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By Lydia Muhammad

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Allah (Highly praised is He) described the chronological order and phases of growth in Qur’an, Surah 23: 12-14:
12. And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay.
13. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging.
14. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of Creators.


Sharif Ashanti Abdus–Salaam, MD, is from Port Lucie, Florida. He is an orthopaedic surgeon with Memphis Shoulder and Orthopaedic Surgery.

He received his BS in Mechanical engineering from Southern University and A&M College and his medical degree from Howard University.

He completed a residency in orthopaedic surgery at Howard University Hospital and its affiliate hospitals in Washington D.C. and Baltimore Maryland.
He also completed a fellowship in shoulder and upper extremity reconstructive surgery in San Francisco California.

Dr. Abdus-Salaam one of the few orthopaedic surgeons in the United States and the only one in Memphis who routinely performs five different joint replacements (hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, and wrists).

So I asked Sharif how a mechanical engineer becomes an orthopaedic surgeon. He responded by saying that the basic science of orthopaedics is engineering.

It concerns itself with biomechanics, material science and biology. How these disciplines interact is the foundation of orthopaedics and musculoskeletal medicine.

He is one of many African American orthopaedic surgeons who are also graduates of Historic Black Colleges and Universities. He is a huge supporter of HBCU’s... Read Feb. 24, 2017's Issue Here.

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By Sis. Saisa Neel

She is the youngest of four daughters born to her father, Assistant Imam Mujahid of Al Baqi Masjid and Sister Katara Aleem in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her mother, also an educator, is one of the founders of the Al-Nur School in Springfield. Later she and her mother relocated to Maryland. They have been active members of Masjid Muhammad—The Nation’s Mosque in Washington, D.C. She is the mother of an 8-year-old child. Both she and her mother teach children at the Masjid’s Weekend Islamic School. Sis. Inshirah instructs the 6-8 year olds and participates on the School’s planning board. Her name was taken from Surah 94 in the Holy Qur’an and she truly reflects the theme of that Surah.


When Inshirah was 15, she was diagnosed with a severe form of bipolar disorder. She became paranoid and slipped into a psychiatric coma. In what she calls “a part of my journey”, she was detached from reality. In 2012, she published a book about this adolescent period in her life. Her memoir, She Smiles and Cries, is a compilation of the events that led to the deterioration of her mental health at that time. Inshirah credits Allah with bringing her out of the deep depression and helping her positively re-shape her life. Currently she is working on getting her second book published. It will detail her life from high school to college graduation. On its website, Amazon states that “her memoir captures the possibility for us all to rise above pain. . . . .to smile after we cry.” She Smiles and Cries includes poetry and prose.

After recovering from her paranoia, Sis. Inshirah completed college studies. She now holds a Masters in Special Education. For the past 7 years she has been teaching 4th and 5th graders at a DC public charter school.

In spite of her writing and teaching achievements, her “passion” is working to help people understand mental illness and its impact on individuals and their families. She wants to decrease the stigma of having a disorder that the patient did not cause and for which, there may be few solutions. Sis. Inshirah remembers being a teenager and unable to verbally explain her feelings and thoughts. She used her Allah-given gifts of poetry and prose to write her first book of reflections and hopes to continue inspiring others when she publishes the second book.

A large part of her life is spent working either as a paid staff member and a  volunteer for a national organization called the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). Through a format called “In Our Own Voices”, Sis. Inshirah teaches the general public about mental illness. NAMI was started by Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young, two mothers who had sons with schizophrenia and who found few resources to help their children. In 1979, they met with other concerned persons and formed NAMI. The organization has grown to over 1,000 chapters represented in all 50 states and is headquartered in Arlington, VA.

More recently, Sis. Inshirah has launched her own enterprise, called “Finding Our Voice”. Similar to the NAMI workshops, she encourages those with mental health illness and their caretakers to do role-playing, dialogue, interactive activities, and to use other modalities to teach the general public.   The Masjid’s Health Team Committee and Sis. Inshirah are currently planning a workshop later this year. Within our own community, we recognize the need for more information and greater understanding of mental health illness and for extended assistance to those families dealing with often debilitating and frightening disorders.

To order Sis. Inshirah’s first book of reflections, access Amazon or contact her at her website,

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Haneefah Salim

By Haneefah Salim,
Certified Fitness Pro.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. –  Mark your calendar: December 12,13 and 14, 2014, Muslim Journal’s 11th Annual “A Time To Be Grateful” Weekend and Annual Award Dinner Ceremony will be held in Memphis.
The weekend will include two fitness sessions – one Friday and one Saturday mornings.
The following sessions will be open to everyone, all levels, men and women:
Workshop 1 – Personal Training Techniques: The interval workout-alternating between strength training and cardio for a complete workout including flexibility exercises.
Obtain information on: How much cardio should you do? How many times a week should you do strength training? How important is stretching? Also learn easy ways to maintain proper nutrition (chairs provided).
Workshop 2 – Therapeutic Seated Exercises: Your mind controls your body. Detoxify your body and de-stress your mind. Improve core strength, flexibility, range of motion, balance, posture, circulation and learn relaxation and breathing exercises.
Take special note: These exercises will be very beneficial if you plan to make Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) (chairs provided).
The classes will be held after Farj (pre-dawn prayer) from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Check the program schedule upon arrival at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Memphis (see details on pages 26 and 27) to confirm time and location of these sessions.
Look for the FitnessLifePro booth and pick up informative health, wellness and fitness information.
For more information on these sessions, email or go to

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Abdel J. Nuriddin, N.D., Ph.D

By Abdel J. Nuriddin, N.D., Ph.D.
As we enter the fall and colder climatic conditions, the need to detox the bowel of mucus and undigested protein is one factor to keeping colds and flu away from your health.
Because most of us have been improperly combining our foods and eating processed, cooked and lifeless food our body’s self-healing mechanism has been secreting mucus and storing  toxic waste in the bowel to prevent it from circulating throughout the entire body.
This is a natural process. The problem arises when we are at an extreme, which most people are, who eat as I stated above.
When the body can no longer tolerate the build up of mucus, it creates a flow of the mucus or a cold.
If you suppress or stop the flow of the mucus when you have a cold in time it will lead to the flu or infection and ultimately possible cancer. The cold is the cure.
The respiratory track consisting of the bronchioles, lungs, throat, sinus, etc., is a main track of elimination for the body. Mucus is constantly gravitating to the respiratory track for the purpose of excretion or elimination.
Many times, you notice after the consumption of processed, cooked or improperly combined foods or foods that you have an allergic reaction to that your body will cough the mucus from the throat or blow it from the nostrils.
The drop in temperature can act as a trigger for the release of the mucus. However, sometimes while fasting, the body also gathers enough energy to act as a trigger.
If you understand this principle, you will see the fallacy in “catching the flu.”
If a virus from another person has the opportunity to express itself in your body, it’s because you have the culture in your body for its expression.
Clean up the culture voluntarily and the common flu virus in another loses its power to do you harm.
My recommendation for respiratory cleansing, is first drink plenty of Alkaline (Kangen) Water this will cleanse the bowel and the lymphatic system.
Next use herbs that act as purgatives to remove mucus from the lungs, bronchioles, sinus, etc. Herbs such as Echinacea, Coltsfoot, Horehound, Blessed Thistle, Juniper Berry, Myrrh, Olive Leaf, Yerba Santa.
These are among many herbs that work very well in the respiratory track for cleansing purposes. Lastly, keep fiber and friendly bacteria in the gastro intestinal tract daily to aid in digestion.
Order my recommended cold and flu preventive program today by calling my office at 336-852-3040 and ask for the respiratory cleansing pack.
(For live programming and questions, listen to Dr. Nuriddin each Monday morning at 9:00AM EST, on or call in at 1-646-716-4478)

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Amira Wazir

By Amira Wazeer

Recently at a Messer Financial seminar I was told that 60 percent of Americans did not know that it was a law that you had to purchase healthcare. I asked myself how that could be; the news has been saturated with the fight to make it happen for years.

I spoke at a meeting of the Halal business Network here in Atlanta later on that day. I asked the Muslim audience to raise their hands if they did not know that healthcare purchase was a law.

No one raised their hands. So from that I made the assumption we are more knowledgeable about healthcare than most Americans.

However, I still get asked some of the same questions so I know I just need to repeat a few facts for those of us who need to hear them and update a few for everyone. Here’s a quick rundown on the most important things to know about the Affordable healthcare plans commonly known as Obamacare.

You sign up for the plans at the Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange.”  The web address is or if you know an agent in your area then it is best to sign up with an agent. An agent can counsel you and possibly save you money, time and aggravation.

Time lines are crucial in dealing with the marketplace. Health care plans are available for preview on November 7th and will be available to purchase on Nov 15th. You can purchase healthcare up until February 14 then you will be locked in until the following enrollment season in November 2015.

Important: Before November 15, 2014, you can enroll in a Marketplace health plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Any plan you enroll in before November 15, 2014 ends Dec. 31, 2014.

Use the Marketplace to get covered:

The Health Insurance Marketplace helps uninsured people enroll in health coverage. Fill out a Marketplace application and the calculator will tell you if you qualify for:

Private health insurance with savings based on your income. Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care. Most people who apply through the Marketplace qualify for premium tax credits and savings on out-of-pocket costs based on household size and income.
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of families with limited income. Many states are expanding Medicaid to cover more people.
If you live in a state that refused the Medicaid expansion things may change next year. I believe eventually all of the states will accept it; it is just a matter of time.
Fees, exemptions and qualifying coverage:

Most people must have health coverage or pay a fee. If you don’t have coverage in 2015, you’ll pay a penalty of either 2% of your income, or $325 per adult ($162.50 per child) — whichever is higher.
You’re considered covered under the health care law if you have any job-based plan, any plan you bought yourself, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and many other kinds of coverage. See a full list of plans and programs that meet the health law’s coverage requirement.
Some people qualify for an exemption from the fee based on income or other situations.
When you buy health insurance coverage in the Marketplace, you may be able to get a premium tax credit that lowers what you pay in monthly premiums. This will depend on your 2015 household size and income.
You can apply part or all of this tax credit each month to your premium payments. The Marketplace will send your tax credit directly to your insurance company, so you pay less for your premiums each month. This is called “advance payment of the premium tax credit.”
Savings depend on 2015 income and family size:

If your 2015 income falls within the following ranges you'll generally qualify for a premium tax credit. The lower your income is within these ranges, the bigger your credit.

$11,670 to $46,680 for individuals
$15,730 to $62,920 for a family of 2
$19,790 to $79,160 for a family of 3
$23,850 to $95,400 for a family of 4
$27,910 to $111,640 for a family of 5
$31,970 to $127,880 for a family of 6
$36,030 to $144,120 for a family of 7
$40,090 to $160,360 for a family of 8
If your income falls between the amounts shown, you also qualify for premium tax credits that lower your monthly premiums.

Out-of-pocket savings apply only to Silver plans
Plans in the Marketplace are grouped into 4 categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
If you qualify for out-of-pocket savings, you must choose a Silver plan to get the savings. You can choose any category of plan, but you'll get the out-of-pocket savings only if you enroll in a Silver plan.
Savings at lower income levels:

If your 2015 income falls below the amounts shown on the chart, you may qualify for coverage under your state’s Medicaid program. This is true if you live in a state that’s decided to expand Medicaid to cover more people.

But if ALL of the following apply, you can’t get premium tax credits when you buy a private insurance plan through the Marketplace:

Your income falls below the amounts shown on the chart
Your state is not expanding Medicaid
You don't qualify for Medicaid under your state's rules
5 more things to know:

If you’re eligible for job-based insurance, you can consider switching to a Marketplace plan. But you’ll qualify for premium tax credits and other savings based on your income only if the job-based insurance isn't considered affordable or doesn’t meet minimum value requirements.
Unaffordable means the premiums cost you more than 9.5 percent of your gross income. There is a form located on you can take to your HR department to fill out and you can submit for a determination.
If you have Medicare, you’re considered covered and don’t have to make any changes. If you have Medicare, you can’t use the Marketplace to buy a supplemental plan or dental plan.
You can buy a plan outside the Marketplace and still meet the health care law’s coverage requirements. But if you buy outside the Marketplace, you won’t be eligible for premium tax credits or other savings based on your income.
If your income is too high to qualify for a tax subsidy I recommend you look off exchange plans for sure. The off exchange plans may offer better plans than what is available on
Open Enrollment starts November 15, 2014. You can’t apply for 2015 coverage until then. In the meantime, you can get ready to apply.
(Amira Wazeer is a state licensed and federally certified insurance agent with over 14 years experience.  She specializes in Medicare plans, Affordable healthcare plans, dental and vision plans, Life insurance for diabetics and Janazza (final expense) insurance. Consultations are free. Need a speaker at your upcoming events or have Questions and comments contact or call 404-202-1926.)

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Abdel J. Nuriddin, N.D., Ph.D

By Abdel J. Nuriddin, N.D., Ph.D.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed has said, “The worst form of slavery is the slavery of the human will.”
When our ability to take action is enslaved to procrastination, the outcome is usually degeneration or mediocrity. The will to live physically is fostered by the instinctive principle of self-perpetuation that is inherent in the life germ that makes up each cell in the biological form.
However, the conscious will to be healthy, in the biological form, carries with it the faculty of choice. It is this “will to be” that can be enslaved to concepts of limiting belief that stops humans from having the health, wealth and happiness that G-d promised them in the Scripture.
Our perceptions about matters mostly personal, either prohibits or stimulates our will to act. If we say, ”I know I can” but in the deep recesses of our souls believe we can’t, then we won’t move with conviction to achieve what we think we can.
Our self-esteem and self-worth, which G-d put into our souls, seeks to express themselves in an excellent way. However, our ego, which is a part of our mental makeup, can function in a less than excellent way and influence our will to make poor choices.
Adam, the perfect human, is challenged by Iblis, a complex within himself. A complex that thinks it is better than the perfect form that G-d made. This complex seeks to get in the way of your right choices.
This complex tries to make us believe that living a life that’s less than what G-d expects is acceptable. It uses justification as a principle of pleasure to stop the pursuit of excellence.
It knows that all your decisions are influenced by pleasure and pain. Sometimes, we justify being obese, when we think about the pain of losing the weight.
All humans are driven neurologically-based upon pleasure or pain. These two states of consciousness are influencing every decision we make.
We eat or don’t eat based upon pleasure or pain. Even when we fast and we feel the pain of hunger, the pleasure of pleasing G-d is over-riding the pain of hunger.
We may feel the pain of going to work, but the lack of pleasure in being able to pay our bills over-rides the pain of going. Paying the bills gives more pleasure than going to work.
In order to free our will, we must learn to make new neurological decisions. The pain of losing weight must become a pleasurable experience. In order to unlock the will, you must see yourself now with the weight gone.
If you cannot overlook the appearance of things, you will never unlock your will. Move your self-perception to greater excellence.
See yourself with your mind functioning better, body more agile, blood pressure down, no back pains, swelling gone, clothes fitting better, etc.
Realizing that this comes in time, you must set goals that are time specific and result oriented. Be reasonable with yourself, but you must start and this requires unshackling your will.
For consultation, call 336-852-3040.

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Amira Wazir

Insurance Matters …..


By Amira Wazeer
For coverage starting in 2015, open enrollment for Medicare starts Oct. 15 and lasts through Dec. 7. For Obamacare (ACA) coverage starting in 2015 the open enrollment period starts Nov. 15 and lasts through February 15.
Individuals may also qualify for Special Enrollment Periods outside of Open Enrollment if they experience certain events. (Go to and click on Special Enrollment Period and Qualifying Life Event)
If you were born in 1949, then you will turn 65 this year. And if you are eligible for Medicare, you will no longer have to pay for Obamacare once you age in to Medicare. You will pay a new type of premium for part B.
Your Medicare health care coverage will begin in the month you were born in. You have a 7-month window to sign up. You can sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday and three months after your birthday.
You want to notify your ACA insurance carrier that you will cancel your plan the last day of the month before your birthday month begins. For example if your birthday is in December, let’s say Dec. 15, then you want to have the plan canceled on Nov. 30, as your Medicare effective date should be Dec. 1, 2014.
Make sure you have received your Medicare card with a Part A and a Part B effective date on it before you do this however. Part A will cover your hospital costs and Part B will cover your doctor costs.
Medicare states that the process is automatic, but I have clients who have had delays and problems getting their part B.  Get your part B clarified before you cancel.
In some cases people will find out that they do not qualify for Medicare. There are a variety of reasons why this can be so. Verify before you cancel your ACA plan.
If you do not have part B, then you may have to file an appeal to stay on Obamacare.  If you are denied, you will need to purchase additional insurance to cover the gap in the medical coverage part B would have covered.
Part A does not have a premium for those who qualify. Eligibility for Part A is determined by your work history or disability approval. For 2015, part B has a premium of $104.95.
Ever since 2007, under a law passed in 2003, people with Medicare have paid a surcharge on their standard Part B premiums, if their modified adjusted gross income, as shown on their latest tax return, is higher than $85,000 for a single person or $170,000 for a married couple filing joint returns.
Currently, fewer than 1 in 20 beneficiaries pay higher-income premiums.
Part B is considered “optional” because you can opt out. But if you opt out, without what is considered creditable coverage (coverage as good as Medicare), you may be liable for a Part B late fee of 10 percent for each full 12 months you are without creditable coverage.
Let’s’s take a person who feels they are perfectly healthy and does not want to pay the $104.95 premium.  For each full year missed, the penalty will be 10 percent, if we project the Part B premium stays the same (we wish), that is a $10.49 monthly late fee.
For  purposes of our example, let’s say that person waits 10 years and then decides to purchase Part B. They will pay 10 x $10.49 or $104.90 per month penalty plus the $104.95 premium or $209.85 per month for Part B.
The law says that a 10 percent penalty is imposed "for each full 12-month period" that people delay enrolling in Part B when eligible to do so (unless they have group health insurance from their own or their spouse's current employer or creditable coverage).
If the delay is less than 12 full months, the penalty should not apply.
Social Security officials explain that the penalty clock starts ticking at the beginning of the month after your 7-month initial enrollment period (IEP) expires and shuts off on the final day of the annual general enrollment period (GEP) that runs from Jan. 1 to March 31, in which you sign up for Part B.
Here's a different example showing how the late penalty can hit. Say your IEP expires at the end of March, and you sign up for Part B the following January during the GEP. That's an actual enrollment delay of only 10 months.
But under Social Security rules, the clock continues to tick until the last day of the GEP in which you enroll. So the delay is considered to be a full 12 months (April 1 through March 31), and you must pay a 10 percent late penalty on all future Part B premiums.
Once you've missed your first deadline for joining Part B (according to the scenarios described below), you can enroll only during a general enrollment period, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31 each year – with coverage not beginning until the following July 1.
Missing each March 31 deadline means another full 12-month delay and a further 10 percent late penalty. For example, delaying enrollment by five years results in a 50 percent penalty.
In other words, you'd permanently pay half as much again for the same coverage. Even more important is the fact that if you are ill, you cannot access Medicare for months. You will have to pay out of pocket for treatment.
So it's important to know when your personal deadline for enrolling in Part B expires and when the late penalty clock starts ticking, according to different circumstances:
If you turn 65 and are not covered by group insurance provided by an employer for whom you or your spouse is still working:
Your deadline comes at the end of your seven-month initial enrollment period (IEP), which expires at the end of the third month following the month in which you turn 65. For example, if your 65th birthday is in July, your IEP ends Oct. 31.
You can usually delay signing up for Part B beyond age 65 without risking late penalties if:??(a) You are covered by a group health insurance plan from your employer or union and you are still working, or??(b) You are covered by your spouse's group insurance and your spouse is still working.??If you lose this insurance or retire (or, if it's your spouse who has the employer plan, when he or she retires), you'll get a special enrollment period (SEP) of up to eight months to sign up for Part B without penalty at that time. But if you fail to enroll within this SEP, the Part B penalty clock is reset to the time when you retired or your group insurance ended, and not when your SEP expired.

For example, let's say you retire in February, triggering an SEP that lasts through October, but you fail to sign up for Part B until the following open enrollment period in January through March.

Since a full 12 months had elapsed (from the end of February to the end of open enrollment on March 31 of the following year, in this example), you would incur a 10 percent late penalty. open Enrollment 2014-2015 is coming and whether you are going to be in a plan for a few months or a full year you will need to take action.
Now is your chance to get a jump start on comparing health insurance plans and premiums to make sure you're getting the best healthcare you can afford, and the lowest price possible.
You may have heard, 2015 premiums are on the rise and plan options are getting narrower. Don't get stuck in a plan that costs too much, compare health plans and pricing before it's too late. Be sure to check out supplemental insurance as well like cancer and critical illness plans
If you purchased a health plan on the insurance exchange last year the "convenience" of letting your health plan auto-renew could cost you hundreds of dollars.
The reason? If your income changed at all in 2014, or your projections were not accurate when you calculated your subsidy, you could be obligated to pay that money back at tax time! It's time to take 5 min. recalculate your subsidy and perform a low-rate check.
Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. Open Enrollment is the perfect time to look at your income, recalculate your subsidy, and shop available health plans to make sure there are no surprises headed your way April 15, 2015.
Health plans change every year, networks grow and shrink, new discounts are offered and you have the opportunity to lower your total costs on health premiums on 2015. Don't wait
(Amira Wazeer is a state licensed and federally certified insurance agent with over 14 years experience.  She specializes in Medicare plans, Affordable healthcare plans, dental and vision plans, Life insurance for diabetics and Janazza (final expense) insurance. Consultations are free. Need a speaker at your upcoming events or have Questions and comments contact a.d.wazeer@ or call 404-202-1926.)

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Amira Wazir

By Amira Wazeer

According to, the marketplace for the Affordable Care Act has been reaching out to some of you by mail, email and phone, if some information you gave them on your Health Insurance Marketplace application doesn’t match the data they have on file.

It’s important that you submit the documents they need, so they can help you stay covered through the Marketplace and keep any help you may have been given with premiums and cost-sharing.

Thousands of documents every day are being received and they are working around the clock to review these documents to confirm eligibility for Marketplace coverage. If you’ve mailed or uploaded requested documents already, they will let you know as soon as they have finished reviewing them.

If you’ve been getting reminder calls, letters and emails from them, but still haven’t submitted the documents they are asking for, now is the time. Beginning in mid August, some of you got a warning notice in the mail telling you that Sept. 5, 2014 is your last deadline to submit these documents.

If you don’t respond:

You are at risk of losing your Marketplace health insurance
Your premium tax credits or help with cost-sharing may be changing or ending
If you don’t act now, they will send you a final notice in September telling you that your last day of Marketplace coverage will be Sept. 30.

Here’s what you can do now to make sure you stay covered:

Look at your Marketplace eligibility notice or reminder notice to see who needs to provide more information and to review the list of documents needed..
Log in to your Marketplace account and then select your current application. Use the menu on the left side of your screen to click on Application Details. On the next screen, you’ll see a list of any data matching issues (called “inconsistencies” on the screen) in your application. Follow the steps for each inconsistency to upload the documents needed to fix the issue.
Don’t use the following characters in the name of the file that you upload:/ \ : * ? “ < > |.
If you received a letter from them, but think you’ve already submitted your documents, or have questions call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 and tell them you got a data matching warning notice. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. The call is free.

If you’ve already submitted your documents and you get another email or call from the marketplace or your insurance company after that – it’s possible that they are still matching your information.

Over 8 million people signed up for health care in less than 6 months and with such a massive response there are bound to be paperwork errors. Don’t lose your insurance as a result of not providing requested documentation and failing to follow up..

The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. Coverage can start as soon as Jan. 1, 2015.

(Amira Wazeer is a state licensed and federally certified insurance agent with over 14 years experience.  She specializes in Medicare plans, Affordable healthcare plans, dental and vision plans, Life insurance for diabetics and Janazza (final expense) insurance. Consultations are free. Need a speaker at your upcoming events or have Questions and comments contact or call 404-202-1926.)

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Amira Wazir

Insurance Matters
By Amira Wazeer

Does your business employ at least 1 employee? Then the answer is yes, a full-time employee (FTE) is generally defined as an employee who works an average of at least 30 work hours a week or 130 work hours in a calendar month.

A full-time-equivalent employee (FTE) is calculated based on the hours worked of full-time and part-time employees making an average of less than $50,000 per year.

Businesses that provide health care coverage through the SHOP may be eligible for federal tax credits if, for the tax year, they have 24 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees who are paid an average annual salary of less than $50,000.

The credit can be as much as 50 percent of the employer’s contribution toward health insurance premiums (35 percent for non-profit employers).

The amount a small business can earn in tax credits varies by number of employees and average wages — a smaller business can get a higher tax credit. Businesses with less than 10 employees and annual wages of less than $25,000 will receive the highest credits.

Let me define employee: An employee performs services for a firm under an employer-employee relationship. An employee receives a W-2 and is listed on your wage and hour reporting. Contractors and independent consultants are not considered employees.

Sole proprietors, partners, and owners of a corporation are not eligible to purchase small group coverage as a group of one unless they have at least one employee who is not their spouse or domestic partner.

To sum it up If you have 1- 24 FTE you are eligible to purchase small group health coverage in your state and may qualify for federal small business tax credits if you purchase coverage through the government-sponsored small business health insurance marketplace, the SHOP.

However, this is not your only option; your small business coverage options now vary greatly and understanding them all can save time, money and jobs.

Option #1

Employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent staffers are not required to provide health coverage and will not be penalized if they do not do so. If your business is exempt and still chooses to purchase small group coverage from the federal health insurance marketplace (the SHOP) here is how it works.

I am going to use my state of Georgia for an example however; each state may vary. Coverage began in January 2014. (Although the federal mandate does not take effect until 2015 for business with 50 or more employees.)

In Georgia, the new federally-sponsored health insurance marketplace (also called an exchange) will include a specific program for small businesses called the Small Business Health Options Program, or the SHOP Marketplace.

This year, 35 states will offer a SHOP program. Other states may have state run exchanges but all states are required to have an exchange.

The SHOP offers coverage for employers with 50 or fewer full time employees.
By selecting a SHOP Marketplace Plan, employers with 24 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (“Full-time-equivalent employees” is calculated based on the hours worked of full-time and part-time employees making an average of less than $50,000 per year) may qualify for a federal small business tax credit.
Open enrollment is continuous so you can sign up and begin offering coverage at any time during the calendar year.
Several companies are offering plans through the SHOP For 2014, health plan issuers participating through the SHOP in Georgia include:
Kaiser Permanente
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Depending on your zip code, you’ll have a choice of multiple health plans in your area.
Plans will offer similar benefits and standards to make it easy to compare coverage
All plans in the marketplace must be Qualified Health Plans Under ACA regulations, this is a plan certified by the health insurance marketplace.
It provides coverage of the essential health benefit package, follows established limits on cost sharing (like deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket maximum amounts), and meets other requirements.
( See for  what services might be essential health benefits under the ACA)  including quality standards, service area requirements, network adequacy standards.
Starting with plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, the ACA requires all non-grandfathered small group commercial plans (with some exceptions, such as retiree and dental-only plans) to cover 10 categories of essential health benefits, as defined by ACA regulations.
Like individual health care plans offered on the exchange there will be four main levels of coverage — bronze, silver, gold, and platinum — also known as metal levels.
Each level has a different actuarial value, which is the percent that the health plan issuer will pay for covered essential health benefits
Platinum — 90 percent actuarial value

Gold — 80 percent actuarial value

Silver — 70 percent actuarial value

Bronze — 60 percent actuarial value

The plans within each metal level will offer similar benefits, which will make it easier for you and your employees to compare coverage options.
Rates are identical for metal level plans.
Employers select a plan and decide how much to contribute
Employers choose the specific plan design and contribution level. The minimum employer contribution level is 50 percent of the selected plan.
Employers may be eligible for federal tax credits
You can visit, at the small businesses tab, to compare SHOP Marketplace Plans from multiple health plan issuers and see pricing information. You do not need to register.
Enrollment for SHOP is through an agent, broker, or health plan issuer
To enroll in a SHOP Marketplace Plan, contact your agent, broker, or health plan issuer. Let them know you want a SHOP Marketplace Plan.

You cannot enroll in SHOP coverage at at this time.  The federal government plans to offer online enrollment at for SHOP Marketplace Plans for plan years beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

Next steps:

To find out how much your business may be eligible for see the Federal tax credit calculator available at site.
Contact your broker or the health plan directly.
You may also wish to call the federally-operated SHOP directly at 1-800-706-7893, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. TTY users should call 1-800-706-7915.
Option # 2

Purchase small group health care coverage directly from a health plan through a broker.

The changes in the health care market place opened the door for insurance products and discount cards for those who cannot pay the premiums for exchange plans.

Clients can now “bundle short term medical plans with dental, vision, critical illness, and disability income plans to provide coverage for them and their employees.

These plans do not provide the mandated coverage and will not prevent paying the ACA penalties but with the savings realized they offer great coverage and may be a bargain.

A major drawback is they do not cover any pre existing illnesses. Check with your agent to see what plans they offer.

Option #3

Continue the plan you have.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the health care law allows businesses already offering insurance to keep their current plans.

These “grandfathered” group plans — plans in place before March 23, 2010 — don’t have to meet the same criteria as new plans offered on the exchange.

Among other provisions, they don’t have to offer the aforementioned essential health benefits or cover free preventative care.

When purchasing your coverage directly from a health plan issuer, you have the advantages of: Maintaining your relationship with your current health plan issuer(s) and saving the time and effort necessary to research and purchase new coverage.

If your plan has covered at least one employee and continued with no major benefit or employee contribution changes since the ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010, as well as met other requirements, it may be considered a “grandfathered” plan.

Not all health plan issuers offer “grandfathered plans.”  If offered by your current health plan issuer and if you qualify; a potentially wider selection of medical, dental, and vision plan designs may be offered than offered in the SHOP.

What’s different in 2014?

Plans will be available in four main coverage levels as outlined above.

Plan rates will be calculated using new rules the rates for 2014 plans are based on a number of factors, such as the type of plans you’re offering to your employees and whether your plans are grandfathered or non-grandfathered.
If you currently offer small group coverage, this could significantly impact your 2014 premiums. Your health plan issuer will provide you with rate information.
Plans cannot have a waiting period of longer than 90 days from the date of eligibility. This refers to the time period an employee must wait prior to his or her group health coverage becoming effective.
By purchasing small group coverage (Health coverage specifically designed for small businesses or non-profit organizations with 50 or fewer employees or as defined by the health marketplace in your state) directly from a health plan issuer, your business won’t be eligible for the federal small business tax credit.
Next step:  Contact your agent, broker, or health plan issuer. Let them know your decision.

Option #4

Advise your employees to purchase their own coverage

Instead of offering coverage to your employees through a small group health plan, you can advise them to obtain or purchase their own health coverage.

If you are considering dropping coverage for your small group employees, please talk to your broker or current insurance provider to discuss your options and the possible individual penalties.

Under the ACA, you are not required to offer coverage to your employees. However, beginning Jan. 1, 2015, this will change for employers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees –  “full-time-equivalent employees” is calculated based on the hours worked of full-time and part-time employees must.

Employers of 50 or more who don’t offer minimum essential coverage to full-time employees and their child dependents may face potential tax penalties.

If you don’t offer coverage through your business, your employees are responsible for obtaining or purchasing their own coverage.

Your employees may be able to obtain coverage through a spouse, partner, or parent’s employer-sponsored coverage, by purchasing individual or family coverage (directly from a health plan or through the individual exchange In the individual marketplace (or exchange) individuals and families will be able to research, compare, and purchase health coverage from multiple private health plan issuers.

(Amira Wazeer is a state licensed and federally certified insurance agent with over 14 years experience.  She specializes in Medicare plans, Affordable healthcare plans, dental and vision plans, Life insurance for diabetics and Janazza (final expense) insurance. Consultations are free. Need a speaker at your upcoming events or have Questions and comments contact or call 404-202-1926.)

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Abdel J. Nuriddin, N.D., Ph.D

By Abdel J. Nuriddin, N.D., PH.D.

Thousands of people are fed to death annually in hospitals, nursing homes and at home by well meaning persons who are ignorant of the regenerative properties of fasting,
Herbert M. Shelton points out in his book titled “Fasting Can Save Your Life”: “In the animal world, fasting is a tremendously important factor of existence. Animals fast not only when sick or wounded but also during hibernation or aestivation.”
He also states, “Animals also survive forced fasts during periods of drought, snow, cold and live for long periods when no food is available.”
Further relevant to man, he says, “In mankind, fasting has been practiced in various parts of the world over centuries for religious reasons, for self-discipline, for political purposes and as a means of restoring health.
“Only in recent centuries has the concept that we must eat to keep our strength become a deeply entrenched idea.”
One of the greatest side effects of the Ramadan fast is the detoxification process. As the body is free of having to digest, it has more strength to cleanse and detox itself. It seems as though, the more rest the internal organs get, the greater their ability to heal themselves.
The human body is designed upon the pattern of dynamism (Fitra). Dynamic activity leads to dynamic rest, and dynamic rest leads to dynamic activity.
For example, if you watch children, they are in motion from the time they get up until the time they go to bed. When they go to sleep its like they are in a coma. The more dynamic their activity the deeper is their sleep. The deeper their sleep the more dynamic is their activity.
Our internal organs are on this same pattern: The more rest you give them from digestion, the stronger they become.
Fasting does not heal your body; the body is always in the process of healing itself, if it has the strength. Fasting merely affords the climate the body needs for self-healing to take place.
Fasting will not heal a broken bone or repair gum disease or get rid of tumors. But the body has the ability to correct these problems naturally, when the conditions are ripe in it.
Fasting will detox the blood stream of impurities that circulate throughout the body, which ultimately cause the metabolic processes to restrict vital functions such as sleeping adequately, thinking sharply, remembering, seeing, hearing, etc.
The body will provide us with all these functions in an optimal sense, if we will give it a chance. Fasting clears the way for the body to work upon itself.
Weight lost is also a side effect of the Ramadan Fast. Just by virtue of the fact that most of us will be consuming less calories, the weight most likely will be reduced. And we are cautioned not to be gluttonous at the breaking of the fast each day.
The clearing of the complexion, skills of concentration sharpened, more effective management of ones affairs are all positive side affects of the Ramadan Fast.
A nutritious Sahoor Meal before daybreak, will be helpful in directing the body toward cleansing and regeneration. A good vitamin and mineral supplement will help stimulate the immune system. A green drink will help in blood building and energy production during the fast.
Exercise some if possible, but you don’t have to over do it. The body wants the rest. You don’t want to spend the entire fast sleeping, but when you feel the need, rest.
Keep the fast, read the Qur’an and keep up prayer. And if it is Allah’s Will, you will have a great Ramadan.
Ramadan Mubarak  (in advance)!


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By Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights ( WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an act unprecedented in recent history, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand...