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Article Library

The Value of Tax-Free

It's that wonderful time of year when the weather gets warmer, the grass gets greener, and we have the pleasure of filing our taxes.  Tax season doesn’t have to be dreaded.  How does a little bit of tax savings sound?  More specifically, the 20 - 25% tax savings on your health benefit plan.  Whether it’s a Flexible Benefit/Cafeteria Plan (Section 125), Health Reimbursement Arrangement (Section 105), or Health Savings Account (Section 223), all three have tax-saving advantages.

Read more: The Value of Tax-Free

Interview with a Benefits Enrollment Specialist

In the world of employee benefits, online enrollment is becoming the new norm. Research from a variety of sources has shown a significant shift in how employees are interacting with their benefit programs. Employees want a simple, easy to use yet dynamic way to better comprehend and consider their insurance options. Online enrollment systems seem to be a logical solution.

We interviewed Kathy Ihle, Benefits Enrollment Specialist at Freedom Services, to better understand online enrollment and benefit management systems as a whole.

Read more: Interview with a Benefits Enrollment Specialist

Health Flexible Spending Account Changes for 2013

Starting in 2013, employees' contributions to their Health FSA will be limited to a maximum of $2,500. The Dependent Care maximum remains at $5,000. Many companies have allowed their employees to contribute much more to their Health FSA in the past. So why the change? The new health care requirements are bringing in more expanded, affordable coverage, so the assumption is that employees would have less need for flexible spending accounts. Also, by limiting this tax break, the revenue the government may get will help the nation’s current health care overhaul.

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Answers to your HSA Questions

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have been available since 2004, but they seem to be a relatively unknown concept to the health care marketplace. Because so much confusion still remains surrounding HSAs, we have provided a review of how HSAs work.

Read more: Answers to your HSA Questions

Top 3 Plan Design Choices

As a full service administrator, Freedom Services offers a variety of plan design options to meet diverse client needs. Our broker interaction reveals the current trends in healthcare. Defined Contribution, Health Reimbursement Arrangements and our new self-insured plan, Freedom Advantage, have all generated a lot of interest.

Read more: Top 3 Plan Design Choices

Healthcare Reform

What are Your Clients Doing to Prepare?

As you talk with your clients, you know that there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding what Health Care Reform will ultimately look like. However, according to a new survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, “For the most part, employers have moved beyond the “wait and see” phase they were in just a year ago and are beginning to take action” says Sally Natchek, Senior Director of Research at the Foundation.

This survey also shows that employers are expecting their costs to rise. For 2011 this is primarily due to extending coverage to adult children to age 26 and increased costs related to changes in the Medicare and Medcaid programs. To help ease the employers’ increased costs brought on by health care reform, many are changing the designs of their plans to shift more costs to their employees.

So what can you do to help your clients move forward in this new environment?

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Read more: Healthcare Reform