this one ride regardless of the potential....
Please take my comments in the manner in which I intend them, that is to say, with the utmost respect for your desire to expound on the ACA. But I couldn't let your conclusions go without responding.
"I'm not sold on the idea that anything is really being lost here of any consequence."
To you, maybe. But the reality is you haven't a clue what the loss means to those who actually experienced it. I'm guessing you have no personal experience with how an HSA worked in the real world before Obamacare.
"Unfortunately for some of you the alternatives will be real insurance, not health saving accounts where someone else holds YOUR money and the policy is only as good as how much you have populated your HSA with".
I don't know how else to express this so I'll just be direct: that statement is utter nonsense and easily debunked. You really have no idea what you are talking about in this regard.
I'm reminded of a saying my father used to repeat. "Often wrong, but never in doubt".
Now, back to reviving a 65 D-18. Cheers!!
Hi Mark and no problem and I also appreciate your comments.
So what do I have wrong about Health Savings Accounts? It's very possible that I do have it wrong and if so help me please get it correct?
My understanding is that a HSA is a savings account (yours but managed by an insurance company) where you populate it with your own cash. This cash is considered by IRS rules as "pre-tax dollars" thusly and possibly depending on the extent to which you set aside money for the HSA the HSA can reverse "bracket creep." More simply put since this stuff is kind of difficult for me to describe anyway, the money you place in your HSA is pre-tax dollars and can reduce the amount of income tax that you pay.
What changed in terms of how HSAs are regulated actually is pretty old news. The old rules remained in place through 2010 and you could write off OTC meds effectively by using your HSA to pay for them. Not really a write off in any sense so that's the wrong term but you could, through 2010 use your pre-tax HSA dollars to buy these things. As such your HSA reduced your taxable income by being pre-tax dollars and the allowable expenses for HSA back then permitted OTC meds.
Starting in 2011 it changed as per the ACA. OTC stuff is no longer included in permitted uses for the pre-tax dollars in an HSA. However.... if you get a doc to write a script for an OTC med I think what I read is that up to 80% of the cost may qualify for HSA use.
It's true that the rules for HSA eligibility narrowed to not include OTC stuff (perhaps without a script) but this change has already been in place for all of 2011, 2012 and this year as well. This is three year old news and not something that is being lost - it's been gone for three years.
I now will have an HSA too and I can use it for my co-pays, co-insurance etc so it will reduce my taxable income too while permitting me to get the benefit of using my own money.... it's by no stretch actually insurance... for some of the allowable and legitimate health care costs.
Seems to me that HSAs can benefit folks looking to reduce their taxable income while still getting some value for their money. If one can live with the idea that this money is "earmarked..." (pardon the use of a Washington term... ;)) for only allowable health care expenses it can be a good deal.
Many of the plans that are being cancelled and replaced with other alternatives that HAVE to be offered to people being cancelled had HSAs and perhaps a high deductible catastrophic plan. This is a two part offering that offers two very different things. The catastrophic plans may be noncompliant these days because they only kick in when things get really dicey and may not pay for much of anything anyway. The HSA attached were and are not insurance as per the description already offered here.
You can still get an HSA, I did, but it does look like for the past three years and going forward OTC stuff is either too big a hassle to use the plan for (because of the need for a verifiable script from a doc) or just no longer eligible.
Here's a good link if anyone wants to read about how an HSA works: How A HSA Works
Here's another good read about the cancellations and although you may have to hold your nose because it's a progressive site the information provided is indeed valid: Real Story...
So Mark where specifically do I have this incorrect?
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