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Micronation Benefits and Insurance

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Micronation Benefits and Insurance

Benefits for a Micronation

There are 203 sovereign states in the world today, according to the United Nations. Citizens of these recognized nations enjoy the benefits of accepted, transferrable currency, the freedom to travel with official passports, a government voice in global politics, and more. Micronations are unrecognized country projects and model territory claims that attempt to survive outside of, and often in spite of, the rule of parent countries.

The first formal micronations have been traced back to the 19th century and statehood creation has become increasingly popular since the advent of the internet. Micronations vary so widely that the only true defining link across all groups is the lack of official recognition. Rulers and citizens of micronations face unique challenges, including the lack of conventional passports, unrecognized currency, and the difficulty of finding benefits and insurance for dual citizens.

Explore the wide range of ideologies, locations, legality, size, and tolerance with a list of 5 distinctive micronations below:

  1. Atlantium

Atlantium was originally founded in New South Wales, Australia in 1981 by three teenagers in pursuit of unrestricted international freedoms and personal rights. The politically-based micronation gained support from pledged online citizens from over 100 countries who championed the right to abortion, freedom of movement, assisted suicide, and other foundational rights.

The shape of the state has transformed many times and the micronation now functions as a fully-online, non-territorial claim for dual citizens.

  1. Liberl and

The Free Republic of Liberl and was founded in 2015 by activist Vit Jedlička to claim a 2.7 sq mi wide parcel of disputed l and between Croatia and Serbia. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, international borders have been widely disputed and the founder raised a flag to claim the uninhabited l and.

With the motto ‘To Live and Let Live,’ the unofficial state is currently accepting applications for citizenship and approximately 30 citizens have been inducted along with a provisional government. Most state business is conducted outside of the claimed region due to the difficulty of border crossing with neighboring parent countries.

  1. Westarctica

Unlike most micronations that are forced to compete with sovereign states for l and claims, Westarctica pursues sovereignty over a parcel of unclaimed l and on western Antarctica. The micronation was founded in 2001 with an established royal government that ruled from abroad.

In 2014, Westarctica shifted its focus and filed to become a legally recognized nonprofit in the state of California. Today, the online citizens and activists campaign against ecocide and polar ice depletion.

  1. Republic of West Who

Inspired by the whimsy and joy of Doctor Seuss, West Who is a micronation in California that stakes claim to .02 acres of l and. The micronation is passionate about space and planet exploration and maintains an active counter-intelligence spy agency.

Stamps and e-passports are the primary source of revenue and the micronation has reported a small budget surplus with no national debt. According to the president, West Who dual citizens have some of the highest GHI (gross happiness index) ratings in the world and the lowest unemployment rates.

  1. Republic of Molossia

Molossia is a decidedly trivial micronation that exists peacefully within the United States and pays taxes to its parent country. President Kevin Baugh founded the nation in 1977 and all three of the tiny claimed territories are under his family homes. Including dogs, there are only 34 citizens and the country’s proposed currency, the valora, hinges on the value of Pillsbury cookie dough.

The micronation is more than 12,000 days into a proposed war with East Germany, even though the country has not existed since 1991. Molossia primarily exists online for profit and amusement with the sale of war bonds, coins, stamps, and merch andise.

Although unrecognized dual (or full) citizenship in a micronation comes with its challenges, there can also be distinct benefits. Susman Insurance offers specialized insurance benefits for micronations with competitive rates and no network restrictions. Custom micronation benefit packages can cover citizens with the following premium services:

  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Aflac Expense Benefits
  • Savings Plans

 

Benefit packages are available for micronation citizens with open enrollment and we can also help create state-sponsored or state-paid savings plans and insurance programs. Micronation insurance benefits are distinctly different than sovereign states. At Susman Insurance, we underst and and respect your purpose. Get in touch today to learn more about insurance and savings plan options for your citizens with no underwriting.

Reach out to us today!

Brandon Talks Critical Illness

From Br andon:

Twelve years ago, I finally opened the business of my dreams.  After decades stuck inside an office, I was able to leave it all behind for a now thriving coffee house.

From day one, it was perfect.  Sure there were some struggles here and there, but nothing that killed my spirit or deterred my motivation.  The location was perfect and my business quickly became crowded with ‘regulars’ every day.  A dream come true!

Unfortunately, only three years into my new business, my health wasn’t doing as well as my business. I had a stroke before leaving my home one morning.  Thankfully my wife noticed me acting different prior to the onset of the stroke, so when it happened, emergency responders were already on the way and the aftermath wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  However, I still had astronomical medical expenses for the incident itself, as well as financial burden for aftercare and further treatment.

Anyone else I know would have been extremely worried about this situation.  Dealing with the medical issue is bad enough, but how do you cope with the financial stress and stay healthy at the same time?

You do it by having Critical Illness Insurance part of your policy plan. 

Prior to opening my coffee house, I met with my insurance agent to discuss the exact coverage and policies I needed to protect my family and protect my business.  He suggested I add Critical Illness along with Disability and Life Insurance.  Had I ignored that suggestion, my situation would have been much worse.  Because I took his advice and had Critical Illness Insurance, I received a cash payment that allowed me to cover all of the remaining medical expenses, lost wages, and keep the coffee house form sinking until I could get back to work. My wife and I carefully planned and budgeted and were able to make it through my extended medical treatment plan with only a small amount of out-of-pocket expense.

I still have the coffee house.  I still have Critical Illness Insurance. 

I wouldn’t choose to live without either of them.

Critical dollar

 

 

 

Small Business Tax Credit

Small employers who provide health insurance coverage to their employees may not realize they can claim a federal income tax credit on their 2010 filing, due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Unfortunately, a very low percentage of qualified business owners are taking advantage of this credit according to recent government reports. Even if companies have completed their 2010 filing, they can still submit an amended filing to request this tax credit.

Eligibility Rules
Small group employers must meet the following guidelines to be eligible for this federal income tax credit1. The requirements are a combination of three factors related to the business – size of their company, percentage of health care coverage they provide, and total wages paid.

  • Firm size. First, there are restrictions on the number of employees that an employer may have. A qualifying employer must have less than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers when totaling all individuals’ hours of employment. When all part-time and full-time hours of employment are combined and divided by a full time 40 hour week, and if the number of employees needed to cover the total hours is less than 25 employees, the employer will qualify for the credit.
  • Provide health care coverage. Secondly, the employer must confirm that they cover at least 50 percent of the cost of health care coverage for their employees. To determine this, the firm size equivalent number determined above must be used. Next, the employer must know the cost they pay to cover a single full time employee’s insurance premium. The employer must then make the following calculation:
    • Equivalent firm size multiplied by (X) the cost paid for an individual premium and divided by (/) two.  
    • The above calculation is the percentage of health care coverage that the employer must cover in order to qualify for the credit. Therefore, they do not have to pay full coverage for each employee. They could reach the required premium with some full coverage and some partial coverage of employees.
  • Total Wages Paid. Finally, there are wage restrictions on the qualifications.
    • Employers with 10 or fewer Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, paying annual average wages of $25,000 or less will receive the maximum credit of 35 percent.
    • Employers with greater than 10 and fewer than 25 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, paying annual average wages of less than $50,000 will also receive the minimum credit of 35 percent of premiums paid.
    • All tax-exempt organizations that meet either of the above criteria can only claim the minimum credit of 25 percent of premiums paid.

As the IRS states: “The credit is completely phased out for employers that have 25 or more FTEs or that pay average wages of $50,000 or more per year. Because the eligibility rules are based in part on the number of FTEs, not the number of employees, employers that use part-time workers may qualify even if they employ more than 25 individuals.2

  • Amount of credit and years available.

As stated by the IRS: “Small businesses can claim the credit for 2010 though 2013 and for any two years after that. For tax years 2010 to 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible small businesses and 25 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations. Beginning in 2014, the maximum tax credit will increase to 50 percent of premiums paid by eligible small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.2

  • More information. Please visit the FAQ section on the IRS website as there are several examples listed and helpful questions and answers pertaining to different circumstances.

Claiming the Credit

  • Small employers, whether businesses or tax-exempt organizations, will use the new Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, to calculate the small business health care tax credit.
  • For-profit small businesses will include the amount of the credit as part of the general business credit on their income tax returns.
  • Tax-exempt organizations will include the amount of the credit on Line 44f of revised Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. Form 990-T has been revised for the 2011 filing season to enable eligible tax-exempt organizations, even those that owe no tax on unrelated business income, to claim the small business health care tax credit.

For your interest: In an Analysis of the Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit and Effects on Coverage conducted by the Committee on Small Business Democrats U.S. House of Representatives, a document was created showing the Impact of Health Care Tax Credit, by State. Please take a look at this document, as it pertains to the small group market in each individual state.

In order to make this information easier to communicate to your clients, BenefitMall has provided a client letter explaining the details above – Small Business Tax Credit. Please feel free to add your personal contact information to better utilize this component with your clients.

For further details on this opportunity for your valued customers, please visit the IRS website. Here the IRS provides form 8941 filing instructions, an informational video as well as a useful FAQ. Also, for further assistance with specific questions which cannot be answered in the information or links provided above, please click here for a state-by-state IRS Taxpayer Assistance guide.

Healthcare Reform updates

In a recent sit down in Washington, regulators and policymakers from several key agencies and associations sat down to discuss several issues.  Amongst those issues discussed were:

Several common themes emerged during the meetings:

  • Timelines
    • Both the public and private sector policy experts appear to be genuinely concerned about addressing PPACA’s quick timelines for implementation. Beyond the politics, there appears to be an apolitical sentiment that we need to move more slowly. However, the regulators would need additional legislative or regulatory guidance to change the major timelines that were established through PPACA statutory requirements.  
  • Exchanges1
    • Most states are busy sorting out the governance structure of the public exchanges and beginning to identify some of the key exchange operational elements in 2011.
    • PPACA authorizes a variety of options related to how the exchange models can be configured ranging from the Massachusetts’ “active purchaser” model to Utah’s “all comers” approach.  
    • The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange concept appears to be a legislative after-thought and more details need to be sorted out.
    • The same rating rules should be implemented both inside and outside each public exchange to help avoid adverse selection.
    • Tracking eligibility for individuals and families overtime is going to be a challenge and might generate privacy concerns.
    • Policymakers were very interested in learning more about how private exchanges, such as BenefitMall, have been successful.
  • Benefits
    • The definition of the essential benefit package(s) offered through the exchanges will have a profound impact on PPACA’s ultimate success.
    • Existing and future federal/state m andated benefits will likely be unaffordable.
    • After the BenefitMall meetings, regulators appear to have a greater underst anding of the wide range of current benefit offerings (which supports the premise that one size does not fit all.)
  • Funding
    • Many of PPACA’s original cost estimates were not accurate.
    • Significant cost and implementation challenges lie ahead – both at the state and federal levels.
    • The threat of de-funding PPACA and the ongoing budget battles are having a chilling effect on some regulatory activities.
  • Underst anding the Market
    • There appears to be a greater appreciation of how PPACA could help and hurt the private sector.
    • More attention needs to be devoted to the impact of PPACA’s insurance market reforms.  
    • Regulators are interested in learning more about local market purchasing trends from experts like BenefitMall.
  • Supporting the Consumer2
    • Meeting participants appear to recognize that inexperienced Navigators (a concept embedded in PPACA) should not replace the role of a licensed broker.

o A greater awareness of the backend support services is more apparent, including the need for a broker’s services to help consumers answer health questions.

Current PPACA activities in the pipeline include:

  • On Thursday, Representatives Mike Rogers and John Barrow introduced legislation to exempt broker compensation from the medical loss ratio calculations.
  • A myriad of funding and defunding measures continue to wind their way through the halls of Congress.
  • Health care providers continue to wait for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to publish regulations governing accountable care organizations (ACOs).
  • The Institute of Medicine is currently studying how PPACA’s Essential Benefit packages should be designed.3
  • State activity continues to heat up with almost 500 bills recently introduced in the majority states which reference PPACA’s state-based exchanges.4
  • The five court cases challenging PPACA’s individual m andate will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.5
  • With Republicans beginning to announce their intention to run for President, the 2012 campaign season will begin shortly – which will provide an opportunity to re-evaluate PPACA’s insurance market pre-suppositions and legislative policy goals.
  • Congress is still addressing the repeal of the 1099 reporting requirements.6
  • With 42 out of 100 Senators firmly opposed to the nomination of Don Berwick as CMS Administrator, President Obama will likely need to consider new c andidates since 60 senators must vote for the nomination.

Interestingly, this week HHS Chief Sibelius again signaled more flexibility in how the states can implement PPACA. However, Republicans continue to complain that they are not seeing enough follow-up to these promises.7

1. BenefitMall’s Issue Brief on Exchanges at https://www.benefitmall.com/PORTAL/Portals/0/BenefitMall Brief.pdf

2. Unfortunately, many policy experts still believe that offering an online web portal will be enough to empower employers and individuals to make a health insurance purchasing decision.  This is just not the case.

3. http://www.iom.edu/Activities/HealthServices/EssentialHealthBenefits.aspx

4. Based upon Westlaw search run on March 17, 2011 (Search Terms “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and “Exchanges” used in the same bill).

5. http://www.healthcareexchange.com/blog/michael-gomes/eleventh-circuit-court-appeals-hear-vinson-case-declared-ppaca-unconstitutional

6. https://www.benefitmall.com/PORTAL/Portals/0/Legislative Alert/20101029LegislativeAlert.pdf

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51269.html

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