heart health

Heart Health and Your Benefits

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women as well as men in the United States. February is American Heart Month, encouraging us all to learn more about our heart health. Let’s discuss a little about heart health and how your employer-sponsored benefit accounts may help. Women’s Heart Health Quick facts you need to … More >>

financial benefits

Financial Benefits Make a Difference

In 2023, Bank of America’s Annual Workplace Benefits Report reported that an all-time low of only 42% of employees feel financially well. Since financial stress may lead to employee absenteeism, lower productivity, and health problems like high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, employers may want to consider adding financial benefits to their overall benefits strategy. … More >>

Consumer Directed Healthcare Account

The Value of Consumer Directed Healthcare Accounts

The infographic below details the value of consumer-directed healthcare accounts. Learn more from this overview of HSAs, HRAs, FSAs, and other helpful information. What is a Consumer Directed Healthcare Account? A consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) account is a type of medical savings account that: Helps pay for eligible medical expenses Offered through an employer (or, in … More >>

missed enrollment

Missed Open Enrollment?

As open enrollment winds down, some participants may determine that they have elected too much or too little coverage for next year, while others who ignored enrollment may wish they had chosen something. The good news is that options may still exist. Health Plans Current enrollees in an existing health plan may find that they … More >>

flu shots

Flu Shots for 2023-2024

Flu season can be miserable for everyone. Parents have to deal with sick kids at home. Employers have to arrange coverage for employees taking sick time. Doctors’ offices are hard to get into for an appointment. So, who should get flu shots? How much could it cost? Which shots are available where? How can an … More >>

movember mens health concerns

“Movember” Highlights Men’s Health Concerns

Each November, men across the globe observe the Movember awareness initiative by growing mustaches to highlight men’s health issues. Let’s discuss common men’s health concerns and how consumer-directed healthcare accounts can help address them. Men’s Cancer Concerns While men share many of the same cancer-related health concerns as women, they also have ones unique to … More >>

open enrollment

Getting Ready for Enrollment Season

Are you ready for enrollment season? Open enrollment is when you review your benefit options and choose which ones to renew or enroll in for the next year, like health insurance, life insurance, and tax-advantaged healthcare accounts. Whether you sign up for benefits through an employer or enroll through an exchange, you should be ready … More >>

Summary Plan Description

What is a Summary Plan Description?

If you receive healthcare benefits from your employer, you will also receive a Summary Plan Description (SPD). Required by law, the SPD defines plan eligibility and explains benefit calculations and payments, how to submit claims, when benefit guarantees begin, and more. Here’s what you need to know about your Summary Plan Description. Summary Plan Description … More >>

cafeteria

What is a Section 125 Plan?

Employers seek creative and effective support options for employee health, wellness, and financial needs, giving employees more benefit options than ever. Picking and choosing among them is somewhat like building a meal in a cafeteria line. This ability comes from the IRS’ Section 125, also known as the “Cafeteria Plan” provision. But what exactly do Section … More >>

HSA

What are the Hidden Benefits of an HSA?

Most people know the triple tax savings HSAs offer, including tax-free contributions, tax-free earnings, and tax-free withdrawals for qualified healthcare expenses. However, while HSAs primarily help reduce healthcare costs, they also have lesser-known values. So, what are the hidden benefits of an HSA? HSA Portability When you have an HSA, you keep and use those … More >>

healthcare consumer

What is Healthcare Consumerism?

Healthcare consumerism is a movement to refine the efficiency and affordability of healthcare services by changing how people prioritize their healthcare. Imagine a system where patients are more knowledgeable and active in purchasing healthcare services.  Healthcare consumerism works to make this a reality. Healthcare Consumerism Basics At its core, healthcare consumerism seeks to make patients … More >>

HRA HSA

Can I Have an HRA and HSA Simultaneously?

Healthcare spending accounts, such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), help people pay for qualified medical expenses. They also provide more control over how and where to pay for those expenses. Some employees may have simultaneous HRA and HSA eligibility through their employer or when combined with their spouse’s employment options. … More >>

IRS Releases 2024 HSA Limits

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published the 2024 annual contribution limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) on May 16. They also announced high deductible health plan (HDHP) minimum deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for next year. 2024 HSA Contribution Limits For 2024, HSA owners will see a significant increase in the amount they can contribute to their accounts. … More >>

transfer

One-Time IRA-to-HSA Balance Transfers

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) help employees manage their healthcare costs while also planning for retirement. Account owners can access their balances tax-free to pay for eligible healthcare expenses and invest unused funds for growth over time. But did you know that account owners can also make a one-time transfer from an IRA into their HSA … More >>

change of status

Mid-Year Coverage Changes and HSA Contribution Limits

Did you know that mid-year coverage changes can affect the Health Savings Account (HSA) account owner’s annual contribution limit? The following provides an overview of regulations, plus examples of how the changes are calculated. If you own an HSA, you can change your contribution amount at any time during the plan year, subject to the … More >>

HSA Contributions

Employer Contributions to Employee HSA Accounts

Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, are popular savings tools for healthcare and retirement expenses. Eligibility is tied to enrollment in qualified high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), but anyone may contribute funds, including employers. As they seek more ways to attract and retain valuable talent, what should employers know about HSA contributions?Contribution AmountEach year, the IRS sets contribution … More >>

Using Benefits to Increase Employee Satisfaction and Retention

Employers invest substantial time and money into employee benefits programs. Yet myths, misconceptions, and confusion may prevent employees from getting maximum and practical benefits from them. Effective communication and education can improve benefit utilization, employee satisfaction, and talent retention. FSAs and Employee Satisfaction Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) continue to be a popular benefit option. Yet, … More >>

Saving for Retirement with HSAs

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) help make healthcare more affordable and provide more freedom in personal healthcare decisions. They can also play a significant role in saving for retirement. Due to their multiple tax advantages, generous contribution options, and valuable investment opportunities, HSAs effectively supplement traditional retirement accounts. HSAs and Healthcare HSAs can be used to … More >>

Benefits for “Unretiring” Workers

Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have significantly impacted American society and the workplace. A generation known for hard work and professional loyalty, many were forced to retire early due to pandemic-related concerns. However, many are now re-entering the workforce. Characteristics of the Baby Boomer Generation Although 65 is the traditional retirement age, the Bureau of … More >>

4 Things to Know About Limited-Purpose FSAs

Many of you are familiar with healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Employees set aside a portion of their pay before taxes are calculated and use the money to pay eligible medical expenses. Less well-known is the Limited-Purpose FSA (LPFSA). Here are 4 things to know about limited-purpose FSAs. What do Limited-Purpose FSAs do? The LPFSA … More >>

FSA HSA switching

Switching Between FSA and HSA

Although FSA accounts are compatible with any health plan, HSAs require simultaneous enrollment in an HSA-eligible, high-deductible health plan (HDHP). If your health coverage changes, you may change from an FSA in one plan year to an HSA in the next, or vice-versa. The IRS has specific rules that apply to this type of account … More >>

HSA Investing for Tax-Free Growth

Did you know that HSA owners enjoy tax-free interest on balances and tax-free returns from HSA investing? Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are tax-advantaged savings accounts that help people with a high-deductible health plan pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Since their inception in 2004, HSAs have become very popular. Devenir’s 2022 midyear report finds almost $99 billion in … More >>

FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA: The Differences

When it comes to FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA, can you tell the differences? Each has a distinct purpose. Below is a quick overview and helpful infographic that compares specific features of each type of account.

Three consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) benefit accounts offer tax advantages. They include Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

While these accounts bear some similarities, they are not the same. Employers sponsor all of them, and they all offer tax advantages, help offset the cost of medical care, and help individuals take more control of their healthcare. However, beyond that, there are striking differences. 

FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA: The Overview

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Funding:  FSAs are owned by the employer. Participants contribute the funds, although employers may choose to contribute.

Contributions:  Participants reduce their tax liability by making pre-tax contributions. For 2024, the maximum annual election will be $3,200 for healthcare FSAs and $5,000 for DCAPs (Dependent Care Assistance Plans), often offered alongside healthcare FSAs.

Eligible Expenses:  Participants can use FSA funds to pay for a wide range of out-of-pocket medical expenses approved by the IRS. Eligible purchases include copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for medical care, prescriptions, eye exams, eyeglasses/contacts, dental care, first aid supplies, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and more.

Unused Funds: There are three options to address unused funds at the plan year’s end. Each plan adopts one of the three as chosen by the employer.

  • ‘Use It or Lose It’ – Leftover funds are forfeited to the employer.
  • 2.5-Month Grace Period – Extra time is provided to spend the funds.
  • Carryover – Participants carry over a certain amount of unused funds to the next plan year; for 2024, the carryover limit will be $640.

Portability: FSAs are not portable. The employer owns the accounts, so participants cannot keep them if they change employers (voluntarily or involuntarily) or retire.

Other Important Facts: FSAs are “notional” accounts. That means participants must incur an eligible expense before administrators process a reimbursement. A significant advantage to the participant is that the funds do not need to accrue before use. The total annual election amount is available to spend immediately after the plan year starts.

Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)

Funding:  HRAs are owned and funded by the employer only.

Contribution Limits:  There is no government-mandated limit on funding. The employer determines the amount each year. Since the employer is the sole contributor, there are no contribution tax breaks for the employee. However, employer contributions are not counted as income to the employee-participant.

Eligible Expenses: Employee participants can use their HRA to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses for themselves and their dependents. HRA-qualified expenses are determined by the employer and may vary from one company to the next. 

Rollover:  Unused funds may roll over from year to year, either in total or up to a certain amount, depending on the plan parameters.

Portability:  HRAs are not portable. An employee-participant loses access to the funds if he or she changes employers (whether voluntarily or involuntarily). Employers who offer retiree health insurance benefits may also offer an HRA for former employees enrolled in the retiree health plan.

Other Important Facts:  HRAs are “notional” accounts, meaning the participant must incur a qualified expense before funds are paid out. Self-employed persons are generally ineligible to have an HRA. However, if the self-employed person’s spouse is considered an employee of the business and receives a W-2 paycheck, then the spouse can have an HRA.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Funding: HSAs are owned by the employee (although some employers also choose to contribute).

Contribution Limits: For 2024, the maximum annual election is $4,150 for employees with individual health coverage and $8,300 for those with family coverage. 

Eligible Expenses: Employee participants can use their HSA to pay for the same IRS-approved out-of-pocket medical expenses as FSAs. In addition, HSA owners can use their funds to pay premiums for COBRA, long-term care, and Medicare Parts A and B.

Plan Requirement: To be eligible to contribute to an HSA, the employee-participant must be enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP).

Unused Funds: The account automatically renews at the plan year’s end, and any unused funds roll over to the next year.

Portability: HSA accounts, being individually owned, stay with the employee-participant for the life of the account, no matter their employment status.

Other Important Facts:

  • HSAs offer three tax advantages. Contributions are deducted from payroll before tax calculations. Withdrawals for qualified expenses are tax-free. Interest on the balance and any investment earnings are also tax-free.
  • Account owners may invest their HSA dollars once they meet the minimum balance threshold required by their plan provider.
  • Account owners over age 55 can make an extra “catch-up” contribution of up to $1,000 per year above the annual limit.
  • HSA owners under age 65 incur both income tax and non-qualified withdrawal penalties. However, when they turn 65, funds used or withdrawn for non-eligible expenses are only considered regular income for tax calculations.

FSA vs. HRA vs. HSA: The Infographic

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allergies flu COVID

Is it Allergies, Flu or COVID?

From hayrides and warm apple cider to Halloween festivities and Thanksgiving homecomings, people look forward to Fall. But the return of cooler temperatures also brings an increase in hay fever and a rise in cold and flu rates – and there could be another COVID wave. When you sneeze or cough, how do you know … More >>

Inflation Reduction Act May Impact Group Health Plans

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law on August 16, 2022. Among other provisions, the IRA: Addresses aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Requires Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers Caps the cost of prescribed insulin for Medicare recipients at $35 a month Provides an insulin safe harbor for high-deductible … More >>