There have been challenges to the Health Insurance Marketplace website. When the time arises, here is the Marketplace Application Checklist that you will need to apply for health care insurance:
Marketplace Application Checklist
- Employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage
- Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household
- A completed Employer Coverage Tool(form can be accessed from the Healthcare.gov website)
Here are a few questions that have surfaced:
What defines a household?
Your household size and income, not your employment status, will determine what health coverage options you’re eligible for and how much help you get paying for coverage.
What is a tax household?
The taxpayer(s) and any individuals who are claimed as dependents on the federal income tax return.
What is the cost of the different premiums?
If you want to look at the range of the premiums, which can be accessed www.healthcare.gov website:
Caution, remember this is a range – actual premium will be based on your household information. For many of us, cost is one of the deciding factors to making a Smart Choice.
You may want to make an appointment with the local Certified Application Counselor. By accessing https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/ you can find the agency/group in your area.
Consumer Knowledge, Goals, Insurance, Smart shopping
Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) is a credit report used by insurance companies, landlords and employers. In compliance with the FACT Act, you can request one FREE report during each 12 month period. Your CLUE report actually includes three different reports:
• Insurance Report — contains information provided via our C.L.U.E. report for auto and property records.
• Employment History Report — contains information relating to your employment history.
• Resident History Report — contains information relating to your tenant history.
Different from your regular credit report, the C.L.U.E. report predicts whether you will file a claim on an insurance policy, affecting your ability to buy insurance; it can also impact your ability to rent an apartment or get a job.
The C.L.U.E. Personal Property report provides a seven year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The data will identify each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid with policy number, claim number and insurance company name.
The C.L.U.E. Auto report looks at seven year history of auto insurance losses and data of each loss.
You can request a FREE copy of your C.L.U.E. report from LexisNexis® toll free at 1-866-312-8076 or by visiting https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com. LexisNexis® Risk Solutions has a company that maintains consumer files that are subject to the free disclosure requirement. This company designed an easy process for consumers to request their free file disclosure.
Note: If you have not filed a claim in the last 7 years, you will likely receive a clear report.
Credit, Goals, Insurance, Saving
Each fall, families need to organize their time and resources. A routine can help everything happen. Here are several tips to help stay energized, organized and on track:
Limit TV time – it is OK but it should be designated. Create a schedule with your children on when and how long they can watch TV daily.
Schedules – With after school activities, homework, and sports, managing schedules can be a stressful task during the school year. Use a calendar, online organizer or reminders on your phone to help you track your family’s busy day.
Storage – Everything should have a home. Kids need a place to put homework, and after school gear. Use a basket per child to store items.
Cleaning – Don’t let the cleaning work pile up; try and disperse chores through the week so you and your children are not overwhelmed.
To Do Lists – This tool helps make sure you don’t forget something.
Sleep – You may not realize it, but getting enough rest and having regular sleep schedule will help you to be more organized each day. Good for both kids and parents.
Communication is a must!
Reward Yourself – When the family is operating like a well-oiled machine – reinforce their good behavior with compliments and occasionally a reward.
Don’t stress out at the start of the school year. If the family supports and loves one another, being organized will happen naturally.
When I work with clients, I use a periodic expense calendar. It is usually their number one most favorite tool for managing money. The amount of money needed to cover those bills and expenses that happen only once or twice a year are listed…property taxes, birthday gifts, vacations. The total of all these expenses are divided by 12 so you know how much each month is needed to be saved so the money is there when the bill comes due. Among those bills I save for is Christmas gifts. Yes, we are 127 days from Christmas! Challenge yourself to celebrate it without the credit card.
When filling out this periodic expense calendar, I always ask, “How much do you plan to spend on gifts?” The answer is usually, “It depends on how much money I have.” That is the wrong answer! Plan how much you intend to spend for each person; total and divide by 4 months (between now and December 1) and that is how much money you will need to set aside in order to have the cash to buy the gifts. AND STICK TO IT. Don’t spend more than you have planned to spend.
Check our earlier post, too, for more info on periodic expenses. And plan now to start the new year out with less financial stress and debt! ~Brenda
Credit, Goals, Saving, Smart shopping, Spending plans
If you (or someone you know) are partly finished with work on your GED® (General Equivalency Diploma) work, then you have a deadline looming!
After December 31 2013, the GED format and tests will be completely redone. Anyone who has already started work toward their high school equivalency diploma should do everything they can to complete their work by that date. Why?
- Beginning January 1, 2014, you will need to completely start over on your GED. All the work you’ve done and all the tests you’ve already passed will basically be erased.
- Having to start over means the money you’ve already spent for workbooks and testing will also be wasted. Starting the GED process over also means starting from scratch in paying for it.
Completing high school equivalency is one of the best investments you can make in your future. Many employers require or prefer applicants to have a high school equivalency diploma. To find information about finishing the GED, go to www.finishtheGED.com. In Iowa, community colleges are the primary providers of high school equivalency education.
It would be a shame for someone who is already part of the way there to be forced to start over at square one! So be sure to share this information with your friends!
Goals, Smart shopping
I’ve been tracking the news to see how the student loan interest rates will change. The rise in interest rates will only impact new loans, so maybe that is why the issue wasn’t addressed prior to July 1st when legislation expired. The hope among many is a retroactive roll back from the current 6.8% to 3.4%.
While I was tracking the news, I discovered a new research report from the University of Kansas associated with the “Gear Up” program. The report centered on using Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs). CSAs are matched savings accounts and are automatically opened at birth. Children are unable to access money saved in CSAs until they reach age 18 or graduate from high school. Children and families contribute savings to the accounts, and matches are added for completion of savings or developmental milestones. CSAs, in this case, target higher education. The report gives early results from making this a key part of an education program for disadvantaged youth.
I’ve had conversations with communities who wanted to set up a similar program on a smaller scale. They encountered the same problems: finding a partner to provide the matches and management issues.
I can think of several reasons the approach makes sense. You have 18 years to stress the next step in gaining valuable workplace skills; teaching the habit of savings; giving a good example of delayed gratification; and children will have ownership of the investment they are making in themselves. Perhaps Kansas can lead the way to resolve the challenges and make this one way states can reduce student debt.
There are two things that are certain in life – death and taxes. Even at a young age, death can happen – due to a car or fishing accident or even a severe health condition. If something happened to you, would your loved ones know where to start?
Think about what someone might need if they were filing claims or applying for benefits of any kind. Put the items in a file, journal or computer file, so it would be easier for your loved ones to handle your business without extra stress.
Items that are needed: Cremation or burial preferences, plans to donate your organs; all insurance policies; veteran information; where your will is located and who has access to the safe deposit box, and any other estate planning information. Make the file easy to find.
Share your information with your “go to” person who will handle your affairs when you pass on. Draft a document of your wishes.
Make it clear which funeral home to contact and which services you want. Know in advance the fees involved. Educate yourself on cremation and burial expenses. Know the basic services cost.
Decision-Making. It is healthy to make plans for who will make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make your own decisions. See an attorney to prepare a Durable Power of Attorney document, designating the person who will make financial and business decisions for you.
Designate who will make your health care decisions if you are unable by preparing a Power of Attorneyfor Health Care document; also consider a living will document if that matches your wishes. The Area Agency on Aging has a brochure that can assist you with the process, also found at http://www.aging.iowa.gov/Documents/Publications/GiftofPeaceofMind.pdf - note that the brochure includes the forms as well. Standard Iowa documents for Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will are available through the Iowa Bar Association at http://iowabar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=171. Most attorneys will discuss these issues with clients when working on a will, as well.
When you see the term resources – what comes to mind? Until you take account of what you have, you often overlook what is available to you.
Financial Resources include:
• Make a list of all your assets, or everything that you own.
• Look at financial assets – bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts and physical assets – home, car, or personal possessions.
• Which financial assets can be easily converted to cash?
Personal Resources include:
• Education, certifications, and designations – What are your talents? Are there opportunities to increase your skill and knowledge levels to make yourself more marketable?
• Time – Your schedule and the schedule of others in your family may create opportunities to help each other. Consider trading responsibilities or bartering skills.
• Talents and skills – Doing repairs, providing music lessons, or gardening can be used to earn money or trade services with others.
What resources does your household have?
• Family, friends, other people in your social network may be tapped to meet needs.
• Be sure to access resources in the workplace, online, and In the community
• Personal possessions that have outlived their usefulness to your family can be sold or exchanged.
• Don’t overlook the ability to use communication, cooperation, commitment and creativity to find solutions to life’s problems.
Goals, Spending plans, Uncategorized
Earlier this year I replaced a dishwasher. That went well, but then three days later, I found I had water on the basement floor. In this case, Murphy’s Law meant there was need of a plumber to repair a leaky pipe. Just when you think everything is under control, something will happen.
Emergency saving is a constant work in progress.
One way to be ready for Murphy’s Law is to have an emergency savings fund. I had a friend that called it the “inevitable fund” – you don’t know exactly how the money will be used when you start saving, but you know it is inevitable that some need will arise.
One easy way to save is to collect your change weekly for the fund.
Another way is to Pay Yourself First – just like the bills you are paying, make an automatic “bill” to pay to a savings account from your checking account. You may want to have the savings account in a different bank – and watch it grow.
Things will happen, and your emergency saving will take a hit, so don’t stop saving! There will be another Murphy’s Law in your future.
Since this is Money Smart Week, there’s no better time to do a personal financial check-up! Extension specialists at Rutgers University (New Jersey) have developed a “Financial Fitness Quiz” to help you do exactly that. www.njaes.rutgers.edu/money/ffquiz/
It’s called a “quiz” but it’s not about how much you know. Instead it is a check-up of your financial status – your habits and the protections you have in place. It takes less than 10 minutes, and gives you a score in when you are finished. I encourage you to check it out!
Assessing where your finances are already strong, and what areas need improvement is the first step to improving your financial well-being!
P.S. At www.njaes.rutgers.edu/money/ Rutgers has posted a few other financial assessment tools, as well, if you want to look deeper into a certain aspect of your finances.
Credit, Goals, Insurance, Retirement, Saving, Spending plans