Monthly Archives: May 2013

ObamaCare – Ready or Not….

obamacareI am in a closed networking group which I would highly recommend to any to any business owner.   My group is Network For Success which meets weekly here in the Cumming, GA area.   As a new business owner, I truly love to hear the detailed presentations given by the members, as I get a chance to learn not only about their business offerings, but about the people and processes behind the store-front.

One of the group members I really respect is Peter Clavijo.   Peter co-owns Employee Benefits of Atlanta, and is educating our group on what to expect with the all-encompassing changes of Obamacare, or as they call it – “The Affordable Care Act”.    While I’m not so sure how affordable it will be in the end for either the employer or the employed, here are a few great pieces of information that he has shared with us, and has allowed me to share on my blog (all comments are strictly my own).   This information came to Employee Benefits of Atlanta via one of their partners, Kaiser Permanente.

Will you qualify for a federal subsidy to help pay your health premiums?

Here is a link to a Subsidy calculator.

This calculator illustrates the premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”) created by the Affordable Care Act.  Beginning in October 2013, middle-income people under age 65, who are not eligible for coverage through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare, can apply for tax credit subsidies available through state-based exchanges.

Additionally, states have the option to expand their Medicaid programs to cover all people making up to 138% of the federal poverty level (which is about $33,000 for a family of four).  In states that opt out of expanding Medicaid, some people making below this amount will still be eligible for Medicaid, some will be eligible for subsidized coverage through Marketplaces, and others will not be eligible for subsidies.

Using this tool, you can enter different income levels, ages, and family sizes to get an estimate of your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance. As premiums and eligibility requirements may vary, contact your state’s Medicaid office or exchange with enrollment questions.


What are the Individual Penalties for not having insurance in 2014?

Click this link (PPACA Individual Mandate Penalty) to view a flow chart to see if you will have to pay a penalty for not purchasing insurance beginning in 2014.  The estimated penalty per adult goes from $94/year in 2014 to $700/year in 2016.   Purchasing health insurance through an exchange would vary by age, but is estimated to be around $5,000/year for an adult in 2016.

Good news though… if you’re in jail or an illegal immigrant, you don’t have to either purchase insurance or pay a penalty! 


What are the Employers’ Penalties for not providing insurance in 2014?

Click this link (employer__penalty_flowchart_1) to view another flow chart, showing the penalties that Employers must pay if they do not offer insurance under Obamacare.    The good news for very small businesses (for now) seems to be that if you have fewer than 50 FTE employees, whose average wages are under $50,000, you will not have to pay a penalty.  Note though that this is for 50 full-time equivalent employees.   One full-time employee, according to Obamacare, equates to 30 hours per week.

Keep in mind that this piece of legislation is still evolving and is undoubtedly extremely complicated.  Make sure to contact your insurance professional to get a better understanding of all the requirements.    Employee Benefits of Atlanta provides individualized guidance and a whole host of benefit products such as life, health, vision and dental for large and small businesses, as well as for individuals and families.  They also customize Executive Bonus and Deferred Compensation plans for valued employees, and have just added identity protection services as well as Pet Care Insurance!

If you have questions or want to know more, contact Peter.

Peter Clavijo, Employee Benefits of Atlanta

770-757-1282   |

Tagged , , ,

Booting up at the airport can cost more than connection fees

Here’s a great repost from ATM Marketplace reminding you to be aware of security concerns when flying on business or for personal reasons.  It’ only takes a minute for your security to be compromised!!

Hotspot Sheild VPN is an add on to your internet connection.  You do have to put up with some ads, but it’s a free tool.

Happy Flying!!

_ __ _

Flying the Friendly Skies of Wi-Fi

May 7, 2013 – Robert Siciliano

When getting on a flight that’s three to five hours long (or more), many business professionals wrestle with the decision whether to spend the $12.95 for airplane Wi-Fi, take a nap or watch the movie. If their company is paying for it, they might do all three.
But here’s the thing: If you are connecting to Wi-Fi on a plane and have all these company secrets and all this client data on your device, do you really think it’s a good idea to connect?

wifi airport
What savvy business travelers often aren’t savvy about is security — or, specifically, the lack of it with airplane Wi-Fi. With airplane Wi-Fi, there isn’t any encryption preventing other users from seeing your data. The majority of the security in airplane Wi-Fi is built into the payment system to protect your credit card.  Beyond that, you’re pretty much on your own.

Another issue flyers face when booting up is that their Wi-Fi card generally defaults to seeking out a known Wi-Fi connection and then automatically connects. It’s the same process as when you’re at home and you automatically connect upon booting up because, at one point, you checked that option in your settings. But on a plane (or anywhere, really), a hacker can set up what’s called an “evil twin,” which is a rogue wireless network specifically set up by a bad guy to trick you into manually connecting, or to trick your device into automatically connecting.

Once you’re hooked, all of your information travels through his device and he captures every packet of wireless data.

Protect yourself:

  • When Wi-Fi is not in use, head over to your wireless network manager and right-click to disable your wireless network connection. Some laptops have a switch and others have a keyboard key.
  • If you plan to connect to in-flight service, protect your information with a VPN. Hotspot Shield VPN is a free proxy that protects your data by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads, etc.) are secured through HTTPS. With Hotspot Shield, your device basically will be surfing through a protected tunnel throughout the in-flight service.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of “99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen.”


Mashable – Pinterest for Social Media

Before I opened my business, I never had a Facebook account, never bloggedmashable, never had anything to do with social media!

Like a lot of people, I thought that it would just be an invasion of my privacy.  I had (and still have) no burning desire to tell people if I was feeling happy or sad during a particular moment – can you say TMI!

However, as I began networking and introducing my company and services, the first question people usually asked  was, “Do you do social media?”.   I can now say with confidence, “Yes”!  Social media is a great business tool, a great way to stay connected with your clients, and – hate to admit it – addicting and fun if you like to be creative.

One of the best sites for the latest social media news is Mashable.   When you go to the Social Media page, it looks a lot like a Pinterest Board.    Mashable is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology, and claims to have 13+ million unique visitors each month.

If you haven’t been there yet, check it out and learn something new.

Tagged ,

Great Tips for Public Speaking

Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely abhor speaking to a group.   One on one, I’m totally fine, but when the room gets quiet and everyone is focused just one me?  Panic!!

I found these basic public speaking tips and have been using them.   Guess what?  They work!

To overcome nervousness, know your subject and your speech.   If you’re going to be speaking about a particular subject, you need to know what you’re taking about and be prepared for questions.   Read all the information you find on the subject and become an authority.   There’s nothing worse than listening to someone speak about a subject that you know more about than the speaker. MicrophoneMake sure your speech has a message/point.  If you don’t know the point, your audience won’t either.

Master your presentation by practice, practice, practice.   Rehearse the difficult parts until you get your whole speech down pat, and you can recite by rote.  Most important, make sure you know the order of the messages.  If you mess up and skip a point, you will be able to get back on track quickly.

Know your audience and the venue.   If you’re speaking about a technical subject, will your audience know your technical jargon?   If you use industry phrases and terms that no one in the room has a clue about, you’ve lost them.   Will there be a culture, age, industry similarity in your audience?  If so, know what would be appealing to those people in your speech.   If you’re speaking to a group of senior citizens, including a reference to Justin Bieber might not be appropriate.  Similarly, if you’re speaking to a group of people where English is their second language, you might want make sure to speak slower and limit the use of slang.

Where will the speech take place?  Do you need to have a contingency plan for rain?   Do you need to have a screen for a PowerPoint presentation?  If it’s a large area, will you need a microphone?   If you’re a soft speaker or everyone’s going to be clinking dinnerware during your speech, you might need a microphone even for smaller spaces.  Being properly prepare will reduce distractions for you and your audience.

Never apologize.    If you make a minor mistake, chances are that your audience won’t even know.   Just find your way back on track and make your next point.   The apology will take more away from your speech.   Remember people generally want you to do well.

Focus on your message, not on yourself.  This is the most important thing to remember.  You’re giving this speech for a reason – to relay important information that your audience wants to hear.   They did not come for you in particular (unless you are already a star), they came for the message.   If you keep this in your forethought, then it will help you relax and stay focused on the message, not on the delivery.

Lora Zibman | Southeastern