HSA News for April 15, 2019

Here is the latest in the world of HSAs from Mr. HSA, Roy Ramthun.

News from Washington

Sanders Unveils New Medicare for All Bill with Backing from Other 2020 Democrats

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled his revamped Medicare for all bill on April 10 with the support of four Senate Democrats also running for president. The bill that would largely eliminate private insurance and institute a single-payer system managed by the government.

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Public Option Hits a Wall in Blue States

Legislation around the country to craft a so-called "public option" has stalled over political and financial roadblocks, underscoring the challenge of creating coverage expansions even less comprehensive than the "Medicare for All" plan championed by Democratic presidential contenders and progressives in Congress.

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Senators Press Drug Industry 'Middlemen' Over High Prices

During a hearing on April 9, members of the Senate Finance Committee sought to shine a light on the work of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the drug middlemen, who handle claims for big insurers and help negotiate drug prices with manufacturers.

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HHS Secretary Calls on Employers to Drive Down Health Costs

HHS Secretary Alex Azar called on employers to do their part in driving down healthcare costs and helping employees better navigate the health system. Employers have taken the lead on adopting CDHPs with higher deductibles that should incentivize patients to choose care options with more competitive prices. It’s a positive step, he said, but only if employees have the tools to shop around.

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Republicans Offer 'Free Market Alternative' to Paid Family Leave

13 House Republicans introduced legislation on April 9 that they say would provide a “free market alternative” to paid family leave proposals. The bill would allow individuals to use HSAs to cover expenses while on leave following a birth, adoption or family member's illness. The bill would also expand the scope of who can obtain an HSA and increase the annual contribution limit.

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HSA Compliance Corner

“Mr. HSA” Finalizes 2020 HSA Projections

Roy Ramthun, aka "Mr. HSA," has finalized his projected HSA amounts for next year. He predicts that the HSA contribution limits will increase for 2020. The HDHP minimum deductibles and annual out-of-pocket maximums will also rise for 2020. The IRS will make these amounts official in the coming weeks.

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HSA Industry News

Lively HSA Goes Mobile

Lively Inc. has announced the release of an iOS mobile device application, designed to bring the capabilities of a Lively HSA to consumers’ smartphones. The app allows HSA owners to manage their balance, review transactions, track HSA spending and to automate future contributions, among other capabilities.

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Fidelity Adds Benefits Bundle for Small and Mid-sized Employers

Fidelity has launched Fidelity Works, a suite of benefits catered to small and mid-sized businesses (30 to 2,000 workers). Fidelity says the service will assist employers in managing payroll services, human resources and benefits administration, HSAs, and retirement savings plans, as well as student debt repayment programs and charitable giving programs.

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The HSA Market

HSAs March Ever Higher, Expected to Continue

HSAs continue surging on all fronts. The number of accounts grew 13% over the past year to top 25 million while assets grew 19% to $53.8 billion, according to Devenir. Enrollment in HDHPs is also on the rise among U.S. employers. 70% of employers offered at least one HDHP option in 2018, up from 58% in just two years.

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A Dose of Reality on HSA Investments

Over the past year, I have been reading article after article that gushes over the advantages of HSA investments. I worry that there is a major disconnect between the layperson’s reality and awareness of HSAs as a long-term investment vehicle and the industry’s bullishness.

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Communicating the Difference Between FSAs and HSAs to Participants

Employers need to understand the basics of HSAs and FSAs in order to communicate to participants accurately, and they can use the differences to help employees view HSAs as long-term savings accounts.

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How 60 of the Nation’s Biggest Employers Are Uniting to Fight the Benefits Status Quo

Around the country, benefits departments were quietly seething over a number of issues wreaking havoc on their companies and their employees: Rising costs. Chronic conditions. Growing amounts of waste. Lack of transparency. What started as a small group of companies meeting together in 2014 has quietly blossomed into a powerful industry force that has intentionally flown under the radar until now.

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HSAs & Retirement

Are HSAs the Answer to Millennial Retirement Savings?

Retirement: It’s a word that often doesn’t make the list of most pressing concerns for millennials. In fact, 42% of millennials have no retirement savings at all, according to a recent study. Here are some retirement strategies for millennials and how employers can best communicate them to their workforce.

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Over 55? Maximize Your Savings in This Tax-Advantaged Account

Older workers have a plum opportunity to sock away even more cash to cover health costs in retirement — provided they do it correctly. Once you‘re 55, you can make a catch-up contribution of $1,000 to your HSA. That‘s where things can become complicated. Here‘s where you‘re likely to hit complications when you‘re funding an HSA and how to overcome them.

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3 Major Expenses No One Can Avoid in Retirement

Retirement may relieve you from decades of work, but some obligations are inescapable. It's crucial to consider two major expenses in calculations for retirement needs: health insurance and taxes.

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How 401k Advisors Can Step Up Their HSA Game

Through the first half of 2018, Devenir found HSA contributions totaled about $19.8 million, while withdrawals totaled over $13.7 million. This demonstrates most people are still using their HSA primarily to pay for out-of-pocket medical costs, and still missing out on an HSA’s best feature: its unique triple tax advantage makes it a formidable retirement savings vehicle.

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Maximizing Your HSA

With Tax Day Looming, Don’t Forget the Power of HSAs

With Tax Day fast approaching, it’s the ideal time to reboot the conversation with employees about HSAs and the array of tax advantages they offer. And for those last-minute tax filers, there is actually still time to squeeze a little more out of their HSA benefits for the 2018 tax season.

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An HSA Is a Great Way to Manage Health-Care Costs

As young adults start saving for the future, the ever-growing price tag of health care can throw a wrench into their plans. They should consider using an HSA – it’s not the right choice for everyone, though it is an option with much to like.

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Why CDHPs Work for All Generations

For an employee to really take advantage of the benefits of CDHP, they may need to adopt a consumer-directed healthcare mindset based on their own personal circumstances. While these circumstances differ from person to person, one of the easiest ways to determine how a CDHP can help your employees is through generational classification.

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How Pre-Tax Benefits Can Lead To A Less Taxing Life

While nonprofit organizations have been offering tax-advantaged benefit programs to their employees for years, many people do not fully understand what they entail or how to use these powerful financial tools to their advantage.

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Consumer-Driven Health Care

7 Ways to Be Proactive About Your Health and Health Care Costs

These days, health care can seem more complicated than ever. With rising premiums and different levels of coverage, it can be confusing to know what you can afford when it comes to wellness visits, urgent care and prescriptions. Here are some simple ideas that could help you save on health care.

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3 Big Tips on Telling Your Employees About Higher Health Care Costs

We have to tell the employees that their health care premiums are going up again. The business can't sustain the cost of health insurance without the employees paying more; either the employees pay more, or there won't be jobs available. Let this guide help you take a little bit of the pain away from telling your employees.

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Do Consumers Drive the Healthcare Bus? Fuggedaboutit

Think the consumer is going to be in the healthcare driver's seat for the foreseeable future? Think again, and look toward physician behavior instead, says former CBO Director Peter Orszag. "You can do all you want on consumer-driven health for 75% of beneficiaries and it won't move the needle that much because they only account for 15% of spend."

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Bryan CaplanComment