Your Insurance Solution

How to Avoid Email Phishing Scams

Unscrupulous sellers of bogus health plans and those gathering contact information for non-existent health ID cards, have pocketed millions of dollars across the country. Research everything carefully before you give away any personal informaion or invest in any health plans. You want to avoid anyone trying to sell you discount cards or limited benefit plans, or they may try to overcharge for premiums. In some cases, they may even try to sell fake health plans that may seem real but have no value.

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed into law, health insurance scams are now everywhere. With that said, warns Marketplace consumers to beware of email phishing scams. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recently reported phishing emails claim to come from a U.S. Federal Government Agency and reference the Affordable Care Act in the subject line. If you get one of these emails or any other questionable emails, delete it immediately.

Here are more ways to stop scams:

  • Don’t click on links or download attachments from unknown sources. Rather, you can go to your carrier’s website or to

  • Don’t give any personal information such as username, password, bank account number,  or Social Security number by email.

  • Keep your antivirus software up-to-date.

The Marketplace aims to protect your information in accordance with the law. To get additional tips on how to avoid scams, click here.

Why Small Businesses Should Invest in Employee Health

Good health is priceless. For small business owners, employee wellness should be a priority. Whether you have fewer or thousands of workers, paying attention to their health can prevent and manage disabilities that can make or break productivity at work.

Investing in employee health and encouraging regular exercise can lower the risk of developing chronic conditions and may substantially impact in employer’s cost. Research from the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center reveals that you can get results from as little as 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. If you intend to cut your health care bills, a wellness program can help, as well as gentle nudges to urge them to sit less and move more, take the stairs instead of the elevator, pack a healthy lunch, and so on.

Moreover, prevention is in everyone’s interest. Employers can also promote smoke-free workplace and nutrition classes, preventive screenings to monitor blood pressure and cholesterol, and health-risk assessment. Make sure your employees get annual wellness checkups since the Affordable Care Act allows free wellness visits for employees and their dependents.

Having a wellness program tailored to your business will eventually bring gains on the company’s balance sheet without you noticing. If you are a savvy entrepreneur believing in wellness and want to take steps in improving workforce safety and health, contact us today.

What You Need to Know About Health Insurance and Taxes

Did you know that your coverage may affect your taxes? When filing your federal income taxes, here’s what you need to know:

  • You’ll get a new form (1095-A) in the mail by early February. This form includes monthly premiums you paid to your health plan and the advanced payments of the premium tax credits paid to your health plan in 2014.

  • Your 2014 premium tax credit is based on your final income for the year. If you have used less advance payments of the premium tax credits, it will be credited on your tax return. If you took more advance payments than you’re eligible for, you may be required to pay the difference with your tax return.

  • Use form 8965 if you didn’t have health coverage for 2014. If you were uninsured earlier in the year and your coverage started part way through 2014, you’ll need to fill out this form to know if you qualify for an exemption from paying fees for the months you didn’t have coverage.

  • If you didn’t have existing coverage and didn’t get an exemption, you may need to pay a fee with your federal tax return.

  • For those having 2014 heath coverage from a job, Medicare, Medicaid, or a plan outside the Marketplace, you won’t receive Form 1095-A.

Tax Tips for Small Businesses



Filing taxes can be overwhelming for small business owners. If you still haven’t filed your tax returns this year, here are some tips to consider to ensure you don’t get audited.

Be honest. If you slip into the gray area, this would affect your integrity. Be sure to stay on the right track. You shouldn’t have any problems as long as you keep it straightforward.

Hire a professional. Aside from getting help from a bookkeeper, you can hire a tax professional to file your taxes. They know all the rules, regulations, and deductions and can save you from making costly mistakes and penalties. They will also evaluate for accuracy and check your records for discrepancies. In finding a good tax professional, start by asking someone you trust for their recommendations.

Keep track of everything in a log. There are many ways to organize your records and books. Keep every receipt and develop a functional filing system to make it easier and faster for you to file your returns come tax season. Take a good look at your financial statements.  You can utilize an accounting software system such as Freshbooks or QuickBooks for all your invoicing and payables. A bookkeeper can help you do exactly just that.  Moreover, paperwork should be labelled accordingly so you’ll know when to find it when you speak with your accountant. It might be a little late to do this now but be sure to set it up for next year.

Ask questions. If you are confused about anything tax-related, a reliable preparer will be more than happy to help savvy business owners and entrepreneurs. So don’t be afraid to ask.
3 Strategies to Improve Employee Health

Healthcare costs have been rising each year. A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits are just some of the culprits and as an employer, you can gain competitive advantage by improving employee health. It’s no secret that healthy employees are more productive. To make them more efficient and creative, here are some wellness practices we’ve discovered on Entrepreneur:

Take impromptu walks. People with desk jobs are more predisposed to cardiovascular disease as compared to those with “standing” jobs. Aside from providing healthy snacks and lunch, that spur-of-the moment walk can save you.

Healthy commutes. Traffic and prolonged sitting in the car is a common scenario - and employers recognize this. Consider giving commuting allowances, like what Kaiser Permanente offer their employees, or encourage riding a bike to work, just like what Google is implementing.

Longer maternity leave. As a major life event, your employees will appreciate it more if you provide decent maternity leave and care options. This will prevent them from feeling overstressed and allow them to perform to their full potential.

These are just some of the initiatives you should consider to control healthcare costs and build a more productive workforce. You can also develop new ways of working and help your employees achieve balance between work and the rest of their lives. 

The Water Tower 5331 SW Macadam, Suite 260, Portland, OR 97239 Email: Phone: 503.972.4285 Fax: 503.972.4284