“Fall” into your Employer Benefits Package

  Although it may not yet feel like fall outside, we are approaching the last quarter of 2016 and the time when employer benefits open enrollment occurs for the coming year.  Before that benefits package hits your mail/email, here are a few things to consider in advance and discuss with your advisor.   Are you covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)? An HDHP is defined as having a deductible of at least $1,300 for Singles or $2,600 for families.  If your health plan qualifies, you are eligible to contribute pre-tax money to a Health Savings Account (HSA), up to $3,400 for Singles in 2017, or $6,750 for families per year.  By contributing pre-tax money, you reduce your current taxable income, but more importantly, when the money is withdrawn from the HSA for qualified medical expenses, it comes out tax-free.   There is currently no other investment vehicle in which pre-tax money goes in and tax-free money comes out. The ideal situation is to maximize contributions to the HSA each year you are eligible (by having a high deductible health Read on! →

2016 Tax and Plan Limits Announced

Based on recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers, the IRS and Social Security Administration have announced their 2016 limits. Social Security Social Security benefits will not see a cost-of-living increase for 2016. For those individuals receiving Social Security benefits prior to Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Social Security, the earnings limit remains at $15,720. For every $2 in earnings above the limit, $1 in SS benefits will be withheld. For new Medicare recipients, the cost of Medicare Part B is likely to be significantly higher. Because of the lack of a Cost-of-Living increase in existing SS benefits, many of those already on Medicare will not see an increase in their Part B premiums due to a long-standing hold harmless rule.   Therefore, the increase in Medicare costs will have to be shouldered primarily by new Medicare recipients and high income recipients, unless Congress takes additional action to control these increases. For employees, Social Security and Medicare tax withholding are as follows: Social Security taxes will be withheld at a rate of 6.2% for employees up to a wage base of $118,500, Read on! →

Open Enrollment – Are You Prepared?

September 23rd marked the first official day of Autumn. Open enrollment for many individuals typically accompanies the welcomed arrival of the fall season. Also known as “annual enrollment”, open enrollment is a period of time when individuals may make additions, changes or deletions to their elected employee benefits, individual health insurance, or Medicare coverage. Whether you are working and need to update your benefits package at work, are retired and eligible for Medicare benefits, or are under age 65 and not covered by a group health insurance policy, you should consider your options before the designated open enrollment period begins. Employee Benefits Know when open enrollment begins and ends for your company. Typically, open enrollment for employee benefits begins in the fall of each year, but the timing will vary slightly from company to company. The specific time period and details for your employer’s plan(s) will be communicated by your HR department, so remember to open and read all communications you receive regarding your group plans. We’ve seen a number of companies institute changes to spousal benefits and health insurance plans Read on! →

Don’t Miss Open Enrollment

You can feel it in the air, fall is officially upon us. In addition to football, pumpkin patches and sweater weather, fall is also time for open enrollment. Open enrollment (also known as annual enrollment) is a period of time when individuals may make additions, changes or deletions to their elected employee benefits, individual health insurance, or Medicare coverage. Whether you are working and need to update your benefits package at work, are retired and eligible for Medicare benefits, or are under age 65 and not covered by a group health insurance policy, you should consider your options before the designated open enrollment period begins. Employee Benefits Typically, open enrollment for employee benefits begins in the fall of each year, but the timing will vary slightly from company to company. The specific time period and details for your employer’s plan(s) will be communicated by your HR department, so remember to open and read all communications you receive regarding your group plans. Some companies have made changes to the eligibility requirements for spousal benefits starting in 2014. Be sure to review the Read on! →