Sep 30

Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers Have More Time to Replace Livestock

From the IRS, but I know that this applies to a few clients of mine, so I wanted to re-post here:

WASHINGTON — Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought, like the drought currently affecting much of the nation, have an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

Farmers and ranchers who due to drought sell more livestock than they normally would may defer tax on the extra gains from those sales. To qualify, the livestock generally must be replaced within a four-year period. The IRS is authorized to extend this period if the drought continues.

The one-year extension of the replacement period announced today generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes due to drought. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, and poultry are not eligible.

The IRS is providing this relief to any farm located in a county, parish, city, borough, census area or district, listed as suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), during any weekly period between Sept. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015. All or part of 48 states and Puerto Rico are listed. Any county contiguous to a county listed by the NDMC also qualifies for this relief.

As a result, farmers and ranchers in these areas whose drought sale replacement period was scheduled to expire at the end of this tax year, Dec. 31, 2015, in most cases, will now have until the end of their next tax year. Because the normal drought sale replacement period is four years, this extension immediately impacts drought sales that occurred during 2011. But because of previous drought-related extensions affecting some of these localities, the replacement periods for some drought sales before 2011 are also affected. Additional extensions will be granted if severe drought conditions persist.

Sep 29

Another cancellation of health insurance

BlueCross BlueShield Cancellation2I received this notification in the mail yesterday. This is the 3rd plan that I have had in 3 years, which is in direct contrast to the one plan I had for the three years prior to the individual requirement enforced by the Affordable Care Act.

As you can see from the attached image, my plan is being discontinued. I assume this is a direct result of Obamacare and the requirement for minimum coverage, which would include maternity coverage (I am a single male), pediatric services (no kids), and mental health and substance use services (no addictions or needs here, either), among others. I would also like to point out that I have not visited a doctor for any services in the past four years, so my chosen catastrophic coverage (which was cancelled three years ago) was exactly what I needed.

Lastly, I will point to the financial costs: When I started my own practice in 2011, my chosen health insurance coverage was $109/month. When that policy was cancelled for non-compliance in 2014, the new premium went to $134/month. My current policy, which is the one cancelled above, is currently $201.16/month. I assume that any new coverage I am able to get on a qualified policy will be at least $230/month for next year. This is more than double in three years; a time when inflation (or CPI) shows that cost of living should have only increased about 11%.

Just count me as another person who is not happy with the ACA because I did not get to keep the plan I liked, I did not see $2,500 in savings, and I am having to pay for services I do not need and, in fact, cannot use.

Sep 10

Update on SoonerCare/Medicaid changes for Oklahoma

There are changes to the physical qualification standards for people qualifying for Medicaid in Oklahoma. These changes will go into effect on October 1, 2015. If you know of someone who needs nursing home care, or if you anticipate such a need in your immediate family, you should review these qualifications.

From an email I received from Travis Smith, Assistant General Counsel to OK DHS.

“Oklahoma will stop being a § 209b state on 10/1/15, and will begin using SSI rules to determine Medicaid eligibility for people who are aged, blind, or disabled (ABD).

In most states, a person found eligible for SSI is automatically eligible for Medicaid and does not have to file a separate Medicaid application. These states, called “1634 states,” have an agreement with the Social Security Administration, which makes SSI eligibility determinations, to also determine Medicaid eligibility.

Oklahoma is not becoming a 1634 state. An ABD person will not automatically receive Medicaid if they receive an SSI payment. They will still have to apply for Medicaid with DHS and have their eligibility recertified every year.  For people applying for Long-Term Care, such as nursing home or ADvantage services, DHS will still determine if the person is medically eligible.”

As a reminder, there are basically three tests to qualify for SoonerCare services: 1. Physical need (the determination of which is what is being changed); 2. Resource availability; 3. Income limitations.