Health Insurance for the Self-Employed - Protecting Your Business's Greatest Asset

Written by Elena Fawkner

Continued from page 1

Asrepparttar balance can be carried forward, an MSA can be used to accumulate a pretty healthy nest egg for retirement. In fact, a Journal of Financial Planning analysis calculated that if you contribute $1,500 per year into an MSA for 25 years, assuming a 12% rate of return, you'll end up with almost $1.5 million. That's assuming you don't draw from it to pay for medical costs, of course.

There are some limitations though. First,repparttar 117636 range of deductibles is limited to $1,500 - $2,250 for individuals and $3,000 - $4,500 for a family. Second, as we saw above, you can contribute only 65% ofrepparttar 117637 deductible as an individual or 75% for a family.

So, if you're an individual and you choose a policy with a $2,000 deductible, you'll be able to contribute 1,300 pre-tax dollars into an MSA each year. In other words, Uncle Sam pays for part of your health insurance/retirement fund. How fitting.

The money inrepparttar 117638 MSA can be used to pay any medical expenses incurred beforerepparttar 117639 deductible is reached, as well as other eligible costs such as contact lenses and dental work. If you userepparttar 117640 money for anything else, you must not only pay tax onrepparttar 117641 amount withdrawn, but a 15% penalty onrepparttar 117642 top. (If you're over 65 when you makerepparttar 117643 withdrawalrepparttar 117644 penalty is not applied but you'll still have to payrepparttar 117645 tax.)

(Byrepparttar 117646 way, MSAs are also available to you if you work for a business with fewer than 50 employees.)

In short then, MSAs offer a very tax-effective and potentially lucrative way to self-fund part of your health care costs while dramatically reducing your premiums. If luck is on your side and you remain healthy, byrepparttar 117647 time you reach retirement age, your MSA could well fund your retirement.

Pretty neat.

=> Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction

Finally,repparttar 117648 self-employed can write off 70% of their health insurance premiums in 2002. This increases to 100% in 2003. That's only so long asrepparttar 117649 total doesn't exceedrepparttar 117650 net profit from your Schedule C minus deductions for one half ofrepparttar 117651 self- employment tax and Keogh, SEP and Simple contributions though.

Also,repparttar 117652 deduction can only be claimed for months when you weren't eligible to participate in a subsidized health plan from another employer (including your spouse's employer).

Self-employed workers who qualify for bothrepparttar 117653 self-employed health deduction andrepparttar 117654 itemized medical deduction can write offrepparttar 117655 other 30% this year on Schedule A. (Medical expenses are deductible on Schedule A only torepparttar 117656 extent they exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income.)


The foregoing is all well and good if you're able to get health insurance inrepparttar 117657 first place. But what if you have a pre- existing condition that disqualifies you from an individual health plan and you can't get into a group plan? In other words, you can't get insurance at any price.


Although beyondrepparttar 117658 scope of this article,repparttar 117659 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) may offer you some protections. For more information about how HIPAA may help you obtain health insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition, visit .

=> Risk Pools

High-risk health insurance plans, also known as risk pools, are state-funded plans and are an important safety net for individuals who are denied health insurance because of a medical condition. They're available only in 29 states though.

To be eligible, you must be a resident ofrepparttar 117660 state from which you seek coverage (unless there's reciprocity between that state andrepparttar 117661 state you reside in) and you must be able to prove at least one ofrepparttar 117662 following:

1. that you've been rejected for similar health insurance coverage by at least one insurer; or

2. you're presently insured with a higher premium; or

3. you're presently insured with a rider or rated policy.

You will not be eligible for participation in a risk pool if:

1. you're not a resident ofrepparttar 117663 state from which you seek coverage (again subject to reciprocity between states); or

2. you're eligible for Medicare or Medicaid; or

3. you've terminated previous coverage inrepparttar 117664 plan unless at least 132 months have since elapsed; or

4. you're an inmate of a public institution.

For more information on risk pools in your state, contact your state health insurance department,repparttar 117665 national association "Communicating for Agriculture andrepparttar 117666 Self- Employed" (1-800-432-3276) or visit .

Coverage viarepparttar 117667 safety-net protections ofrepparttar 117668 HIPAA may end up being "risk-pool" coverage.

=> Healthcare Savings Programs

Healthcare savings programs are patient advocacy programs that minimize out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

They're not insurance policies but rather programs that allow you to access networks of healthcare providers forrepparttar 117669 same negotiated rates that large insurance companies enjoy. Savings range from 20% to 50%.

Not ideal but better than nothing. Also, since they're not insurance policies, all pre-existing conditions are accepted.

A modest monthly fee is usually required to participate. See, for example, Care Entree at for $20 per month.

Although health insurance may seem like a luxury you just can't afford if your finances are already stretched to breaking point thanks to your home-based business, you never know what's aroundrepparttar 117670 corner. Quite simply, you and your business can't afford not to have health (and disability) insurance.

You are your business's greatest asset. Protect it.


** Reprinting of this article is welcome! ** This article may be freely reproduced provided that: (1) you includerepparttar 117671 following resource box; and (2) you only mail to a 100% opt-in list. Here'srepparttar 117672 resource box to use if reprinting this article:


Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions forrepparttar 117673 work-from-home entrepreneur. Also, visit Elena's newest site, Web Work From Home

Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the work-from-home entrepreneur. Also, visit Elena's newest site, Web Work From Home

An Online Business, Do I or Don't I?

Written by Gary E Layton

Continued from page 1

Above all else your theme must portray a professional aura and an earnest desire to produce customer satisfaction and enhance consumer trust in your business enterprise.

To this end you must always develop and put in place a customer service and relations system ready to go when you launch your products and service intorepparttar world of E-Commerce.

OK, we have a well designed and professional looking web site. We know that our products and services fill a need forrepparttar 117635 consumer. We have thought out and built a responsive customer service and relations system. Now What? Now we get down torepparttar 117636 nuts and bolts of promoting and advertising your business, products and services.

First, all available promotional and advertising media can and should be considered for use in getting your message out torepparttar 117637 consumer. The largest factor here isrepparttar 117638 costs involved and your ability to pay those costs.

I think we all understand thatrepparttar 117639 available media includes newspaper ads; dedicated print media such as The Nickel; trade magazines; flyers and other handouts; radio and television; and of courserepparttar 117640 online media such as Email, Web Sites; Banner Ads, Pop-Up Ads; Ezines; Newsletters andrepparttar 117641 like.

Knowing this and knowing how best to userepparttar 117642 media is a separate question. One that deserves careful consideration before jumping off in all directions at once.

In many cases, any online business you may join as an Affiliate has an advertising program pretty well laid out for you to follow and probably provides some basic tools to use in implementing your advertising program. This is fine, but if it were me I would like to be able to supplement this program through my own efforts and enhancerepparttar 117643 chance for success. There is no one better able to help you than yourself.

An important factor for consideration here isrepparttar 117644 time you have available to do allrepparttar 117645 good things we are talking about.

Most of us who become involved in an online business do so for one primary purpose and that is to supplement our income on a part-time basis. Notice I said part-time. This beingrepparttar 117646 case any business activity we engage in must be designed to work on a part-time basis.

We will just not haverepparttar 117647 time available it takes to run a business that takes more than four hours a day. This beingrepparttar 117648 case we better find techniques and methods which allow us to accomplish things without a lot of time being involved.

Because we are working on a limited time and money budget we must carefully selectrepparttar 117649 media we choose to use in presenting our ad copy torepparttar 117650 consumer. There exists onrepparttar 117651 net now plenty of good advice to help you choose a media. Just don't go hog wild. Select a couple of media. Select your ad copy and get it out torepparttar 117652 world.

All of us can learn how to write and place effective promotional and advertising ad copy. There is enough free information onrepparttar 117653 Internet to make sure of that. What we will not haverepparttar 117654 time to do effectively, is build a system to accurately record and providerepparttar 117655 data we need to assurerepparttar 117656 effectiveness of our promotional and advertising efforts. Beside that, not many of us haverepparttar 117657 technical expertise to develop such systems.

Such Ad Tracking systems do exist and you must find them, assess their capabilities to meet your needs. Both fromrepparttar 117658 required data aspects and your ability to afford them.

An efficient and accurate Ad Tracker is absolutely essential to your online success and will save you time and money. So take my advice, check them out.

Ad Trackers are a tool which can go a long way in helping to answerrepparttar 117659 question 'An Online Business - Do or Don't I

Gary Layton is co-owner of By providing their users the ability to measure and track results connected to a specific ad or advertising media, PathTrax is helping small businesses expand the profits in their bottom line. PathTrax delivers flexible tracking URL's to track Who, Where, When, How Many? All for only pennies per day.,3

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