Posts Tagged ‘Health’

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Here Comes the Health Care Penalty:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on December 15, 2015 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , ,

More than 7.5 Million Taxpayers Affected

AppleAn apple a day keeps the doctor away…but unfortunately not a penalty for having no health insurance. 2014 was the big year that most Americans had to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. People who didn’t comply would get hit with a tax penalty when it came time to file their 2014 tax returns. The size of that penalty, as with most tax-related things, would depend on factors such as income and family size.

ImprimirAfter the rush hour of tax filing season died down each year, the IRS conducted a “substantial data review” to see how things went and to figure out how to move forward. The 2015 filing season was no different, except this time around the agency’s results included preliminary stats on the damage done in terms of ACA tax penalties. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter to Congress on July 17 estimates that 7.5 million taxpayers paid the aforementioned penalty for lacking health care.

That adds up to about $1.5 billion paid in so-called “individual shared-responsibility payments.” In layman’s terms, taxpayers and/or their dependents got dinged for any month in 2014 they didn’t maintain health coverage (or qualify for an exemption). Broken down, the individual payments weren’t huge, but still certainly left taxpayers’ piggy banks with cuts and bruises at tax time, with 95% facing a penalty of $500 or less.

Towards the end, Koskinen’s letter points out that “the vast majority – 85 percent – of taxpayers reporting a shared responsibility payment still reported a refund.” This statement paints perhaps too nice and neat of a picture – sure, a lot of the taxpayers may have gotten some money back, but the fact is that they still also had to pay for not having health coverage, and a lot more people had to pay to have health coverage.

Health-Care-Piggy BankThat being said, a number of taxpayers were granted a certain amount of relief via the Premium Tax Credit (PTC), or the APTC – the latter of which is basically advance PTC payments made directly to insurance providers to reduce premiums throughout the year. APTC makes things easier up front, but comes with the stipulation that at tax time, those advance credit payments need to be reconciled with the actual PTC allowed. Around 2.7 million taxpayers claimed the premium tax credit in 2014, with an average credit of $3,400 per taxpayer.

Injured Piggy Bank WIth Crutches

Koskinen’s letter also noted some hiccups and glitches in reporting, e.g. the “5.1 million non-dependent taxpayers [who] did not check the box, claim a health care coverage exemption, or report an individual shared responsibility payment,” along with the “continued erosion of taxpayer services” (hint, hint Congress – don’t reduce the IRS budget further). While paying a health care penalty will probably never get less painful for taxpayers, hopefully the IRS can streamline things so that the penalty-paying process doesn’t require a doctor’s visit for stress!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

 

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Man Up and Manage Your Health:

In Culture,Education,Family on June 15, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , ,

MH900326848June 10-16 is National Men’s Health Week

Father’s Day is Sunday but men should already be celebrating themselves. This week is Men’s Health Week, a time for males to learn to take control of their health. They certainly need the extra encouragement: men were 24% less likely than women to see a doctor last year.

That’s a shame considering that 1) heart disease, 2) cancer, and 3) accidents (unintentional injuries) are the top causes of death for men. Obviously you can’t predict an accident, but you can prevent and treat things like colon cancer and heart disease with earlier diagnosis. That’s why men need to man up and begin having regular checkups and screenings.

MH900442289Health screenings vary based on age, so if you want to find out more about what you’re in for before you check-in, check this out:

Screenings for men, ages 18-39
Screenings for men, ages 40-64
Screenings for men, ages 65 and older
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And here are five more steps every man can take to clean up his bill of health:
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MH9002344781)  Be physically active and make healthy food choices. Take more than a bathroom break from your basketball video game to go outside and shoot hoops at the local park. And instead of ordering takeout as a reward for exercising, take yourself out to the market and buy an apple or two a day.  

MH9002176082)  Get to your healthy weight and stay there. You don’t have to be as bulky as the Hulk. First find out which weight best suits your body and then figure out how to maintain x amount of pounds. It won’t happen in a day, but pretty soon your suit size won’t change. 

MH900290958

3)  Become tobacco free. This one should be self-explanatory, but just to clarify, don’t smoke, don’t smoke, don’t smoke. Avoid everything tobacco-related like it’s the plague – because it actually is as deadly as the plague.

MH9000230264)  Drink only in moderation. There’s nothing more unattractive than a handsome man who reeks of liquor everyday. Not only is alcohol bad for your body, it causes even the best of us to make stupid decisions, which often results in accidents (see above for the #3 cause of death). If you drink, drink responsibly and save your dignity, your liver, and your life.

MH9004276305)  Manage stress. People who say they never stress out are lying. Stress is inevitable, but the key is to not let anxiety get the best of you. Don’t wait until the last minute to combat a panic attack: take control of your own reactions in general, and focus on what makes you feel calm, cool, and collected. Mental and physical exercise are effective stress relievers, so pick up a book or go for a run – or if you’re really ambitious, try reading while running. 

Men’s health week is the perfect time to learn how to be a man – and that means managing your health before you end up as a man down.

MH900213415Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy

Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793

Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Manage Your Stress

In Culture,Family,Human Resources on October 25, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

Keep Calm and Carry On:

Let’s talk about stress. But first, take a deep breath and relax. Your health will thank you for that.

Stress can cause more than just frazzled hair and bitten fingernails. When you’re experiencing symptoms like insomnia, upset stomach, neck pain, and irritability, your body is basically saying, “Hey you! Slow down for a minute. You’ve been doing too much for too long.” If you ignore these warning signs, you increase your chances of heart disease, depression, diabetes, and other serious health issues.

You might respond, “Well taking a break is easier said than done. I’ve got a mid-term to study for and then I have to take my fiancé to the doctor and then I have to do this, that, and that other thing.”However, there some ways you can make things easier on yourself without dropping everything and going to relax on a beach in Fiji – although if you can afford that vacation, go right ahead. For example:

Always plan ahead. Writing to-do lists will help you manage your time and set priorities.

-Make sure you put meditation on your to-do list. Set aside a few minutes everyday to focus on achieving an inner peace.

-Relax your muscles with a hot shower or light stretching. Or make your fiancé give you a massage.

-And you should already know this one: exercise regularly and eat healthy.

If you’re set in your ways, it might take awhile (and cause some stress) to stick to these stress-relieving strategies. In the long run though, you’re going to feel a lot better and get sick less often. And now is the perfect time to get started because it’s autumn, which means it’s flu season.

To Your Health, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month….

In Culture,Education,Family,Insurance & Liability on October 9, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

Pay Attention!: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 

Take a break from buying Halloween candy early (and eating it) and listen up, because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s no exaggeration to say that learning about breast cancer could end up saving your life or the life of someone you love.

 

Certain things increase the risk of breast cancer. Some are avoidable, such as obesity, alcohol, and exposure to radiation. So, stay far away from Halloween candy, Happy Hour, and anything with a nuclear symbol on it. However, other factors, such as estrogen and inherited risk, are unavoidable. That’s where protective factors come in. Exercising for at least four hours per week is the best thing you can do for your body, even if you’re not at a high risk for breast cancer.

 

Don’t go for a walk just yet though without reading further– unless you’re walking to your doctor’s office. Yup, get ready to bare those breasts, because women (especially over 40) need to get regular screenings for breast cancer. If cancer is found early, there’s a much better chance of successful treatment. That means there’s no excuse for not getting a mammogram every 1 to 2 years. And if you notice any strange lumps before your next mammogram, ask your doctor to do a clinical breast exam (CBE) immediately.

 

This year, an estimated 226,870 women and 2,190 men will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it’s important to remember that breast cancer can be treated, and there are many different options. Some of these include surgery, such as a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy, and even more treatments are being tested as we speak.

 

Your awareness of breast cancer shouldn’t stop once you stop reading this page. It’s your turn to spread the word. One way you can do that is with the Pink Ribbon Kit, which provides free (yes – free!) publications about mammography screenings. Or you can direct everyone you know to the MedlinePlus breast cancer page, which has a ton of resources to explore. Stay aware and stay healthy!

 

On Your Health, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions