Monday, April 18, 2011

Guidelines for Developing a Budget for a Non-Profit Organization

Budgeting needs to be placed second in a two-part approach with planning. When budgeting is teamed with planning, the figures cease to be just hazy projections snatched out of the sky, but logical predictable numbers that flow easily out of the overall plan. Budgeting without planning gives you little more than a record of income and expenses. Planning puts you in control of that record, and provides both the means and the impetus to use those numbers to insure the organization's success.

Planning starts with ideas. It is knowing where you would like your organization to be in the next year, the next two years, or the next five years and in mapping out the most direct route to get there. Perhaps you would like to double your membership. Or, perhaps you want an office and office equipment. At this point it is not as important what the substance of the objectives are, but rather that you know what they are. Once you know where you are and where you want to go, budgeting becomes the dollars and cents needed to be acquired and expended during a particular time in order for the end to be reached.

Once there is agreement as to what the objectives will be, the next step is to determine what particular programs are necessary in order for these objectives to be met. In other words, for each objective there will be several tasks which must be completed by specific areas of the organization. In addition, there will be income sources which must be identified and funds that must be allotted.

Objectives then make up the activity schedule from which the monetary side of the plan can be developed. The budget then begins to evolve.

It is extremely important to generate objectives from each area of the organization, and it should be the responsibility of each area to determine what part it plays in the overall mission. Moreover, it should not be overlooked in planning objectives that the governing board itself will have objectives regarding new projects and administrative changes.

Once the objectives are agreed upon, they should be turned over to the particular area of the organization to which they apply These areas, in turn, will determine what specific tasks must be accomplished to make the objectives realities. Some of the tasks will carry monetary costs, while the price of others cannot be measured except in volunteer hours. In other words, some tasks will represent expenditures, others income and others are fulfilled by volunteer time only.

How to Cover All Your NonProfit Organization's Risks

April 2, 2006 Tornado Outbreak, O'Fallon, Illi...

Nonprofit organizations play an essential role in our society. 

Although both small and big businesses have provided us the comforts and productivity we enjoy in this country. 

America's nonprofit organizations are in the forefront in battling society's most urgent and pressing problems - drug addiction, homelessness, illiteracy, crime, and violence. 

Moreover, nonprofit organizations care for our most vulnerable citizens - the young, the sick, and the aged.

It is important, therefore, that nonprofit organizations have key insurance protection so that unforeseen circumstances cannot disrupt the delivery of their services. To this end, at least four types of insurance protection are essential:

Commercial General Liability
Commercial general liability protects the organization from a wide variety of exposures. This insurance will cover legal obligation arising out of injuries or damages suffered by members of the public, customers, tenants, and others.

Property insurance
Property insurance covers most types of property owned or used by the organization. This applies to furniture, machinery, equipment, merchandise held for sale, office supplies, and other such items. 

Leased property may also be covered under this section, but only if the organization has a contractual obligation to insure it and it is not otherwise insured under the coverage of others.

Workers Compensation
Under workers compensation, the organization is responsible for the costs of any employee injuries that arise out of any employment related injury regardless of fault. 

Workers compensation is intended to provide financial relief for injury, illness, and death that result from workers performing their jobs or being on the job. It is not a substitute for regular medical insurance, life insurance, or disability insurance.

Directors and Officers Liability
Directors and officers liability coverage protects the organization and board members from suits alleging financial loss from wrongful acts or bad decisions. This coverage, which includes the cost of defense, should be a part of your risk management for your organization and board.

It is important to be mindful of the exclusions in each of these policy forms.
Organizations with these types of insurance protection will have taken the necessary steps to maintain their critical work against unforeseen risks.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hard Choices for Senior Citizens

Seniors only have until December 31, 2010 to make the hard choices about which Medicare Advantage Plan, Medigap, or Prescription Drug Plan to choose. Your choice could either leave you paying more money than you should or having a Plan that does not cover your prescriptions nor meet your health care needs adequately.

If you are reading this after December 31, 2010, go to Aging into Medicare

No More Open Enrollment Period for Seniors

This year your Representatives and Senators took away an option for you to choose the type of health care coverage that can best serve your needs. Until this year, you had an Open Enrollment Period from January 1st to March 31th to change from one Plan to another. You just could not add or drop your Prescription Drug Plan after January 1st. Now after January 1st, you can only change back to Original Medicare and retain your Prescription Drug Plan. 

However, the option of choosing a Medicare Supplement is always available. You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan throughout the year and add a Prescription Drug plan if you need it. This may be your best choice.

If you are reading this after January 1, 2011, go to Aging into Medicare

Last Chance to Choose Your Medicare Advantage Plan Before December 31st

Keep in mind that seniors on privately run Medicare Advantage plans used to be able to change their options in an open enrollment period after the first of the year.  But the new health care law changed that.  Now December 31st is a firm deadline---and some of the offices that can answer your questions will be closed around Christmas and New Year.
If you're happy with your plan, leave things alone.  If you're considering a switch, you have some homework to do.
Probably what might cause you the greatest amount of difficulty is that you hear of a plan that may save you money on co-pays and you neglect to find out if your doctor takes that plan.  Or, you may have surgery scheduled and when you change plans when you have a surgery scheduled, that new plan now has to receive prior authorization.
If you don't change plans it pays to see if your favorite doctor or hospital has decided to drop out.
Plan changing may not save you much money right now because just about all plans are raising their rates. 
However, look past the cost of routine co-pays to see what a plan charges for the big stuff.
Look at what your co-pays would be should you become an in-patient.  We don't know what the next year will bring.  Look at the higher cost of items such as in-patient hospitalization and what you might have to pay for out-patient type of surgeries because more things are being done on an out-patient basis.
Keep in mind that this information is for Medicare Advantage plans only, the ones run by private companies. 
If you like, you can return to regular government-run Medicare after January first.

Three Considerations in Medicare Choices

If you are a senior citizen, this year the Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15, 2011 and ends on December 7, 2011. During this time you can change from one Medicare Advantqage Plan to another, change back to Original Medicare and choose a Prescription Drug Plan, or choose a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Prescription Drup Plan. Changes you make during this time will bwecome effective January 1st.

In making your choices regarding your Medicare plan, take these three things into consideration:
  • the overall cost of the plan, 
  • whether it covers doctors and hospitals with which you are comfortable, 
  • and the quality of the plan.
Make your decision by looking at all three of these elements and see what, on balance, is best for you.

Rest assured that all Medicare plans have a guaranteed set of benefits, whether traditional or Medicare Advantage. But there are still pitfalls.

If you make a Medicare Advantage choice and you don't realize you've agreed to a limited network of doctors and hospitals, and you suddenly go to a different doctor or hospital, you could wind up with a very big bill that you would have to pay out of pocket.

Changes are not as drastic this year, but all plans have a different mix of costs every year. So, you really have to make the same evaluation every year, in order to figure out what is going to be the best combination of benefits and costs that meet your needs.

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Are You Ready to Take Control of Your Medicare Future in 2011?

CENTENNIAL, CO - DECEMBER 06:  Seniors attend ...

The new year brings changes to Medicare, many of them a result of the new Affordable Care Act. Here’s a brief rundown of what to expect in 2011 and how you can take control and make sound decisions.
1) Original Medicare will cover the full cost of an annual wellness visit with your doctor. The yearly checkup will include routine measurements such as your blood pressure, a review of your prescriptions and medical history, and a personal assessment of any risks to your physical and mental health. Until now, you’ve been entitled to one “Welcome to Medicare” exam during the first year you sign up for Medicare’s Part B, which covers outpatient services. If you’re enrolled in a private Medicare Advantage health plan, check with your insurer about whether it, too, will cover the wellness visit at no cost in 2011.
2) If you have a drug plan and reach the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” you’ll receive a discount on your prescriptions. You’ll get 50 percent off the price of brand-name drugs and 7 percent off generics. Even though you’ll pay less for a brand-name drug, you can count the prescription’s full price toward the amount you’re required to spend on drugs to qualify for catastrophic coverage. That way, you’ll enjoy lower out-of-pocket costs while in the “doughnut hole,” but you’ll still become eligible for Medicare’s catastrophic coverage as quickly as you would without the discount.
3) If you have Original Medicare, you’ll pay nothing out of pocket for most preventive services.
Until this year, you’ve usually paid 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for lab tests and screenings after you met your annual deductible. But starting in 2011, you won’t have to worry about a deductible, co-payment or coinsurance for a broad range of preventive services, including colonoscopies, mammograms, Pap tests and prostate cancer screenings. If you’re in a private Medicare Advantage plan, contact your insurer to find out whether it has also eliminated out-of-pocket costs for tests and screenings.

4) Medicare Advantage health plans are now required to have annual out-of-pocket maximums and other consumer protections. In the event you need an expensive treatment, you’ll be protected from exorbitant out-of-pocket costs. For many Advantage plans, out-of-pocket expenses (excluding premiums and prescription costs) will be capped by law at $6,700 in 2011. Some plans have voluntarily set lower maximums. In addition, if you’re in a private health plan, you can no longer be charged more for some services (like chemotherapy) than if you were in Original Medicare.
5) Your Medicare premiums may change. Most people on Medicare will pay the same Part B premiums this year as they did in 2010 — either $96.40 or $110.50 per month.

But there are several exceptions.
If you enroll in Part B for the first time in 2011, or if your premiums aren’t deducted from your Social Security check, you’ll pay $115.40 a month. For higher-income beneficiaries (single people with annual taxable incomes over $85,000 or married couples with incomes above $170,000), Part B premiums will range from $161.50 to $369.10. Plus, starting this year, beneficiaries in those income brackets will pay a monthly surcharge of $12 to $69.10 for their prescription drug coverage.

6) There are new times to switch your coverage.
Dissatisfied with your private Medicare Advantage health plan? A new annual “disenrollment” period allows you to switch to Original Medicare and a drug plan between Jan. 1 and Feb. 14. That replaces a January-to-March enrollment period when you could switch between Original Medicare and the Medicare Advantage program or move from one private plan to another.

In 2011, you’ll have more time to choose and join a private health or drug plan when the annual open enrollment period gets an earlier start than usual in the fall.

In past years, it has run from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. This year, it will kick off on Oct. 15 and wrap up Dec. 7. As always, your new coverage will take effect Jan. 1.

To Get Your Fast, Economical  Medicare Supplement Quote, click  Financial Resources

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Aging in to Medicare? Read This.

Your time is running out for you to enroll in Medicare Part B, if your are aging in to Medicare

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - M...Medicare Part B pays for your outpatient service which includes your doctor visits, physical and speech therapy, supplies, ambulance, as well as lab tests. It does not cover prescription drugs. But, under the new health law, annual physicals and other preventive care are free.

The point is that if you sign up late for Part B, you pay a penalty for each year you delayed enrollment. The penalty is 10 percent of the $1,385 annual premium for each year and there is no cap. For example if you wait five years to sign up, your premium would be 50% higher than someone who signed up on time.

Also remember that Part B has no cap on out-of-pocket costs after Medicare pays its 80 percent. Most people will buy a separate, private, Medicare supplement commonly known as a "Medigap" plan that kicks in where Medicare leaves off.

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