Health Insurance For Solo Entrepreneurs

One of the most important benefits employed people enjoy is health insurance coverage. It is also the single most costly expense for self-employed entrepreneurs. So what can you do to reduce ever increasing costs of health care coverage? Here are a few tips.

1. If a medical bill seems excessive, try negotiating

Your doctor or the office manager who handles billing will probably be flexible, provided you make a valid case. When one woman in Texas was charged $900 for surgery and “consultation,” she explained that she had visited the hospital just once, for surgery; her bill was promptly cut by $370.

2.. Contact a medical bill “auditor”

Several services have a medical bill “auditing” system that evaluates your medical bills to determine if errors occurred in the billing process. Considering that 97 percent of hospital medical bills contain errors, it’s no wonder why out-of-pocket medical expenses are on the rise for consumers. Because the typical hospital bill is extremely complicated, often containing several hundred line-item charges, there is ample opportunity for computer mistakes and accidental human error. Do a Google search for medical bill auditors to find companies offering this service.

3. You may get a tax break on your medical bills

Keep all your medical bills together and add them up at tax time. If they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you may deduct the excess. Please note that these items also may be included in the total: the cost of eye glasses, contact lenses, physical therapy, x-rays, hearing aids, psychiatric care, insurance and transportation to the hospital or doctor’s office (at 30 cents a mile). There are phase-outs in some cases based on adjusted gross income. Check with your professional tax adviser.

4. Deduct 100% of your healthcare costs from your taxes

The IRS allows all self-employed to deduct 100% of health care costs from their taxes by using Section 105 of the Internal Revenue Code. To receive this deduction, you must do the following:

a) Hire your spouse as an employee of your business.

b) Have your spouse receive health insurance in his or her name, and include the family on the policy.

c) Pay your spouse a salary that will cover the costs of the insurance.

d) Talk to your tax professional about planning for Section 105 on your taxes.

We all know your spouse is active in your business. Now, you can equally recognize their contribution he or she makes – and get Uncle Sam to give you a tax break.

5. Help for families with kids — CHIP

All states have established new programs that help lower income families with children to pay for health insurance for their kids. Financed partly by the federal government, the Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) operate either as an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program or a subsidy for basic private health insurance. Eligible families may be able to access coverage for their children at greatly reduced premiums which will vary depending upon family income. Contact your state Department of Health or Insurance for more information

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