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san antonio lawyerThe usual deadline to apply for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act was Dec. 15, 2020. It’s now been extended to Aug. 15, 2021.   

Our last several weeks of blog posts have been about health insurance and medical bills. Two weeks ago, we got into the topic of health insurance and bankruptcy. Last week was a Q&A about medical bankruptcy. Today we provide urgent information about the current extended Special Enrollment Period for getting insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Two Key Changes

In the last several months, there have been two major developments with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  First, a Special Enrollment Period allowed people to start health insurance coverage way past the usual December 15, 2020 deadline. Second, the American Rescue Plan Act lowered the cost of monthly premiums under the Affordable Care Act, often significantly.

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san antonio bankruptcy lawyerBeing in debt is not uncommon. According to Bankrate, consumer debt across the United States has reached $14.2 trillion, with the average American being nearly $93,000 in total debt. There are many different types of debt, including credit card debt, student loans, car loans, or personal loans. When you are in debt over your head, you have a couple of options when you are seeking assistance. Both debt settlement and bankruptcy can help you get out of debt, but the method through which they do that could not be any more different.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is an alternative to bankruptcy that may be right for some people. Debt settlement occurs when you or a representative from a debt settlement company contact your creditor to negotiate a settlement amount that is typically much lower than the original amount you owed. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate the settlement so that you are only left responsible for 50 to 70 percent of what your total debt was. The upside to debt settlement is that it is not a legal process. You do not have to file anything with the court. Furthermore, debt settlement does not have the same long-term effect on your creditworthiness as bankruptcy. 

Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can be a much longer and complicated process than debt settlement. Bankruptcy is the process of declaring that you cannot pay your debt and you want the government’s help. There are two different types of consumer bankruptcies: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of your debts and liabilities are forgiven after the bankruptcy is successfully discharged. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debts are reorganized into a payment plan that is manageable for you, while the remaining debt is forgiven at the end of your repayment period. Bankruptcy has a significant impact on your credit score and the bankruptcy stays on your credit report for up to 10 years after the bankruptcy is discharged.

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San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerYou could get 100% of your health insurance paid from April through September 2021 if you lost your employer-based insurance during the pandemic. Last month’s American Rescue Plan Act included the $1,400 stimulus payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and many other benefits. One other lesser-known benefit pays your health insurance if you’ve lost your job and your health insurance with it. Today’s blog post talks about this new free health insurance.

 What is This Health Insurance Benefit?

This benefit could potentially pay your and your family’s entire health insurance premiums for April through September of 2021.  The White House, American Rescue Plan.

That could save you lots of money. You’d save by not having to pay the monthly insurance premiums. You could especially save by having coverage for any health care costs that would arise during this time.

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Posted on in Income Taxes

San Antonio bankruptcy attorney

If you are among the one in four Americans who received unemployment benefits during the pandemic, the IRS is not taxing the first $10,200 of it. 

Unemployment Benefits Are Generally Taxable

As the IRS states plainly, “[i]f you received unemployment compensation during the year, you must include it in gross income.” Unemployment Compensation, IRS Topic No. 418. Furthermore, “unemployment compensation” explicitly includes not just the usual “state unemployment insurance benefits.” It also includes “Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provided under the . . . CARES Act of 2020.” Unemployment Compensation.

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Schertz banruptcy attorney

Paying your stimulus money to various combinations of creditors, in the hopes of avoiding bankruptcy or before a planned one, is dangerous.

Before You Make Decisions That Hurt You

Last week we introduced the radical idea that the best use of your upcoming or already received $1,400 stimulus payment might be to pay for a bankruptcy case. We focused then on how to figure out when you should throw in the towel and decide to file bankruptcy. One clue is if you find yourself making questionable decisions. That can mean that you are starting to feel desperate. Then the bad decisions can turn your situation even worse.

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