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A S P E C I A L S E C T I O N O F T H E D E N I S O N B U L L E T I N A N D D E N I S O N R E V I E W | F R I D AY, F E B R U A RY 2 2 , 2 0 1 3


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FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

FEBRUARY 22, 2013

Taxable and nontaxable income “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” It’s not just a slogan, but a way of doing business at your local State Farm Agency in Denison. Trevis Beeck and his team will put your needs at the heart of every discussion. They encourage you to stop in, say hello, and let the State Farm team put a plan together to make your goals and dreams a reality. Pictured above are, from left: Nauj Arguello, Janice Nemitz, Trevis Beeck, Toni Farley and Brittany Petersen. Photo by Gordon Wolf

Did you know? Primary mortgage insurance, or PMI, protects lenders in the event that borrowers default on their primary mortgage by ceasing to make payments, resulting in homes ending up in foreclosure. But all borrowers do not have to pay PMI. Typically, home buyers must make a 20 percent down payment on a home when they buy it. However, some borrowers are unable to put down 20 percent. In such instances, the lender will require they pay PMI. This is because the lender views a borrower who cannot make an initial 20 percent down payment as a riskier investment, and lenders charge PMI in an effort to protect themselves should the borrower prove worthy of their skepticism. PMI will be factored into the monthly mortgage payment, but borrowers should know they do not have to continue paying PMI once they have paid enough toward the principal amount of the loan. For most, this means once they have paid 20 percent of the principal, then they can ask that the monthly PMI payment be removed. Many borrowers are unaware of this or even forget to ask, but it's within their rights as borrowers and can save a substantial amount of money over the course of the mortgage loan.

Will your money retire before you do?

Most types of income are taxable, but some are not. Income can include money, property or services that you receive. Following are some examples of income that are usually not taxable: Š Child support payments Š Gifts, bequests and inheritances Š Welfare benefits Š Damage awards for physical injury or sickness Š Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy Š Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses Some income is not taxable except under certain conditions. Examples include: Life insurance proceeds paid to you because of an

IRAs

insured person’s death are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable. Income you get from a qualified scholarship is normally not taxable. Amounts you use for certain costs, such as tuition and required course books, are not taxable. However, amounts used for room and board are taxable. All income, such as wages and tips, is taxable unless the law specifically excludes it. This includes non-cash income from bartering - the exchange of property or services. Both parties must include the fair market value of goods or services received as income on their tax return.

If you received a refund, credit or offset of state or local income taxes in 2012, you may be required to report this amount. If you did not receive a 2012 Form 1099-G, check with the government agency that made the payments to you. That agency may have made the form available only in an electronic format. You will need to get instructions from the agency to retrieve this document. Report any taxable refund you received even if you did not receive Form 1099-G. For more information and examples, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income. The booklet is available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800829-3676).

Maximized retirement income. Flexibility. Tax advantages.

Call me today to see how I can make it

Trevis Beeck, Agent 1335 Broadway Denison, IA 51442 Bus: 712-263-5677 www.trevisbeeck.com Monday - Friday 8:30 - 5:00 Saturday - By Appointment

The sooner you start investing, the more likely you are to reach your long-term goals. Ask me about State Farm Mutual Funds®. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.® CALL ME TODAY.

Before investing, consider the funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Contact State Farm VP Management Corp. (1-800-447-4930) for a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully. Securities, insurance and annuity products are not FDIC insured, are not guaranteed by State Farm Bank and are subject to investment risk, including possible loss 1101413.1 of principal. Investing involves risk, including potential for loss.

simple to help you save for

Adam Humlicek 204 N. 7th Street Denison, IA 712-263-3157 http://adamhumlicek.fbfs.com

retirement.

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85-Financial(LongTerm/StateFarm)SS

www.DBRnews.com

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Securities & services offered through FBL Marketing Services, LLC*, 5400 University Ave., West Des Moines, IA 50266. 877/860-2904, Member SIPC. Farm Bueau Property & Casualty Insurance Company+*, Western Agricultural Insurance Company+*, Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company+*/West Des Moines, IA. +Affiliates *Company providers of Farm Bureau Financial Services A080-ML-1 (1-12) 1-FINANCIAL (FINANCIAL 2012-13-FARM BUREAU/ADAM) FM


FEBRUARY 22, 2013

FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

Flexible Spending Accounts: A new approach to use it or lose it submitted by Todd Thams, Thams Agency If you have money left in your 2012 flexible spending account, don’t despair! You may still be able to spend it. A flexible spending account (FSA) is a beneficial tool for saving money on health care, since the account contains pretax dollars contributed each pay period to pay for qualified medical and dental expenses. However, one provision of an FSA is that money contributed within a calendar year must be spent within the same year or it is lost. December scramble December is a common time for many people rush to use up leftover funds in their FSAs while they still can. However, thanks to a rule change by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a few years ago, employers have the option to offer up to 14 and ½ months to use the funds. Many employers are taking advantage of this extension to the use-it-or-lose-it provision, allowing employees to spend money from their FSA until March 15. The rule change does not

require an extension past December 31; it merely gives employers the option. Be sure to check with us to see what the rules are. What to buy at crunch time When trying to use up FSA funds at the end of the year, many people used to stock up on over-thecounter (OTC) drugs with their excess money. However, due to changes made by the health care reform legislation in 2010, OTC drugs purchased without prescriptions are no longer considered medical expenses that are qualified for reimbursement from an FSA, except for insulin. Thus, you can fill any prescriptions you have before the year ends, but will need to find other uses for the remaining FSA dollars. Concentrate on using those funds for medical expenses that you have been putting off. If you haven’t been to the dentist all year, schedule a teeth cleaning. If there is a screening or procedure you’ve been putting off, use FSA funds for that. You should focus on using that money to keep your-

self as healthy as possible. Another smart option may be a replacement or spare set of eye glasses or contact lenses, or an eye exam if you haven’t had one recently. Be sure to ask an HR representative for a full list of eligible expenses. How to plan ahead Because an FSA is such a beneficial money-saving tool, it is natural to want to make the most of the tax advantage. However, putting too much money in the fund may not benefit you if you have to spend it on unnecessary expenses or fail to spend the money at all. The trick is to allocate an appropriate amount to your FSA in the first place. Look at your expenses from the last few years and determine what your average out-of-pocket medical expenses have been. Also consider if the following year will bring any big life changes such as a marriage, divorce, new baby or changed dependent status. To calculate your potential savings when using an FSA, visit asiflex.com/Calculator/Tax-Savings-Calculator.htm.

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Thams Agency honored two consecutive years EMC Insurance Companies announced its 2013 “Leading Partners� and has distinguished Thams Agency of Denison as one of the highest performing EMC agencies in the country, placing it in the top 15 percent of all EMC agencies in the United States. The annual award is based on key indicators which are reviewed over a three-year period. Thams Agency is a full service independent insurance agency. They have provided insurance in Western Iowa for nearly 80 years. For more information contact Thams Agency at 712-263-3193 or EMC at 800-362-2227. EMC Insurance Companies is a property/casualty carrier headquartered in Des Moines. With assets of nearly $3 billion, they are one of the largest property and casualty entities in Iowa and among the top 60 insurance entities nationwide. Approximately 85 percent of the company’s business is in commercial lines with the remaining 15% in personal lines.

Todd Thams of the Thams Agency invites you to stop in for a no-obligation insurance quote or policy review. They would be honored to be “Your Agent of Choice.� With their newly remodeled office and all the latest technology, they are equipped to serve you now and for years to come. Photo by Bruce A. Binning

Serving Western Iowa since 1934, our family-owned and operated agency has the experience and solutions to help you.

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FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

Immediate income tax changes for Iowa taxpayers Effective with the enactment of Senate File 106 on February 14, 2013, Iowa tax provisions are coupled with federal provisions retroactive to January 1, 2012, in the areas listed below. NOTE: Iowa did not couple with the bonus depreciation provisions allowed for federal tax purposes for the 2012 tax year. For individual income tax filers only: Š Deduction of educator expenses. Š Tuition and fees deduction for higher education. Š Election to deduct state sales/use tax as an itemized deduction in lieu of state income tax. Š Treatment of mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest. Š Tax free distribution from an IRA to certain charities for individuals 70½ and older. Š Iowa allows the exclusion of 50% of the capital gain from the sale of employer securities of an Iowa corporation to an Iowa based employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), as long as the ESOP owns at least 30% of the outstanding employer securities after the sale. Š Members of the armed forces, armed forces military reserve and the National Guard in an active duty status can exclude pay received from the federal government for military service performed. Š An Iowa geothermal heat pump tax credit is available equal to 20% of the federal residential energy tax credit for installations of geothermal energy systems for residential property located in Iowa. For individual income tax filers as well as corporate income tax (including S corporations), partnership, fiduciary and franchise tax: Š 2012 section 179 limit for Iowa is $500,000, which is the same as the federal section 179 limit. The phaseout threshold is $2 million. Š Do not include any deduction for the small business health insurance tax credit that was not allowed as a deduction on the federal return. The Iowa Department of Revenue will update online forms, instructions, and web pages accordingly. Taxpayers who have already filed tax year 2012 returns should review information provided on the Iowa Department of Revenue’s website at www.iowa.gov/tax about how to file an amended return. Additional information can be found on the department’s website: www.iowa.gov/tax. Taxpayers can call for assistance at 515-281-3114 or 800-367-3388 (Iowa, Omaha, Rock Island, Moline), from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Central Time, or email idr@iowa.gov.

FEBRUARY 22, 2013

Common automobile insurance policy questions and answers submitted by Todd Thams, Thams Agency The best time to learn about what’s covered in a basic automobile insurance policy is before you have a claim. We’ve gathered the answers to the most common “Am I covered if...” questions about your automobile insurance policy to help you minimize any coverage surprises. If a friend drives my car, is he or she covered by my policy? Since most insurance coverage is connected directly to the car, if someone else borrows your car occasionally, he or she should be covered under your policy. Yet, your premium is based on both your vehicle and the “primary” driver of that car - you. If someone else starts driving your car more than you do, contact us to have them added to your policy to avoid coverage complications. If I borrow a friend’s car and have an accident, who pays? When you borrow someone else’s car and are involved in an accident, his or her insurance will kick in first. However, beware of driving someone’s car if he or she has little or no insurance, as your policy could be triggered once their limits are exhausted. My golf clubs were stolen from my vehicle. Am I covered? Your homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for personal property, regardless of where you are. However, if your golf clubs are old, consider buying a replacement cost endorsement for your personal property. This way you will get what it costs to replace the golf clubs, less the applicable deductible. My children have left home for college. Do I still have to include them on my policy? Yes, because when your college students come home to visit, they

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Call 712-263-2122 now!

If You Aren’t at Your Last Job, Why Is Your 401(k)? Leaving a 401(k) with a previous employer could mean leaving it alone with no one to watch over it. At Edward Jones, we can explain options for your 401(k) and help you select the one that’s best for you. If you’d like to roll it over to an Edward Jones Individual Retirement Account (IRA), we can help you do it without paying taxes or penalties. And you can feel confident that someone is looking out for you and your 401(k).

To find out why it makes sense to talk with Edward Jones about your 401(k) options, call or visit your local financial advisor today. Scott A Ferguson Financial Advisor . 1325 Broadway Denison, IA 51442 712-263-5636

www.edwardjones.com Member SIPC

will have access to the family car. You may be eligible for reduced premiums if the college is more than a certain distance (100 miles, for example) from your home. Check with us on specifics. An uninsured driver totaled my car! Who pays? Your collision coverage or your uninsured motorist property damage coverage pays, if you bought it. Either way, you'll have to pay a deductible. I caused an accident and am being sued by the other driver. Am I covered? Yes. The liability portion of your insurance policy guarantees your insurance company will defend a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, up to your policy’s limits of liability. Does rental reimbursement provide coverage if I take my car to a shop for mechanical repairs? No. Rental reimbursement is for cars that are being repaired as a result of accidents or other insured damages (storm damage, etc.). If my compact discs are stolen from my vehicle, is it covered under my automobile insurance policy? Almost all auto insurance policies exclude coverage for any losses of discs and other sound transmitting or receiving equipment used in an automobile. For added protection, check with us about purchasing additional coverage for the stereo and discs used in your vehicle. How can I be sure I have the right coverage? Having the right vehicle coverage, policy limits and deductibles in place is an important part of financial planning. Contact an agent you trust help you get the comprehensive automobile coverage you need to minimize any unwanted surprises!

In the blink of an eye In just the blink of an eye, nature can destroy your crop ...and your future. Don’t leave your future unprotected. Call us today! For All of Your Crop Insurance Needs, Call: Russ Hawley, Crop Specialist 712-677-5569

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CROP INSURANCE This institution is an equal opportunity provider."

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FEBRUARY 22, 2013

FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

PAGE 5

Choose direct deposit to safeguard your tax refund Direct deposit is the fast, easy and safe way to receive a tax refund. Whether an individual files electronically or on paper, direct deposit gives them access to their refund faster than a paper check. Following are four reasons more than 80 million taxpayers chose direct deposit in 2012: Š Security. Every year the U.S. Postal Service returns thousands of paper checks to the IRS as undeliverable. Direct deposit eliminates the possibility of a lost, stolen or undeliverable refund check. Š Convenience. With direct deposit, the money goes directly into an individual’s bank account. They will not have to make a special trip to the bank to deposit the

money. Š Ease. It’s easy to choose direct deposit. When individuals are preparing their tax returns, simply follow the instructions on the tax return or in the tax software. Make sure to enter the correct bank account and bank routing transit numbers. Š Options. Individuals can deposit their refund into more than one account. With the split refund option, taxpayers can divide their refunds among as many as three checking or savings accounts and up to three different U.S. financial institutions. Use IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to divide a refund. Individuals who are designating part of their refund to pay a tax preparer

Life Changes. Protecting Your Family Shouldn’t.

should not use Form 8888. Individuals should only deposit their refund directly into accounts that are in their own name, their spouse’s name or both if it’s a joint account. Some banks require both spouses’ names on the account to deposit a tax refund from a joint return. Taxpayers should check with their bank for direct deposit requirements. Check the instructions in the tax form for more information about direct deposit and the split refund option. Helpful tips on both are also available in IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. Publication 17 and IRS Form 8888 are available on IRS.gov or by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

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Making sure you have adequate life insurance coverage is an ongoing process. When your priorities change, so do your insurance needs. An insurance review from Edward Jones can ensure that: Ä‘ĆŤ You have the appropriate amount and type of coverage. Ä‘ĆŤ Your policies are performing as expected; your premiums are still competitive. Ä‘ĆŤ Ownership is structured properly and

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current situation. Edward Jones operates as an insurance producer in California, New Mexico, and Massachusetts through the following subsidiaries, respectively: Edward Jones Insurance Agency of California, L.L.C., Edward Jones Insurance Agency of New Mexico, L.L.C., and Edward Jones Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, L.L.C.

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Scott A Ferguson

Boats, Campers, RV’s, and Motorcycles too!

Financial Advisor .

1325 Broadway Denison, IA 51442 712-263-5636

Telco Triad Community Credit Union

www.edwardjones.com

“Where You Belong!� 1420 Tri View Ave. 2550 Glenn Ave. 5500 Military Rd. Sioux City Sioux City Sioux City 712-252-4368 712-276-0506 712-277-2487 24 West 4th 11 N. 7th St Spencer Denison 712-262-4194 712-263-8100

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FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

FEBRUARY 22, 2013

Questions and answers about the health care reform law submitted by Todd Thams, Thams Agency I’ve heard a lot about the health care reform law. When do the reforms become effective? The health care reform bill was signed into law in March 2010. The changes made by the health care reform law go into effect over a period of years. Some of the law’s changes are already in effect, such as the prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions for individuals under age 19. Other changes go into effect in future years, such as the requirement for individuals to buy health coverage or pay a penalty. Does health care reform allow people to keep their current health coverage? Yes. Nothing in the law requires individuals to terminate coverage that they had on the date the law was passed. However, due to new coverage requirements, the coverage provided under an individual's plan may change. Also, employers are not required to offer the same coverage in future years. If an employer’s health plan existed on March 23, 2010, and the employer has not made certain changes to the plan, the plan may have grandfathered status. Grandfathered plans are subject to many, but not all, of the health care reform law’s requirements. Are individuals required to have health coverage? Not yet. However, in 2014, most U.S. citizens must obtain health insurance coverage or they will be subject to penalties. There are exceptions for low-income individuals and those who are unable to obtain affordable coverage. What are the penalties for individuals who don't have health coverage? Beginning in 2014, the penalties for individuals who are not enrolled in coverage will be the greater of a flat dollar amount or an applicable percentage of income. The flat dollar amount for 2014 is $95, $395 for 2015 and $695 for 2016. After 2016, the flat dollar amount is indexed for inflation. The applicable percentage of income is 1 percent for 2014, 2 percent for 2015, and 2.5 percent for 2016 and later years. The penalty for children is half of that for an adult. A family's total penalty generally cannot exceed 300 percent of the adult flat dollar penalty or the national average annual premium for the "bronze" level of coverage through an insurance exchange. Does the law affect dependent care spending accounts and health flexible spending accounts? Dependent care spending accounts are capped at $5,000 annually. Prior to 2013, health flexible spending accounts (health FSAs) had no cap (although many employers had their own caps, typically at the $5,000-

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$6,000 level or less). The health care reform law does not change the limit on dependent care accounts, which remains capped at $5,000. However, the law does establish an annual cap of $2,500 on employee pre-tax contributions to health FSAs. This change is effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2013. How long can my adult child remain covered under my health plan? Effective for the first plan year beginning after September 23, 2010, health plans are required to permit children to stay on family coverage until they turn 26. This rule applies to all plans in the individual market and to non-grandfathered employer plans. It also applies to grandfathered employer plans; however, the sponsor of a grandfathered plan may decide to exclude from coverage adult children with another offer of employer-based coverage (such as through the child’s job). Beginning in 2014, grandfathered plans must cover children up to age 26, even if they have another offer of coverage through an employer. Note that state law requirements may require offering coverage beyond age 26. Is the coverage for my adult dependent taxable? No, the value of the coverage is not subject to federal tax for the employee or dependent. The health care reform law revised the Internal Revenue Code to clarify that the cost of coverage for a taxpayer's child is excluded from income through the end of the year in which the child turns 26. However, state requirements may differ, so state taxes may apply. Can I get coverage for my child who has a pre-existing condition? Effective for the first plan year begin-

ning after September 23, 2010, health plans that cover children will not be able to deny coverage to your child under 19 years old based on a pre-existing condition. This applies to all non-grandfathered and grandfathered plans. What consumer protections will I get if I obtain insurance at work? Effective for the first plan year beginning after September 23, 2010, health plans will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on what they will pay for your medical care and they can only apply restricted annual benefit limits. Insurers will no longer be able to arbitrarily cancel your insurance policy when you get sick, except in cases of fraud or material misrepresentation. Health plans will be prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. This applies to all non-grandfathered and grandfathered plans. All non-grandfathered group health plans must provide coverage for preventive services. Recommended prevention and vaccination services will be covered without any deductibles or copayments. Plans must also have a straightforward and independent appeals process so you can appeal decisions by your health insurance company. I have a pre-existing condition. How can I get coverage this year? This year, if you have been uninsured for at least six months and have a pre-existing condition, you may have access to health insurance through the high-risk pool program. This temporary program will be available until 2014. Can my insurance company terminate my coverage if I get sick? Effective for the first plan year beginning after September 23, 2010, insurance companies will be prohibited from retroactively dropping, or rescinding, your coverage when you get sick. Rescissions of coverage will only be allowed in cases of fraud or material misrepresentation. This rule will apply to all non-grandfathered and grandfathered plans. When does free preventive care start and will it affect my plan? Effective for plan years beginning after September 23, 2010, all non-grandfathered group health plans and plans in the individual market must provide coverage for preventive services. Recommended prevention and vaccination services will be covered without any deductibles or copayments. Seniors enrolled in Medicare will also no longer have to pay for proven preventive services. REFORM . . . Page 7

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FEBRUARY 22, 2013

FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

PAGE 7

Multiple IRAs and 401(k)s? Consider a roll and take control. An IRA here, a former jobâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 401(k) thereâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are your retirement assets scattered? If so, it could be costing you time, extra paperwork and fees. Take control of your retirement assets and keep your tax-deferred status by rolling them into a Thrivent Financial Rollover IRA. You may get more investment options and save some money, too. Contact us today at 712-263-6785 to hear about our rollover IRAs and how they can beneďŹ t you.

Thrivent Financial can help you plan for the future Your Thrivent Financial representatives, Jared Koch, Neal Meseck, Trisha Fink and Craig Dozark, can help you with a wide variety of financial and insurance products from life insurance, mutual funds and annuities to long term care and medicare supplement insurance. Thrivent Financial truly is a one-stop shop. Photo by Bruce A. Binning

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Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, 800-847-4836, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. They are also licensed insurance agents of Thrivent Financial.

REFORM, from Page 6 Effective for plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012, non-grandfathered health plans must provide additional preventive services for women without cost sharing, such as coverage for well woman visits, breastfeeding support and contraception. Exceptions to the contraceptive coverage requirement apply to religious employers. What information about insurance companies is going to be posted on the Web? The Department of Health and Human Services has established www.healthcare.gov, a website where residents of any state may identify health insurance coverage options in that state. The site includes information on coverage options for small businesses as well. Effective January 1, 2011, health insurers, including insurers of grandfathered plans, must annually report on what percentage of premium dollars they spend on medical care, as opposed to profits, marketing and administrative expenses. You can see that information online and may be entitled to a rebate if your plan spent too much on overhead and profits. Health insurers must also post information about some rate increases along with a justification for them. Did the health care reform law extend the COBRA premium subsidy extension? No. The health care reform law did

not extend the eligibility time period for the COBRA premium reduction. Eligibility for the subsidy ended on May 31, 2010; however, those individuals who became eligible on or before May 31, 2010 can still receive the full 15 months as long as they remain otherwise eligible. Did the health care reform law extend the time period I can have COBRA beyond 18 months? No. The health care reform law did not extend the maximum time periods of continuation coverage provided by COBRA. COBRA establishes required periods of coverage for continuation health benefits. A plan, however, may provide longer periods of coverage beyond those required by COBRA. COBRA beneficiaries generally are eligible for group coverage during a maximum of 18 months for qualifying events due to employment termination or reduction of hours of work. Certain qualifying events, or a second qualifying event during the initial period of coverage, may permit a beneficiary to receive a maximum of 36 months of coverage. Individuals who become disabled can extend the 18 month period of continuation coverage for a qualifying event that is a termination of employment or reduction of hours. To qualify for additional months of COBRA continuation coverage, the qualified beneficiary must: Â&#x160; Have a ruling from the Social Security Administration that he or she became disabled within

the first 60 days of COBRA continuation coverage (or before); and Â&#x160; Send the plan a copy of the Social Security ruling letter within 60 days of receipt, but prior to expiration of the 18month period of coverage. If these requirements are met, the entire family qualifies for an additional 11 months of COBRA continuation coverage. Did the health care reform law eliminate COBRA? No. The health care reform law did not eliminate COBRA or change the COBRA rules. How does the health care reform law help me learn more about my health plan coverage? As of September 23, 2012, or soon after, your health insurance company or group health plan is required to provide you with an easy-to-understand summary about benefits and coverage. This requirement is designed to help you better understand and evaluate your health coverage choices. This summary is called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage, or SBC. You may also request a glossary of terms from your health plan or health insurer. The glossary includes definitions for commonly used terms in health insurance coverage, such as "deductible" and "copayment." More information on the health care reform law is available at: www.healthcare.gov. Sources: Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services

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To learn more about why Edward Jones makes sense for you, call or visit today.

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PAGE 8

FINANCIAL & INSURANCE GUIDE

FEBRUARY 22, 2013

Iowa insurance commissioner submits Exchange Blueprint to federal government Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart submitted documents on February 14 to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as required for the implementation of a state/federal Partnership Exchange in Iowa. The required documents included an Exchange Blueprint that is consistent with Governor Branstadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Declaration letter of December 14, 2012, in which he stated that Iowa would proceed with the Partnership plan for a Health Insurance Exchange. The Exchange Blueprint spells out that Iowa will con-

VITA and Free File Offer Options for Filing No-cost Tax Return by Joyce Lash and Laura Sternweis Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites are open across the state to help individuals and families who have incomes at or below $51,000 file their tax returns at no cost. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach family finance specialists have assisted a number of communities with establishing these sites to provide the service. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You may find a site near you between now and April using the VITA Locator Tool on the IRS website or call 800-906-9887. Iowa residents also may call 211 to locate sites,â&#x20AC;? said Joyce Lash, an extension family finance specialist. The focus of the volunteer service is to ensure that low- to moderate-income taxpayers file the necessary forms to receive tax credits that can benefit families financially. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Individuals canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t receive Earned Income Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits if they complete the 1040EZ tax form to report income from a W-2. But professional services to prepare a 1040 form with itemized deductions and a state return may cost an average of $200,â&#x20AC;? Lash said. Through VITA, volunteers who are certified to prepare tax returns help families maximize their tax return and benefit from the added savings of using the free service. Last year VITA services supported by ISU Extension and Outreach prepared 1,600 returns, Lash said. Individuals who wish to file their own returns also can use Free File, available at the IRS website, www.irs.gov. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If your income is at or below $57,000 you can use free software to submit your federal return electronically. The software is being offered through a partnership agreement between the IRS and commercial tax software companies,â&#x20AC;? Lash added.

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tinue to regulate insurance plans and that the state will retain the function of the Plan Management in state/federal Partnership Exchange. This leaves the oversight of companies participating in the Exchange and the qualified health plans they offer within the Iowa Insurance Divisionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s jurisdiction and authority. With the Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and plan management functions reserved for the state under the state/federal partnership model now established, the next step in the process is for HHS to make a determi-

nation regarding the acceptance of Iowaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re glad to keep this moving forward,â&#x20AC;? Gerhart said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are many things not yet known about how the exchange will impact the Iowa market, but the federal law makes it clear an exchange will be implemented in Iowa by January 1, 2014. With this submission, we have met the requirement to use the partnership model that keeps some control of the exchange in the hands of the state. â&#x20AC;&#x153; The Iowa Blueprint Package can be viewed on the Iowa Insurance Divisionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website www.iid.state.ia.us.

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Financial and Insurance Guide  

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