Calculating Charges for Out-of-Network Health Services

bonus calculationBy: Karina Gonzalez

A healthcare provider’s “billed charge” is usually the total charges billed before applying any contractual discounts.  Where there are no contractual relations, a provider’s charge may be considered the equivalent of fair market value for the service provided. But what is fair market value? If the provider is contracted the rate is confidential and not subject to disclosure.  If the provider is non-contracted, there is no standard billing rate for providers, making it difficult to get reliable rate data on what is fair market value for similar services or similar providers. One Florida court has found that “fair market value” is the price that a willing buyer will pay and a willing seller will accept in an arm’s length transaction. Continue reading

LifeAudit Financial Corner

Andrew ShampMeredithBy: Andrew Shamp & Meredith Dodrill, Guest Contributors

Are you aware that the IRS will allow you to take a current year income tax deduction for a future charitable gift?

One of the core principles we convey to our clients who have a heart for charitable giving is that they should be purposeful in their philanthropy. In our experience, a well thought out philanthropic plan will generate a greater impact for the charities they wish to support and will create financial efficiencies for the client.

An often talked about but underutilized strategy is the charitable remainder trust (CRT). While there are numerous different versions, in general a CRT is a trust in which you set aside funds that will generate income for you for a period of time you choose (a term of years or for life), and then distribute the remainder to charitable organizations you’d like to support. It’s not that much different than leaving the funds sitting in an investment account, receiving the income from the investments, then at some point in the future using what’s left in the account to make a lump sum charitable gift. You retain the right to change the charitable organizations that will receive the remainder portion of the trust, and you may even name yourself as trustee and control the trust’s investments. The big difference is that by setting the funds aside in the CRT (which is irrevocable), you are committing to making the future gift, and your reward for making this commitment is that the IRS will allow you to deduct the FUTURE charitable gift off of your CURRENT year’s income.  The accelerated tax deduction puts more money in your pocket for doing something you had planned on doing anyway.  Continue reading