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 Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

Some of you might remember last winter whenI shared my son’s story about being diagnosed with an osteochondral defect in his right knee. Now I know in the scope of things- this was a very minor condition from which we knew he would make full recovery. At the time we weren’t sure if that path was going to take the form of surgery or just rest and inactivity. So many of you left kind and thoughtful comments about your own experiences with bone lesions, and so I wanted to give you an update and let you know how things turned out!

Crutches Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

After three months of rest and sitting out of sports, gym, and even playing-around-outside activities, X-Rays were showing that the bone was not healing very much at all. So we were referred to a orthopedic surgeon. (Well- several actually- we saw two before deciding on which one to use). And while I prepared myself for the possibility that Spencer would need surgery to improve blood flow to the area, the doctor decided that he wanted to try an off-loading brace first. It helps to take the pressure off of the knee which helps to reduce the pain. And pretty much from the time that Spencer started wearing the off-loading brace, he became pain free.

Knee Brace Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

Every month we would return for another set of X-Rays, and each time it showed that the bone was barely showing any improvement in repairing itself. But the doctor did not want to put Spencer through surgery if he wasn’t in any pain- so at about 5 months in- he gave us an option. He would agree to allow Spencer to start resuming activities- gym class, swimming, playing basketball with his siblings in the driveway (but no soccer) and he could stop wearing the off-loading brace. If the pain came back- then we would proceed with surgery. If there was still no pain, we would keep monitoring the bone with monthly X-rays.

So life for Spencer started getting back to normal….

Pool1 500x387 Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

And every month thereafter, X-Rays would show that his bone was healing quickly! I asked the doctor if perhaps the reason it was finally healing was because allowing Spencer to be active was causing improved blood flow to the area, and he told me that while it certainly seemed that way, the body of research done on these osteochondral defects would indicate otherwise. But either way….. Spencer was cleared to play football this season…

spencer football qb 500x339 Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

And this made him so very happy. (That’s him #4-the quarterback!)

Last week we returned to the doctor for a post-football-season follow up visit, just to make sure that the lesion was completely healed and his knee looked perfect. It’s completely gone.

trips to nyc Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

A very happy boy on the train ride home after getting the good news!

Gratitude

So am I grateful that we found this fantastic orthopedic surgeon that didn’t rush to surgery and allowed his gut to guide us to the right course of treatment? You bet I am. But I am also enormously grateful that our family has such great health insurance. That covered the costs of the umpteen-gazillion X-Rays, the MRI, the physical therapy sessions, the doctor visits, the made-to-fit-special-order off-loading brace. I can’t imagine what the out-of-pocket expenses would have been, but it definitely would have topped $20,000!

Which is why I feel very fortunate that every American has access to health care now. The Affordable Care Act (known as “Obamacare”) is designed to ensure everyone has health insurance and imposes tax penalties on those who don’t. Since 2014 is the first year all Americans are required to maintain health insurance, we will all be reporting it on our taxes in April!

Some Things to Know About Healthcare and Taxes

Taxpayers will fall into three categories when it comes to ACA and taxes: those insured through an employer, those insured through health care exchanges, and those who are uninsured. Here’s what you need to know:

The Insured:

For most people (9 out of 10 taxpayers), complying with the ACA on taxes is a non-event because they have insurance through their employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or a private provider. They will just check a box on their tax return to confirm they have health insurance. 

Insured through Exchanges:

This year 8 million people became insured through healthcare.gov or their state exchange. Those who purchased insurance through the exchanges will receive a 1095-A form from healthcare.gov or their state exchange. They will enter information from their 1095-A on their taxes, just like they do with their W-2 forms.

The Uninsured:

Roughly 42 million people are uninsured in America. Those who do not have insurance and don’t qualify for exemptions will pay a penalty of about $95 or about 1% of their income.

Turbo Tax can Help

If you don’t have health insurance, TurboTax has a free calculator to estimate how much your penalty may be for 2014. The health care penalty is based on your family size and income. Now it’s important to know that about half of people that are uninsured could qualify for an exemption, but most people are unaware and will end up paying unnecessary penalties. So far only 5% of people that qualify for an exemption have applied.

There are a number of reasons why someone may be exempt from the penalty for not having health insurance, like not meeting the minimum income requirement. TurboTax Health offers free tools to help you understand if you might qualify for an exemption.

To enroll for insurance through the Marketplace for 2015, Americans must sign up during open enrollment period, November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. Americans who can’t afford health care through an employer or out of pocket, can enroll for insurance through the Marketplace and may even qualify for government assistance though premium tax credits and subsidies.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sharons Signture Feeling Gratitude for Health Insurance

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