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Blog pieces written by Principal Agents David Taxer and Chris Wang

Martin Lewin Health and Life Insurance Agent Portland Oregon Free Online Quotes

Chris Wang, President


CoverOregon, the state’s attempt at running a state-based exchange, never really got off the ground and was canceled after one year.

Oregonians who want to purchase health insurance and use Federal Subsidies to help pay the cost will need to use the Federal Marketplace to verify their subsidy eligibility, but not necessarily to purchase their coverage.

Most people probably heard of the horrific experiences consumers had last year trying to purchase insurance through the Federal Marketplace. It was a nightmare. Many people just gave up and went without insurance. However, with the penalty for not having insurance more than tripling for 2015, that’s not a good option.

Fortunately, agents and brokers, like the highly trained health insurance experts that make up our agency, are here to help consumers through the process – AT NO COST TO YOU!

One of our agents will walk you through the process, step-by-step to help you find the best plan for your needs and budget, and assist you in applying for your subsidy and completing the application for insurance. We make the process easy and stress-free for you, by doing most of the work for you. We’ll help you get the largest subsidy you qualify for. For some people that means being able to get insurance AT NO COST. That’s right, with our help you might be able to get FREE HEALTH INSURANCE.

Don’t take a chance on fouling up the application and ending up having to pay a high tax penalty because your application didn’t go through, missing out on thousands of dollars in subsidies that you are entitled to, or getting a plan that doesn’t allow you to go to the doctors you want.


If you have less than 50 employees, the answer is probably no.

While it is true that small employers can get a tax break for paying all or part of the cost of employees health insurance, the amount of the tax break is on a sliding scale and only lasts for a couple of years.

You may be hurting your employees by offering them health insurance.

Here are some facts to consider:

  1. Group insurance is about the most expensive insurance there is.
  2. If you offer it to your employees and don’t pay enough of the premium, they probably won’t take it, and you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and effort arranging for coverage that your company won’t generate the minimum participation levels needed for the policy to go into effect.
  3. If you do pay enough of the cost of your employee's coverage to keep them from getting coverage on the exchange, your employee may be stuck without any good options to get coverage for their family, unless you want to pay for that too.
  4. Many small employers have found that both their employees and their bottom line benefit when they let their employees get health insurance for themselves and their families on the exchange, usually with subsidies. Instead of providing health insurance, the employer provides much lower cost ancillary benefits like life insurance, disability, and vision coverage; all benefits that employees value and add to employee morale and retention and provide them with more benefits. It will end up costing your employees less overall.

    11/5/2014 Martin Lewin, Agent

    A lot of people, from politicians to simple folk, have talked about rolling back Obamacare if the Republicans took over the Senate and got a bigger majority in the House of Representatives, which they have just done. So what can we expect? Will we still be required to have health insurance in 2015?

    The bottom line is that almost nothing will change for at least two years. Any attempt by the Republicans to make any significant change to Obamacare will be vetoed by the President, and the Republicans don’t have enough of a majority to override a veto.

    Beyond that fact, and all the rhetoric from the politicians, the truth is that polls are showing that as more and more previously uninsured Americans are getting good health coverage, many for the first time, this is becoming a more popular law. It’s not easy to do away with the law, especially when people have decided they like the law after all. The longer this law stays on the books, and the more popular it becomes, the less likely it is that any significant changes will be made to it, even if the Republicans were to eventually control the Presidency as well.

    So what does that mean to you? It means if you do not have health insurance with Minimum Essential Benefits in 2015, you will face penalties more than three times higher than they were in 2014. If you don’t want to see your tax dollars going to pay for someone else’s health insurance, call today to see if you qualify for a tax subsidy of your own, and keep your tax dollars at home, paying for your own health insurance.

The cost of not having health insurance is going up. It is important that consumers understand the tax penalties, so they can make smart decisions about what health insurance to purchase.

The IRS is using the old “carrot and stick” approach. The carrot being subsidies for most people to help them buy health insurance, and the stick is high penalties if they don’t.

In 2014, the penalty was only $95 or 1% of Adjusted Gross Income, per adult, and half that amount per child. For 2015, the tax penalty for not having a Qualified Health Plan, one that meets Minimum Essential Coverage standards, is going to be much higher. The 2015 penalty is $325, or 2% of Adjusted Gross Income, whichever is HIGHER, per adult, and half that for children under 18.

So if you have a family of 5, with an adjusted gross income of $110,000 per year, and your family went without insurance for the entire year, your penalty for the year would be $7,700. That’s $2,200 for each adult and $1,100 per child.

The good news is that for many people, qualified health plans are very affordable. The same family above, that would face a high tax penalty for not having insurance, would actually qualify for a government subsidy to help them pay the cost of health insurance.

Here’s a calculator to help you determine if you qualify for a subsidy. Whether you qualify for a subsidy or not, one of our knowledgeable agents will be able to help you find the perfect plan for your needs and budget.

Health Insurance Subsidy Calculator

Health Insurance Rates on the Health Exchange

Important Update: There are two important points I want to add that could potentially save people thousands of dollars a year.

Something not often reported are people who are exempt from the mandate. For some folks who don’t qualify for subsidies and are stricken with sticker shock, this should be investigated. You are exempt from the law if the cost of the lowest priced Bronze plan is more than 8% of you household Modified Adjusted Gross Income. This is not uncommon for people in their late 50s and early 60's, or younger tobacco users, earning over 400% of the federal poverty limit.

If that is your situation, you have three main options. You can do without insurance completely, which is never a good idea, especially if you’re over 50 and have significant financial assets at risk should you incur large medical bills not covered by insurance. You can get a catastrophic plan, and pay almost as much as a Bronze plan. Or you can get a 6-month policy, which you can apply for another 6-month policy when that runs out, that is a fraction of the price of an Obamacare plan, and provides benefits similar to what major medical was before Obamacare. There are some caveats even to doing that, but one of our health insurance experts can explain all those options more fully.

Another important point that Nick missed is that unlike last year, most plans available on the Healthcare.gov exchange this year DO NOT include pediatric dental coverage. However, the law still requires that if you have children on the plans, you MUST have pediatric dental for your coverage to be considered to be Minimum Essential Coverage. If you do not have MEC, you could be subject to tax penalties, and if you used tax subsidies to lower the cost of the coverage that did not meet MEC standards, you might find yourself not only paying tax penalties but also having to pay back the subsidy you received. And if you purchase off the exchange, your plan has to include pediatric dental, even if you don’t have children.

It costs nothing to work with a knowledgeable agent or broker and could save you thousands of dollars.  Our agents are paid flat fees for the health insurance they assist clients with applying for. They make the same amount whether you spend $100 a month on health insurance, or $1,000 a month. So they have no incentive to try to sell you a more expensive plan. In fact, their incentive is to try to save you as much money as possible, so you’ll recommend them to you friends, and they can make more sales.

We specialize in showing clients how by buying much lower cost health plans, and supplementing those plans with some specific extra benefits, to eliminate your risks for the things that are most likely to happen to you, you end up with much better overall coverage, at a much lower cost. We help you get more bang for your insurance buck!

Portland Benefits Group
4520 SW Water Ave #205, Portland, OR 97239
  1-888-244-2805- info@portlandbenefitsgroup.com

Don’t take a chance on fouling up the application and ending up having to pay a high tax penalty because your application didn’t go through, missing out on thousands of dollars in subsidies that you are entitled to, or getting a plan that doesn’t allow you to go to the doctors you want.