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Every Man for Himself

April 2014
Michael Thomson, Sr.

Michael Thomson, Sr.

Or, perhaps a more accurate declaration should read: “It’s every individual and every family … for herself, himself, its self!” In the irony of the moment, we are reminded of President Ronald Reagan’s famous quip: “Hi, we’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Well the government is here, “helping” quite like never before, to make sure that everyone is health insured. The result thus far is nothing less than complexity wrapped in confusion. For those who have lost their insurance and/or doctor, it is far worse than that.

It appears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its roughly 30 Executive-Order Amendments and implementation scheme have left most everyone wondering: Am I covered? What kind of coverage do I have? Is my doctor still my doctor? Will my employer-sponsored plan still be in place come October 2015 or 2016? Is it true that my new benefit plan comes with hidden liabilities? How do I determine if “Bronze,” “Silver,” “Gold” or “Platinum” is best for me? What do you mean “hidden liabilities?”

Unless you are employed by a government, a large corporation or not-for-profit organization that received a special exemption, or are protected by a union agreement, in other words, you work for or own a small business, or heretofore have had individual health insurance, you may well want to consider getting professional advice. The rules have changed, and for that matter seem to keep changing, thus far on an average of once a week.

So what do we mean by “everyone for himself, herself, etc.?” More and more, small business employers are inclined to provide dollars to their employees to purchase their own coverage. So what once was not taxable to the employee (the employer’s portion of the premium) will now be taxable income and the premiums are not likely to be deductible. Harder still perhaps, employees will now be tasked with buying something they do not fully understand: benefits not as rich as they once were, not as easily quantifiable and, “hidden liabilities.” For employers, what once was a tool to recruit, retain, reward and, yes, build loyalty will no longer exist.

If there’s one thing we do know: uncertainty creates difficulty for running a small business. Ironically, the only thing certain about the ACA is its uncertainty. Our hope and no doubt, the hope of our professional colleagues throughout the state and the nation, is to help all of our clients truly navigate this law and its ever-changing aspects. We encourage our readers to seek the same.

Donohue • Hart • Thomson Financial Group, 104 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014, 410-803-0160, 410-893-6573. Investment Advisor Representative with and Securities offered through Founders Financial Securities, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC. I95

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