In an attempt to make health insurance and health savings accounts more attractive to consumers and businesses, Congress has revised HSA legislation for 2007. The new laws make HSA’s for individuals, families and business more beneficial which may likely increase the popularity of these plans. The intended result might be that more Americans purchase high deductible health insurance/HSA plans over traditional insurance. The affordability of these plans could decrease the number of uninsured consumers across America.
1. Account Holders Can Contribute More Funds
HSA contributions are no longer limited by the deductible of the health insurance policy. Individuals account owners can contribute up to $2,850 while families can deposit up to a maximum of $5,650. Additionally, deposits are no longer limited by the 1/12th systematic contribution rule. Account holders can deposit the maximum allowance in a lump sum no matter when they purchased their insurance plan.
2. Account Holders May Transfer Tax Deferred Funds From an IRA to HSA
Account owners can now make a lump sum distribution from a qualified plan like an IRA, (Individual Retirement Account). This would not be considered a taxable event by the Internal Revenue Service. This way funds will be available immediately for qualified medical expenses.
3. Employer/Employee Account Holders May Fund with Lump Sum Deposit
Employers and Employees may make the same type of one time contributions from a qualified account such as a FSA (Flexible Spending Account), HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement) or an IRA. This will be appealing to employers who are switching over from traditional plans. Again, funds will be available immediately for medical expenses
These are the main benefits of the new legislation. They should make Health Savings Accounts less complicated to purchase and maintain for individuals, families and businesses. Additionally, increased contribution limits and funding options will allow consumers to save more for qualified health expenses.
A.M. Hyers has been working in the insurance and investment industry for nearly ten years. He owns and operates Ohio Insurance Plan, an independent insurance agency doing business in Ohio, Missouri and Georgia.
His agency offers insurance products to individuals, families and any size employee group. They use the leading national insurance carriers to offer quotes, illustrations and relevant information on life insurance, health insurance and HSA accounts. They also offer disability and long term care insurance as well as annuity policies, Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Part D coverage.
The limited liability company has surpassed the corporation as the most popular business vehicle for small business. Why? Because it was created to provide all the advantage of other business entities but without their disadvantages.
The Ga LLC is such a simple entity to understand and maintain but at the same time it gives the owners many options when it comes to tax structures, how the business will be owned and how it will be operated.
The main reason to form a Ga LLC is to protect yourself and other owners from being personally liable for business debts and obligations. Without a limited liability legal entity such as a Georgia company LLC, you will be placing everything you own entirely at risk for potential loss. Given the growing litigious environment of our society and the aggressive plaintiff lawyers out there looking for small businesses to attack, every Georgia business should operate with this legal shield.
Specifically, section 14-11-303 of the Georgia LLC Act states that members (who are owners) are not liable for the business obligations, lawsuits and other liabilities of the business merely because they are owners. It does except out tax liabilities from operations and there are some conditions and exceptions. However, this protection is a tremendous advantage that only gets more significant as your business grows because successful business are targeted more for lawsuits.
RAISING MONEY FOR BUSINESS
When you form a Georgia company LLC, you gain more options for accessing capital to fund your business. Banks are often unwilling to lend money to a brand new business in whatever form it is formed. Another option is to issue ownership interests in a business in exchange for equity capital.
Issuing ownership interests is close to impossible in a sole proprietorship business. However, with a Georgia limited liability company, there is a concept of ownership interests and membership units can be issued in exchange for a percentage ownership in the business.
Having a separate structure as the business entity greatly facilitates the raising of capital and provides a well known structure to do so which in turn reduces the costs to raise money for your business needs.
PROFESSIONAL IMAGE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERCEPTION
With the many fly by night business and business scams out there today, potential customers are suspicious. A new business has quite a challenge to overcome these concerns .
By going through the process to form a Ga LLC for your business and having an official entity as your business, you automatically separate yourselves from others. You see, it only takes coming up with a name to call yourself a business.
But creating a Georgia company LLC is a clear sign of intelligent business planning which in turn creates more professionalism and trust when it comes to your business identity. This can be a great advantage when trying to get customers and build your brand presence in the marketplace.
FLEXIBLE BUSINESS STRUCTURE
The laws allow a limited liability company to be extremely simple when it comes to ownership and operational structures. There are less formalities imposed upon it. Accordingly, for the single owner business or one with a few related owners, a Georgia company LLC can be set up and structured fairly quickly and cheaply.
As a business evolves and grows over time, its ownership and operational structure may need to change to account for the growth and possible complexity. For example, the business may admit new owners or bring on a passive investor. Also, there may be a need for more official approval processes when it comes to major business decisions.
The Ga LLC allows each business and their owners to define for themselves, how the ownership will be structure and how the business will operate and run on a day to day basis. In business, there is no one size fits all solution to these matters and the Georgia company LLC thus provides ways to customize such fundamental matters for your particular business situation.
FEDERAL INCOME TAX CHOICES
A main reason the Georgia limited liability company has become the entity of choice for small business is because in 1997, the IRS passed regulations that allows for the business entity to choose the way the business will be taxed. There are no longer any additional requirements to qualify for a single layer of pass through taxation.
When you form a Ga LLC, your business will be taxed via a single layer of pass through taxation by default. This type of taxation avoids the potentially significant double taxation effect of corporate taxation.
However, in some circumstances, your accountant may advise that a corporation tax structure is more advantageous. In these cases, a Georgia company LLC may file an election with the IRS to be taxed as a C corporation or an S corporation. The S corporation qualification does require that the entity and its owners meet a set of requirements . You get more choices when it comes to how your business income will be taxed.
Affordable health insurance in Georgia seems to be the topic of most residents living in the peach filled state… Do you chat with your neighbors on a daily basis regarding the many issues based around health insurance? Do I have the right deductible? Can I afford to buy health insurance? What company do I look at? Georgia residents have had enough of recent insurance price increases and are trying to come up with a plan to reduce all insurance costs across the board. The health insurance rates have gone up considerably over the past ten years. It seems the average rate increase on a health plan in Georgia runs around 15% per year. Insurance carriers like Aetna, Blue Cross of Georgia, & United Healthcare say that ‘It’s now time to make some changes in the industry’ To find the best insurance rates be sure to use an insurance broker or consultant like [www.GeorgiaHealthInsuranceWeb.com]. They are one of the best companies in helping solve the problem with free insurance consultations.
Affordable Insurance Can Be Found?
Having trouble finding affordable health insurance? It is not ‘one size fits all.’ Now, with the increases in policy rates, hardly anyone in Georgia can ‘afford’ to stay healthy. Depending on your current state of health, budget and individual needs, the best insurance for you may be far different than the best insurance for a friend or another family member. What can you do protect your family? Contact an expert insurance consultant and talk to them about your needs. They can show all available policies, not just one policy from one carrier.
One thing you can do to find the best policy now for your health or home is to have a basic understanding of the various types of insurance that are available in Georgia, and what each does and does not cover. That can be helpful in determining which plan will work best for you. Before you buy insurance for any purpose, a talk with a ‘Georgia health insurance consultant’ can save literally thousands of dollars per year.
‘What policy do I choose?, how much deductible is right, is my prescription drugs covered’ these are the things that are on most people’s minds when they look for health insurance. In Florida there are many insurance agents, selling their special type of health insurance policy. These policies vary from agent to agent, even in the same city, so the best bet is to search all available insurance companies through a insurance ‘portal’: http://www.GeorgiaHealthInsuranceWeb.com
Traditional health insurance is called ‘fee for service’ or 80/20 coverage. This is most likely the type of insurance that you grew up with. With that type of health insurance, you are entitled to visit any doctor you choose, and the insurance company pays 80 percent of the bill.
Georgia ranks among the top ten states in identity theft crimes, and in August 2008 established a law, which allows consumers to make a credit freeze to prevent identity theft or fraud or halt identity theft or fraud crimes. Since, about 15% of identity theft cases involve new account fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission, monitoring new accounts is essential in preventing identity theft. This law also placed a limit on the price credit reporting agencies can charge Georgia residents for this service at $3.00. The bill was first introduced by state Rep. Rob Teilhet in early 2006.
While 40 other states have some form of credit freeze laws on the books, Georgia’s new law is unique in many ways. Many states offer this service but at $10.00 a pop and some are as high as $15.00 each. “It is so low-cost,” said Georgia Watch spokeswoman Allison Lang. To request the service, Georgia residents were advised to send a letter to each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion (their addresses are provided for your reference at the end of this article).
However, credit freezes in George are not a breeze: Consumers are asked to do the following: Send $3.00 to each credit agency; Send each letter by certified mail; Include name, address, date of birth, Social Security number; A copy of a government issued i.d. card such as a driver’s license or military i.d.; A copy of a utility bill or bank or insurance statement. This list is very specific and alternatives are not accepted. According to the new Georgia identity theft prevention law, you may obtain a credit freeze for free if you are older than are older than 65 or you are a victim of identity theft and can provide a copy of a police report.
One other unique feature of Georgia’s new law is the opportunity to obtain an online temporary “thaw” that would allow consumers to apply for credit on immediately, or a permanent thaw (credit freeze removal) should take only 15 minutes to become effective. Consumers will be given a PIN, personal identification number that can be used online or over the phone. “Georgia is the first state to roll out the 15-minute thaw,” said Lang. Several other states are following Georgia’s lead and offering a version of the thaw starting in September, 2008.
Clark Howard, radio talk show host and a board member of the consumer watchdog group Georgia Watch, has called the measure “the best credit freeze law in the United States.”
President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia, Kelvin Collins, says the law provides big benefits for residents. “There really is no way to completely prevent identity theft, but being able to freeze your credit sure reduces the risk,” he said. Collins admits that the credit freeze is easier to use for some than others. It may be cumbersome for young consumers who are shopping or a home or car but he adds, “If you’re older and you’ve got a home and you’ve got a car, then it’s a huge plus.”
If you live in Georgia, and are looking for a new health insurance provider, there are some things that you should know, that will make your search easier. You need to think about your budget, and the types of health insurance coverage you need, in order to find the perfect provider and the best policy for you.
Of course, no one wants to choose a health insurance policy with a Georgia provider that has outrageous prices and a reputation for bad service. On the other hand, you don’t want to take the absolute cheapest policy you can find, as it may not provide you with the benefits that you need.
For example, not all health insurance policies offer prescription drug coverage, meaning that if you or someone in your family gets sick, you will have to either purchase your medications out of pocket, or use your health savings account, if you have one. Oftentimes, your medications are much more expensive than the actual doctor’s visit, so you need to keep this in mind. If you take daily prescription medications, you should really make certain that your health insurance policy has prescription coverage, or you could end up spending a bundle on your medications.
You also need to think about your deductible and your co-pays as well. As with most insurance policies, the higher the deductible you choose, typically the lower your premiums are, but you have to make certain you don’t cut yourself short here. For example, if you have children, they probably visit the doctor often, and if you choose a health insurance policy with a $750 deductible, you will either have to pay for all of their visits out of your pocket, or out of your health savings account, until that deductible has been met each year. If you can’t afford to do that, then you will be better off with a lower deductible. Likewise, you need to look for a health insurance provider that offers policies with low co-pays, as these can add up quickly as well. If you or someone in your family happens to need chiropractic care, typically you will go to the chiropractor three times a week, for at least the first month, and if you have a $20 co-pay or more, this can add up. You could be spending $240 in that first month just on co-pays, and the typical family today cannot afford to pay out that kind of money.
You also need to familiarize yourself with lifetime limits on the health insurance plans you are looking at, hospital and emergency coverage options, referrals, network providers, and the overall history and strength of the Georgia health insurance provider and health insurance policies you are considering. You could be risking your health, your family’s health, and your financial future here, so it is important to take your time, and choose the best Georgia health insurance provider for your needs.
What type of health insurance quote are you looking for? Many major insurance companies are now giving quotes for HSA health insurance plans. HSAs are fast becoming a popular way to reduce total health care costs.
Georgia Health Insurance Plans
(HSAs) Health Savings Accounts were first launched in 2004 and have rapidly become a popular way to obtain affordable health care. For many people, HSAs provide a new way to have quality health insurance.
The term HSA is really a two part plan, a Health Savings Account and a (HDHP) High Deductible Health Plan.
(HSA) A health savings account is a tax-exempt account in which you deposit money into for the deductible portion of your health insurance. Money is withdrawn with a debit card or by writing checks. Unused HSA money is yours forever, and can stay in the account, without tax penalty for many years.
(HDHP) A high deductible health plan pays for medical expenses after the deductible amount has been reached. The amount of the deductible is completely up to you. Deductible choices range from $500 to over $5000 in many plans. These high deductible plans typically pay for 80% to 100% of medical costs after the deductible has been met.
Georgia Free Instant Health Insurance Quotes
One of the best ways to learn more about Georgia health insurance is to go to an insurance quote website and request free quotes. Immediately after you complete their short form, you’ll get several low cost HSA, HMO, PPO, and POS quotes while still online. After you have your quotes, you can compare plans and visit their websites for more detailed information.
A recent report by the Chattanooga Times announced that millions of dollars in Georgia lottery winnings go unclaimed in Georgia and Tennessee. Lottery officials say this is mostly due to people that buy lottery tickets while passing-through and either forget to check if they’ve won or not.
According to another news report though, a larger amount of Georgia unclaimed money is in the hands of the state’s Treasury Department. Hundreds of millions of dollars in forgotten funds are held by the state government and most Georgians are unaware of its existence. Catherine Westbrook, an elderly resident of the state was very aware though and became frustrated when she tried getting a $1200 check from an old life-insurance policy. “When I didn’t get it for two or three weeks, then I called and they would say, ‘No, the check wasn’t written, hasn’t been written’ — that’s all they would tell me.” said Westbrook who adds after getting the check 5 months after: “I don’t know why they take so long to write a check.”
Georgia’s Unclaimed Property Law or escheat law which originates from feudal laws in England require abandoned and forgotten assets such as bank accounts, income tax refunds, uncashed checks, uncollected wages, insurance premium overpayments, gift certificates, cash dividends on stocks and mineral deposits, and others to be turned-over to the hands of the state after a specified ‘dormancy period’. This period for Georgia is 5 years and less for other financial assets. “Dormant funds are remitted to the State of Georgia. Demand deposit accounts are deemed to be dormant after 12 months and time and savings accounts are deemed to be dormant after a period of five years without activity”, according to an official statement from Georgia’s State Treasury. In a press release from the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Unclaimed Property Unit, “The time that must elapse for property to be determined “abandoned” and turned over to the state varies depending on the type of property. For example, unclaimed wages and company liquidation proceeds must be turned over to the state after one year. The vast majority of unclaimed property must be turned over to the state five years after the last contact with the rightful owner. Time frames for other types of property are: safe deposit box contents must be forwarded to the state two years after the box was opened by the holding financial institution; money orders seven years after the issue date; and traveler’s checks 15 years from the issue date.”
The Georgia Revenue Commissioner has since tried to make some improvements with regards to the state department that handles missing money in Georgia, like replacing an old automated call center system with operators who can check the status of claims immediately. According to Tim Shields, a manager with the revenue department, “From the time the claim form comes in the door, if we have everything we need, within 8 to 10 weeks, that person’s going to receive a check,”.
Greg Daugherty, Executive Editor of Consumer Reports, said “When I entered my own information, I didn’t find anything belonging to me, but I did find some money belonging to a great aunt of mine who has since died, and would have left it to me.” Greg isn’t alone, which is why enlisting the help of an unclaimed money expert is of the utmost importance.