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Off The Editor’s Desk – 4-8-2015

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE

I have watched over the years as people see a need to help their neighbors, who are suffering a health problem or a loss. Such was the case this past Saturday, when friends, relatives and neighbors gathered to lend a helping hand to Brad Stevens.

Stevens, 34, of Boyceville and a member of the Boyceville Fire Department suffered a stroke recently, which left him with left side paralysis. On Saturday a benefit was held at the Menomonie Veterans Center. I was amazed at the number of people that attended the event and I must praise those who put the affair together with many games, drawings and events for everyone of all ages. You did a great job folks.

Another local program that rewards local people for their efforts is the Tanks of Thanks program sponsored by Cenex that rewards people who do good deeds to help make their communities just a little bit better. I know that several people from the Colfax area have been recognized for their efforts by this program and I just recently was notified that two St. Croix County people have received a special thank you for their contribution to the community from the program.

Charlotte Obermueller-Heimer of Glenwood City and Kimberly Edens of Hammond were selected to receive $50 Tanks of Thanks gift cards. Obermueller-Heimer was nominated for her work on the local school board, and for her dedication to the community while Edens was nominated for her volunteer work with both Shoe Away Hunger and her local food program. She has been dedicating time and services to those in need for the past fifteen years.

In another matter, as tax filling deadline is just a week away, I would like to remind everyone that this year’s tax season is the first time tax filers will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Most tax filers will simply check a box to show they had health coverage all year. A fraction of taxpayers will take different steps, like claiming an exemption or ensuring they receive the correct amount of financial assistance when they signed up for Marketplace coverage last year. A smaller fraction of taxpayers will pay a fee if they made the choice to not obtain coverage.

Heather Purcell of the Department of Health and Human Services passed along five tips for tax filers about health coverage.

Most people just need to check a box. About 75 percent will check a box that indicates that everyone in their household had coverage for all of 2014. This applies to people who had health coverage through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, and among other sources.

If you had Marketplace coverage, you should have your form 1095-A.

If you didn’t have coverage, use the exemption tool. While those who can afford coverage but chose not to enroll may have to pay a fee, people who couldn’t afford coverage or met other conditions can receive an exemption.

If you have to pay a fee, consider signing up for coverage through the Special Enrollment Period.

Help is available. The call center is open every day all day, the number is 1-800-318-2596 or at www.healthcare.gov/taxes.

And on a related note, Ben Stein said the following: “Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured…But not everyone must prove they are a citizen.

And now, any of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens.”

Thanks for reading! — Carlton