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Tax-free compensation: Health care

When you’re due for a raise, ask your company to get creative in your compensation. There are numerous ways to receive nontaxable compensation. Let’s look at some of the best alternatives to taxable earned income. Any time you can convert taxable income into nontaxable income, you’ve given yourself a raise. And when both you and your company save money, it’s a win-win situation.

For example, health coverage. Health and hospitalization insurance premiums paid by your current or former employer are tax-free — a huge benefit. Let’s say your health insurance premiums come to $280 a month, or $3,360 a year (for an HMO policy for a family of four with a $1,500 deductible). If you’re in the 25% tax bracket and have to pick up the bill, the real cost to you would be $4,480. That’s $3,360 for the premiums and $1,120 for additional income taxes because you’ll be paying for the coverage in after-tax dollars. Having your company pick up the cost helps both of you. Your employer doesn’t have to pay the salary necessary to get you even, and it gets to write off the full cost of the coverage. Plus, neither of you has to pay the 7.65% payroll taxes on the premiums. And you, of course, boost your disposable income substantially.

By Jeff Schnepper, MSN Money

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Health Care Reform Update: June 11, 2010

Health Care Reform Debate Alive and Well: Democrats continue to sell their plan for health care reform to Americans in the face of mixed public opinion, simultaneously battling Republicans pushing for its repeal.

Primary elections were held in 11 states this week as lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C., to face a growing list of unfinished legislative business including a jobs bill and environmental issues stemming from the Gulf crisis. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama launched a public relations campaign to combat skepticism around his new health care reform legislation and to promote the early implementation of certain provisions of the law.

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This Week in Health Care Reform: June 4, 2010

Health Care Reform

As lawmakers complete a week long recess in their home states, Obama administration officials move forward on implementing certain provisions of the health care reform legislation. Recent national polling shows a majority of Americans strongly favor repeal of the law.

As health care reform legislation continues to take shape this year, we encourage you and others to engage members of Congress by visiting the Health Action Network.

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Health Care Reform Myths Vs. Realities

Myth: Higher health care costs are the result of continually rising insurance premiums, inflating the price of health care.

Fact: Just the opposite is true. Because insurance is a means of financing health care, premiums have to track the underlying cost of health care services. Those underlying costs have been rising and insurance premiums have simply kept pace.

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April 2010 – Update on the Health Care Reform

The new federal health care reform law may change how some consumers access health care and health care coverage. Kaiser Permanente is currently working to interpret and implement changes mandated by the new law in accordance with the schedule outlined by Congress. In some cases, like the coverage of adult children, the law calls for the benefit to be offered six months from the date the bill became law. Other provisions of the law will take effect in future years. In almost all cases, the government will need to put new regulations in place before we can make these changes.

Go to kp.org/reform to get detailed information about Kaiser Permanente’s principles and perspective on health care reform.

Kaiser Permanente Makes the Link Between Sustainability and Health

Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to responsible and sustainable construction practices is visible well before foundations are poured for new buildings. When workers demolish old structures, they separate for recycling metals, concrete, asphalt, and other materials. For example, 96 percent of the debris from the demolished buildings at the site of the new Oakland (Calif.) Medical Center was recycled and diverted from landfills.