It’s Time to Choose!

It’s Time to Choose! It’s Open Enrollment time of year!  Whether you are retired and making decisions about your Medicare coverage or are employed and faced with your annual employer benefits selection period, it is time to review and choose your coverages for the upcoming year. Medicare Coverage Medicare open enrollment Medicare Health and Drug Plan enrollment October 15 – December 7th Get ready for Medicare’s Open Enrollment with these 5 tips: 1 Check your mail.  You may get important notices from Medicare or Social Security. If you’re in a Medicare plan, you’ll get an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC). Note any 2022 changes to your health coverage or any Extra Help you may get to pay for prescription drugs. You may also get health plan marketing materials, like brochures, from insurance companies that offer Medicare health and prescription drug plans. Remember — plans aren’t allowed to call or come to your home without an invitation from you. Review your 2022 “Medicare & You” handbook. It has information about Medicare coverage, as well as Medicare plans in your area. If you get your handbook by mail and want to get your Read on! →

Buckets of Savings!

When saving for retirement, most people save to their employer retirement plans, knowing they are reducing current taxable income, typically receiving an employer match on their contributions, and deferring taxation until retirement.  However, if this is the only place where retirement savings takes place, you can be in for a surprise when reaching retirement.  If all your usable savings resides in a tax-deferred bucket, every dollar you take out to meet expenses will be subject to income taxation at ordinary income rates, thereby forcing you to take additional money out to pay the taxes.  It can also be a shock to find that your retirement income tax bracket isn’t much different than your income tax bracket when you were working.  Additionally, higher taxable income levels in retirement will also impact the amount of your Social Security benefit which is subject to taxation and can also result in higher Medicare premiums. So what should you do differently to give yourself more flexibility and lower overall taxation in retirement?  There is great benefit in having multiple buckets of savings in retirement, each Read on! →

“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! →

National Healthcare Decisions Day

We all know the significance of April 15th each year, but do you know why April 16th is also important for you and your family?  April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day.  The goal of this “National” day is to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning.  Advance care planning involves taking the time to carefully consider and document your preferences around end-of life care.  It also includes the act of legally designating and empowering an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you were to become unable to do so for yourself. Although these can be uncomfortable topics to consider, approaching these conversations proactively will allow you to stay in better control of the future, whether you are able to personally voice your preferences, or are reliant on someone else.  The primary benefits of advance care planning include; Careful consideration of your wants and desires at end-of-life Documentation of those desires, including life-sustaining measures to be avoided or applied Requests for specific comfort measures , surroundings or companions as death approaches 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! →