Rethinking Your FSA (Is my FSA still worth it?)

Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) has undergone some changes over the years. Most notably, over-the-counter medication such as cough, cold and flu medicines and pain relievers cannot be reimbursed through your FSA, unless the items have a doctor’s prescription or another supporting document. While it all may sound confusing and frustrating at times, these health-spending accounts are still among the best ways to pay for medical expenses that are not covered or paid in full by your medical, dental or vision plans—for you or any dependent. This tax-advantaged account can help your dollar go much further. Here’s how: Let’s say you put away $1,000 in your FSA for the calendar year. An average income will be taxed 25% by the federal government. Your FSA investment, however, is not taxed. The means you’ll have $1000 to spend on medical expenses, versus only $750. (That does not include state income tax, which …

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4 Benefits Elections to Re-Evaluate When You Get Married

4 Benefits Elections to Re-Evaluate When You Get Married

Getting married brings a lot of changes to your life, and your employee benefits are no exception. Marriage is almost always considered a qualifying life event that makes it possible to make changes outside your employer’s open enrollment period. Once you get married, it’s time to take a look at your benefits elections and decide what needs to change to reflect your new status. Here’s what you should consider. 1. Health Insurance There are several things to look at when it comes to your health insurance. “If both of you have coverage through different employers, review both plans to see which one offers the best coverage for the best price,” says Matthew Trujillo, a certified financial planner. Find out whether each person has an individual deductible or whether the deductible is total dollars paid in. Compare the out-of-pocket maximum, premiums, coinsurance and employer subsidy for each plan, too. Finally, look …

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What You Need to Know About Disability Insurance

What You Need to Know About Disability Insurance

If you work, you should have at least a passing knowledge of disability insurance, no matter what kind of job you have. Disability insurance is not just for people who are employed in dangerous lines of work, such as construction or transportation; anyone can get stuck spending time out of work for an injury or illness, regardless of whether it’s related to the job. Many employees are confused about disability insurance, however, because there are several different ways to ensure you get some form of income if you are unable to work. 4 Types of Disability Insurance Coverage Here are the different types of coverage you may be eligible for to protect you in the event that one day you’re unable to work because of injury, mental or physical illness, or, in some cases, pregnancy. 1. Social Security While there is no federal disability insurance, Social Security may cover you …

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Employees Question Making Right Health Plan Choice on Their Own

Employees Question Making Right Health Plan Choice on Their Own

Having a choice of several health plans is important to workers, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study, “Views on Employment-Based Health Benefits: Findings from the 2014 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey.” Although the research revealed most employees would like more choices than they currently have, the majority (85%) reported they believe their unions or employers selected the best health plan available. “But they are not as confident in their ability to choose the best available plan if their employers or unions did, in fact, stop offering coverage,” Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program, pointed out. Surveyed employees indicated they weren’t highly comfortable using a rating system to choose health insurance on their own. They also expressed doubt that a rating system could help them decide on the best health insurance. When workers do choose between offered plans, the cost of premiums and …

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New Research: Employers Shifting Benefits

New Research: Employers Shifting Benefits

Despite the fact organizations are facing rising health care costs, many employers are directing more of their financial resources toward wellness and health benefits, according to new research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). However, this shift comes at a price. Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s Survey Programs, pointed out in a media statement that as health benefits increase, other perks are being cut. For example, the 2014 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey shows a trend toward decreasing employer provided financial and compensation benefits such as tuition assistance, dependent care flexible spending accounts, and executive incentive bonus plans. Health Benefits Remain Key The 2014 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey, sponsored by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, queried 510 randomly selected HR professionals about 300 benefits and found that health benefits remain of prime importance – 98% polled offer some type of health care coverage to their full-time employees. According …

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