Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

emergency-fund-1940x900_36282Today’s top story: When to ditch your state’s health insurance exchange. Also in the news: Tailgating blunders your insurance will pay for, how to handle unexpected financial disasters, and how much next year’s Social Security cost of living increase will be.

When to Ditch Your State’s Health Insurance Exchange
When to look off of the exchanges.

5 Football Tailgating Blunders Insurance Will Pay For
Accidentally grill your car? You’re covered!

No Savings, No Backup Plan, No Fairy Godmother: How to Handle a Financial Disaster
This is why you need an emergency fund.

Next year’s Social Security raise? Less than $4 a month
Lowering your expectations.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

o-BOOMERANG-KIDS-facebookToday’s top story: Why not all debt is bad. Also in the news: An explanation of benefits from your health coverage, why your boomerang kid may be sabotaging your retirement, and why it’s time to have the talk about estate planning.

Not All Debt Is Bad
Debt is getting a bad rap.

Check Your Health Coverage With an Explanation of Benefits
Understanding what you’re entitled to.

Everybody Dies. It’s Time to Have the Talk
Avoiding financial disaster.

Your boomerang kid may be sabotaging your retirement
The Bank of Mom and Dad.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

North-Dakota-Oil-BoomToday’s top story: Habits that can help you build good credit. Also in the news: Lessons from the oil boom and bust, replacing your financial adviser, and how to prepare for the new Obamacare tax form.

4 Habits That Can Help You Build Good Credit
Getting in the habit of building credit.

Five personal finance lessons from the oil boom and bust
What you can learn from the volitaile oil market.

Should You Replace Your Financial Adviser In 2016?
How to tell if you’re getting your money’s worth.

Are you prepared for new Obamacare tax forms?
New year, new tax form.

Q&A: Health insurance subsidies

Dear Liz: We’re living on a very tight budget and often have to put groceries and unexpected expenses on a credit card that’s in my husband’s name only. I have no personal income. My husband is on Medicare, but I’m too young to qualify and need to find low- or no-cost healthcare, (I haven’t had any insurance since 2007.) They are using my husband’s total income and coming up with high rates that are supposed to be lowered by tax credit, but we don’t pay income tax because our income is too low. Should they be using what the IRS considers our income to be? Or could I apply using my zero personal income?

Answer:
By “they,” you presumably mean a health insurance marketplace where you shopped for policies offered by private insurers. HealthCare.gov is the federal marketplace and many states, including California, offer their own. When you shop for a policy through a marketplace, you can qualify for subsidies that can dramatically lower the cost of your coverage.

This subsidy, also known as a premium tax credit, is based on your household income, not your individual income. The tax credit is refundable, which means you get it whether or not you owe federal income taxes, and you can opt to have the subsidy paid in advance to the health insurer to lower your premiums. You don’t have to wait until you file your taxes to get the money back.

You’ll want to act quickly, though, because the penalty for not having coverage is rising. The penalty for 2016 is the greater of $695 per adult or 2.5% of income. You still have a short window to avoid that hit: The enrollment deadline is Jan. 31.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

downloadToday’s top story: There’s been a massive data beach at Anthem Insurance. Also in the news: Personal finance questions that should be answered before you say “I do”. learning your investment vocabulary, and assumptions that could hurt your retirement plans.

Massive breach at health care company Anthem Inc.
As many as 80 million customers have had their personal information stolen.

Personal Finance Questions Before Marriage
Questions to ask before walking down the aisle.

The Many Different Types of Investments, and How They Work
Learning the investment vocabulary.

4 Dangerous Assumptions That Could Hurt Your Retirement Plan
You know what they say about assuming…

7 Home-Selling Mistakes to Avoid
Keeping your sale trouble-free.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: How to save money on your upcoming tax bill. Also in the news: Tracking your wasteful spending, how to get the best deal on car insurance, and why it pays to shop around for Medicare insurance plans.

7 Money-Saving Tips to Cut Your Tax Bill
How to make tax season a little less painful.

How to Track Your Most Ridiculously Wasteful Spending
Shame yourself into frugality.

Here’s How to Get the Best Deal on Car Insurance – Eventually
The older you get, the less you’ll pay.

It pays to shop for Medicare insurance plans
Welcome to open enrollment season.

Parents of special needs kids can bank on trusts
Providing for your child’s needs after you’re gone.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Four questions you need to ask before renewing your health insurance. Also in the news: Retirees share their nest egg regrets, how you may be killing your retirement dreams, and how networking on LinkedIn could cost you a job.

4 questions to ask before renewing health coverage
Preparing for 2015.

Real Retirees Dish: My Biggest Nest Egg Regret
Retirees share their their savings regrets.

5 Ways You’re Killing Your Retirement Dreams
Behaviors that are hurting your financial future.

Could LinkedIn Cost You a Job?
The popular social network can reveal more than you’d like to potential employers.

Should Grandparents Worry About Their Credit?
One word: Yes.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save on your healthcare costs. Also in the news: Planning a successful retirement, how to handle new found wealth, and nine surprising stats on Social Security.

4 Ways to Save on Healthcare Costs
Preparing for January’s change in health care costs.

3 Phases of Successful Retirement Planning
Customizing your retirement planning based on your age.

Inheriting a Windfall: How to Handle Sudden Wealth
What to do once the shock wears off.

Nine surprising Social Security statistics
In 2012, 20% of the United States received Social Security.

Don’t Fall for these Credit, Gift Card Pitfalls and Gotchas
The importance difference between gift cards and pre-paid cards.

A health insurance shopping site that actually works

Health claim formYou don’t have to wait for the federal government to fix the Obamacare Web site to learn about your insurance options.

HealthSherpa is the creation of three guys who actually seem to know how to program. Instead of fighting your way through confusing interfaces, legalese and a long sign-up process, you just type in your Zip Code and bam! Your options start to show up.

HealthSherpa allows you to modify your results by the number of family members and your income (which determines whether you get subsidies to cut the cost–most people do).

HealthSherpa doesn’t have the links to Social Security and the IRS that would allow you to sign up for a plan directly on the site. But it does offer links and phone numbers to insurers that can help you sign up once you pick a plan.

If only Kathleen Sebelius had hired these guys in the first place…

UPDATE: As commenter Kitty notes below, you’ll still need to go through Healthcare.gov to sign up for coverage if you want the subsidies and other cost reductions available through Obamacare. The HealthSherpa site allows you to see and explore your options, which should make signing up a bit easier.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Essential tips for navigating Obamacare. Also in the news: How to boost Millennials’ retirement savings, when couples should separate their finances, and how to monitor your credit after a data breach. Hope

10 Essential Tips for Navigating Obamacare
How to find your way through the Affordable Care Act maze.

The Obamacare Trick Early Retirees Should Know
Subsidies could be a game changer for early retirees.

Two Surest Ways to Boost Millennials’ Retirement Savings
Teaching Millennials’ the importance of planning ahead.

Video: When Should Couples Separate Their Finances?
Navigating personal finances with your spouse.

How to Monitor Your Credit After a Data Breach
Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.