Well, the holidays are over and it’s the start of another year–and another opportunity to reevaluate your financial life and practices, woo-hoo! The good news is that it just got a lot easier, thanks to all the wonderful resources and tools available at Smart About Money (SAM). Smart About Money is one of the many programs of the National Endowment for Financial Education®. NEFE® is an independent, nonprofit foundation committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make positive and sound decisions to reach their financial goals. They offer tips, strategies and information on diverse topics like crisis and fraud, saving and investing, spending and borrowing, housing and transportation, taxes and more.
Click through and take a look at some of the tools like the Life Values Quiz, designed to help you better understand how and why you make financial decisions. Knowing your own habits and patterns is the first step to making positive changes in your financial life!
Approximately 800 temporary workers will be needed to help consumers apply for coverage, and will answer questions and explain differences between the insurance policies offered on the new online marketplace. They will help consumers figure out if they’re eligible for Medicaid or for new tax credits that will help many people pay for coverage.
Job applications are being collected online and anyone hired will get three days of training about health insurance, enrollment rules and other complicated aspects of the health law. Illinois must act quickly to be ready for Oct. 1, the first day of enrollment for the law’s new insurance opportunities.
Each in-person counselor must complete state and federal training and a fingerprint-based background check to become certified by the Illinois Department of Insurance. The training involves one day of online work and two days of in-person education.
If interested, please apply at: http://workinillinois-healthmarketplace.jobs/
CEDA Northwest in coordination with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will be enrolling Illinois residents in new coverage options and affordability programs made available through the Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), beginning October 1, 2013.
Residents served will be those without health insurance and/or expected to benefit from the ACA’s expansion of the Medicaid program and provision of financial assistance for the purchase of Qualified Health Plans on the newly created Health Insurance Marketplace.
For more information or to setup an appointment, please contact Jessica Salgado at CEDA Northwest Self-Help Center, 1300 W. Northwest Highway, Mount Prospect, IL 60056 (847-392-2332).
The Illinois Department of Insurance has provided a wealth of materials to help individuals and businesses prepare for the 10/1/13 opening of insurance options under the ACA. State-prepared General Fact Sheets can be helpful to ready ourselves for the changes coming this fall.
Healthcare.gov, sponsored by the federal government, also has suggested tips to gather information ahead of time.
MPPL and other area public libraries will be offering programs to better inform communities about how the ACA will affect their choices and how to navigate the tools so individuals can make their own insurance selections.
The Illinois Department of Insurance site provides information on the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. A Medicare Supplement Premium Comparison Guide is available, as is Medicaid Related and Long Term Care Information.
On Sept. 27, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act, a significant piece of small business legislation. The tax provisions intended to lend support, tax cuts, and other opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Tax Information for Small Businesses also have a link for Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center.
Additional info regarding detailed credits and translated IRS sites follow:
Health Care Tax Credit:
Business Page (Spanish): http://www.irs.gov/espanol/content/0,,id=162902,00.html
Spanish Information for Individuals & Businesses: http://www.irs.gov/espanol/
A new health insurance plan will open this morning and be made available on a first-come, first-served basis to those who qualify in Illinois. The plan is called Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (IPXP) and details for enrollment are available.
Another plan to consider is the ICHIP, the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, for those who are either presently uninsured or will soon have exhausted COBRA benefits.
Small business and tax-exempt organizations which meet certain criteria may now qualify for a special tax credit when they provide health insurance coverage to their employees.
Details on this part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are available at the IRS site.
Not all terminated employees are eligible for COBRA, as they may have worked for a small company which employs 20 staff persons or less. The Illinois Continuation Law outlines what type of coverage may be available in this circumstance, as well as the Illinois Spousal Continuation Law, the Illinois Dependent Child Continuation Law and the federal continuation requirements under COBRA.