Another week came and went. It seems like just yesterday I was watching coverage of China’s plan to build two hospitals in 10 days. I saw video footage of hundreds of excavators, bulldozers, front-loaders, and cranes working on clearing the site. That was way back in late January and it felt like this thing was a world away. I remember blowing it off. Now, COVID-19 has all but permanently changed our daily life.
I couldn’t have started the ‘Max’s Back Pocket’ series at a better time. I have found it somewhat of a therapeutic release checking in on here weekly during this crisis. Maybe my seventh grade English teacher was right about writing being a healthy hobby for the mind. Speaking of therapeutic, I have been killing some time cleaning my attic. Found this little gem from 03′. Does anyone out there remember the blackout? That was nothing compared to this.
With that, welcome to the 5th edition of Max’s Back Pocket.
Max’s Back Pocket
Over the last several years, I have absorbed a ton of great content from a lot of talented people in and around the internet. A lot of those ideas even got implemented into my personal finance strategy. Some of these people are professionals, but a lot of them are just amateurs throwing their weight around in a random niche. I like to think I am pretty good at healthcare and personal finance, but there are plenty of people out there much smarter than me.
Up until now, most of these ideas just landed in my back pocket. There they would sit for my own benefit whenever I needed them. They were rarely shared or exchanged with anyone in my personal network. These days, that is no longer the case. Max will start scouring the entire internet for these ideas in a weekly effort to not only spread but recognize the wealth of knowledge that is out there. This weekly check-in will also give me an excuse to catch up on what’s going on around here more often. What are we calling this idiomatic experiment?
Max’s Back Pocket.
Here at Max Out of Pocket, we finally got around to looking at how dividend income from my medical office building portfolio would be taxed. Although my portfolio kicked out almost $1,200 in dividends in 2019, most of those hit my tax-advantaged accounts. I purposely generated about $100 in taxable dividend income in my brokerage account. Physicians Realty Trust, one of my favorite healthcare Reits, paid this dividend directly into it.
As it turns out, I was only hit with an $8.00 tax on that $100 dividend in 2019. I expected to fork over $22.00 to my Uncle Sam. An 8% tax is much better than 22%. We still have some work to do on my “non-dividend distributions,” but I will touch on that another time.
I needed to validate what I was seeing as I followed this through my tax return. I used several sources, but a really like the work The FI Tax Guy has put together. He gets right into the weedy details on taxes. I found the theoretical examples he put together helpful.
A big thanks to the Fi Tax Guy for putting those write-ups together. Keep up the good work, sir.
There is almost too much going on in the healthcare world to keep up with. I mentioned last week that Aetna stepped up and said they would waive out-of-pocket costs for the treatment of COVID-19. In other words, they went beyond testing. Well, several payers have since followed their lead. I believe traditional/original Medicare even has plans now to provide coverage beyond just testing. I spent my week learning the ins and outs of telehealth, so we didn’t cover much here on the blog.
Here is Anthem’s press release. Several other health insurers’ press releases read a lot like this one. As engaged consumers, we need to read the details and make sure we understand everything.
The expansion covers the waiver of cost share for COVID-19 treatment received through May 31, 2020. Anthem will reimburse health care providers at in-network rates or Medicare rates, as applicable, for Anthem’s affiliated health plan fully insured, Individual, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage members. Anthem is strongly encouraging participation by our self-funded employers and will work with them to ensure their employees’ needs are met. These employers will, however, still have the option to opt out of participation.Anthem Press Release
As I mentioned last week, no good deed goes unpunished. People on both sides will likely find a way to turn some of these decisions into negative headlines. I prefer to stay positive. Setting up systems to facilitate and operationalize some of these dramatic policy changes will be intense. There are several people behind the scenes to make it happen. Will people likely accidentally get billed? Of course. Will articles be written? Of course. But I think we need to try to stay grounded.
The patient surge is expected to peak in my state around April 17th. The organization I work for has a really well thought out plan to deal with that. Hopefully, we don’t need the plan, but it’s there if we do.
Mrs. Max OOP closed out her third week working from home. She has been doing weekly Google Meet check-ins with some of her colleagues where they talk over a couple glasses of wine. I came home at 2 pm one-day last week and did a double-take when I saw Mrs. Max OOP sharing a glass of wine with her virtual colleagues. Max needs some virtual friends, so let me know if anyone wants to have a beer sometime.
I mentioned a while back our cat Charlotte has been sick. The vet diagnosed her with oral squamous cell carcinoma a few months ago. She has bone cancer in her upper left jaw. The prognosis is not good, but she has been eating and acting herself for the last few months. The timing of the stay at home order for Mrs. Max OOP has helped her keep a close eye on Charlotte. Not to mention, precious time will be spent with her. Hopefully, we can keep her around as long as possible.
Other than that, things are going pretty well for the Max Out of Pocket crew. Happy Saturday! How was your week?