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2018 Mid-Year Devenir HSA Reseach is Out

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Wednesday, August 22, 2018
The new 2018 Mid-Year Devenir HSA Research has been released and the Executive Summary is now available in here in the Industry Reports File Library on ecfc.org.

Tags:  Devenir  HSA  research 

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Kelly helps steer two of his bipartisan health care bills through House committee

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 18, 2018
From The Ripon Advance

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), a member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, last week participated in two days of committee markup hearings on 11 health care bills and helped pass two pieces of bipartisan legislation he introduced.

Among the 11 bills passed by the committee on July 11-12 was the Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act of 2018, H.R. 6305, which Rep. Kelly introduced on July 3 to expand Americans’ access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and the Employer Relief Act of 2018, H.R. 4616, for which the congressman was the sole original cosponsor upon its introduction in December 2017 by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

“H.R. 6305 gives employers more flexibility to offer quality health care in the setting best for them, like on-site or retail clinics,” said Rep. Kelly in a July 13 statement. “Employers around our country are offering innovative ways to deliver health care to their associates, and this provision makes sure that individuals with HSAs can utilize these same services.”

Additionally, he pointed out, H.R. 6305 would fix the HSA spouse penalty by allowing individuals to make HSA contributions if a spouse has a Flexible Spending Account, but preventing double-dipping in tax benefits. The bill also would streamline the conversion of other tax-preferred accounts to HSAs, thereby making it easier for Americans to save money for health care services.

“Ultimately, this bill modernizes health care delivery and gives employers the freedom to innovate and improve their employees’ health insurance,” Rep. Kelly said. “We are trying to improve health care for all Americans. This means giving consumers a choice in their health care. This means incentivizing wellness and exercise, not sickness. This means giving employers the freedom to design insurance products that work best for their associates.”

In thanking U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the original cosponsor of H.R. 6305, Congressman Kelly called the issue “extremely important for the 175 million people who get their health insurance from their employer,” and urged fast action by congressional members toward making H.R. 6305 a federal law.

Nearly 30 conservative leaders agree. In a July 11 open letter sent to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, the leaders wrote in support of the committee’s legislative efforts to expand HSAs, including Rep. Kelly’s bill.

“Since they were created almost 15 years ago, HSAs have proven successful in promoting healthcare choice, lowering taxes and lowering healthcare costs. Expanding HSAs will build on this success,” according to the letter, which was signed by the leaders of groups including Americans for Tax Reform, the HSA Coalition, Americans for Prosperity, the Campaign for Liberty, the 60 Plus Association, the Goldwater Institute, Health Freedom Hub, the National Taxpayers Union, Hispanic Leadership Fund, and the Independent Women’s Forum, among others.

Another Kelly bill passes
The House Ways and Means Committee also approved H.R. 4616, which would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to provide for a temporary moratorium on the employer mandate and to provide for a delay in the implementation of the excise tax on high-cost, employer-sponsored health coverage, according to the congressional record.

Rep. Kelly noted that the employer mandate on small businesses having more than 50 employees costs them millions of dollars in unnecessary administrative compliance and reporting.

If enacted, H.R. 4616 would provide three years of retroactive relief and one year of prospective relief from the employer mandate provision within Obamacare, paired with a one-year extended delay of the law’s so-called Cadillac Tax on high-value health care plans.

“Mr. Nunes and I introduced this bill to give relief to Americans and employers struggling under Obamacare,” said Rep. Kelly during the Ways and Means Committee markup on H.R. 4616, which would delay the Cadillac Tax for one additional year, until 2023.

“We have discussed the Cadillac Tax at length in this committee and how it is a misguided policy in Obamacare,” said the congressman, adding that H.R. 4616 “is good progress, but we cannot lose sight of the goal: the full repeal of the Cadillac Tax.”

Ending the tax, which Rep. Kelly said “continues to hang over the head of the 175 million Americans who receive health insurance through their employer,” is actually an issue that he thinks unites House Republicans and Democrats, as evidenced by support for the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017, H.R. 173, which Rep. Kelly introduced on Jan. 3, 2017.

H.R. 173 currently has 297 co-sponsors, giving the measure a veto-proof majority, according to his office. The bipartisan H.R. 173, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), is under consideration by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.

Rep. Kelly also said during the markup hearing that H.R. 4616 would provide relief to “employers crushed under the employer mandate” by ending “another misguided policy in Obamacare that the Obama administration never enforced.”

“Let’s not lose sight of repealing all of Obamacare’s misguided taxes on hard-working Americans,” the congressman reminded his colleagues.

Tags:  House Ways and Means  HSA  Mike Kelly 

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Devenir Releases Viewpoints White Paper – Best Practices: HSA Investments & Menu Design

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Monday, July 2, 2018

Devenir has released a white paper Viewpoint exploring best practices for HSA investments & menu design.

In a press release, Devenir notes that widespread interest has put HSA investments, an important aspect of HSAs, in the spotlight. Several recent reports, publications and articles have featured HSA investing as a promising tool for improving health and wealth. While these reports have often made compelling points and offered insight, most have viewed HSAs through external lenses and failed to capture important nuances of the HSA market. HSAs differ from 401(k)s and other more traditional retirement accounts in a number of ways. By offering best-practice marketplace conventions, stakeholders can form more comprehensive and healthier assessments of the HSA investment landscape.

Highlights from the Viewpoint include:

  • Menu Design: Well-designed investment menus typically offer broad asset class coverage that provides for various HSA strategy objectives.
  • Investment Quality: Comparing performance and a holistic approach to evaluating cost.
  • Plan Design: Implementing menu changes in the HSA space & plan features in demand

“Since HSA investments have come into the spotlight, we felt it made sense to share some of the insights we’ve gathered over 14 years of experience in the HSA marketplace,” said Zach Haas, lead author of the white paper and investment analyst at Devenir.

The full version of the Viewpoint is available exclusively to Devenir’s clients

Click here to access the Executive Summary.

Tags:  Best Practices  Devenir  HSA 

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The Black Hole of Financial Planning: Health Care Costs

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

From InvestmentNews Retirement 2.0 Blog:

Mary Beth Franklin cites the annual health care survey from Nationwide Retirement Institute released Monday writing that "affluent older adults are worried about what health care costs, including long-term care expenses, could do to their carefully laid retirement plans. Yet only about half of those who work with a financial adviser have discussed their fears because they consider health care a personal matter, according to a new survey."

Franklin notes that the survey found that most future retirees are taking steps to save for health care costs in retirement, including building up their savings accounts (59%), investing (56%), increasing their 401(k) contributions (46%) and paying off credit card debt and loans (36%).

"But while nearly half of employed affluent adults have access to a health savings account (HSA) through their employer, only 30% contribute to the HSAs, and few fully leverage HSAs' triple tax break. Of those who do contribute to an HSA, only 10% maximize the accounts by using them as long-term savings vehicles. Unused HSA funds can be rolled over from year to year and can be used tax-free to pay for future health care costs in retirement, which in turn can reduce future income taxes and possibly reduce future Medicare premiums."

Franklin concludes that "advisers can help clients by creating personalized health care costs estimates, projecting savings needs for those costs and recommending funding sources such as HSAs, insurance, Social Security, and Medicare. Advisers should also suggest that clients discuss potential health care needs and costs with family members to create a truly holistic retirement plan."

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Tags:  HSA  retirement 

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Fidelity Finds Little Knowledge About HSAs

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Friday, June 15, 2018

Lee Barney writes in PlanSponsor that Fidelity says that 25% of employees with access to an HSA are using one. When employers offer only an HSA-eligible health plan, 46% of workers add this savings benefit. 

Fidelity notes that the contribution limits for 2018 are $3,450 for individuals, $6,900 for a family, and $1,000 in catch-up contributions for those over age 55. However, last year, individuals contributed an average of $1,800 and family account owners, $3,800

Nearly 40% of people are unaware that the money in an HSA can carry forward. Instead, they think if they don’t use it, they will lose it at the end of the year. Additionally, 46% of HSA account holders are unaware they can invest their contribution, and a mere 7.7% actually do invest the money.

 

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Tags:  Fidelity  HSA 

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ABA’s McKechnie Calls on Congress to Expand HSAs

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Monday, June 11, 2018

In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee today, American Bankers Association Health Savings Account Council Executive Director Kevin McKechnie called on Congress to expand and strengthen health savings accounts as part of the ongoing effort to improve the American healthcare system.

Noting that HSAs are important tool for improving the quality of healthcare while keeping costs down, McKechnie urged lawmakers to support several HSA-related proposals currently before Congress that would expand HSA access to more Americans, permit the accounts to be used for over-the-counter medications and allow HSA-qualified health plans to cover care for medically complex chronic conditions with no deductible. He also called for an increase to contribution limits to match the statutory limit on out-of-pocket expenses for HSA-qualified plans, and advocated for an additional method of determining HSA-qualification using the more flexible actuarial value approach.

“These ideas are vetted, bipartisan and affordable,” he said. “Some would actually save taxpayer money. Individually and together, they can dramatically strengthen the proven, successful HSA model.”

Tags:  ABA  HSA  McKechnie 

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HSA Bank Health & Wealth Index Reveals where Americans Stand with their Physical and Financial Well-being

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, N.A., released the HSA Bank Health & Wealth IndexSM for 2018, a new report that explores how today’s consumers are faring when it comes to their financial and physical health. More than 1,000 U.S. adults were surveyed about their health plan enrollment status, health practices, ability to pay for health-related expenses, and level of engagement in their own health and wealth. The results showed that 41 percent never save money for future healthcare expenses and 35 percent never consider cost when selecting health services.

Key findings from the report show that although consumers are paying attention to their physical health and engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors, opportunities exist for employers, benefit administrators, and healthcare providers to further educate consumers on the various factors that play a critical role in influencing physical and financial health.

1. Consumers can improve their focus on the financial aspect of healthcare.
2. Consumer confidence in health plan coverage does not align with their financial literacy of health plans.
3. Consumers are making lifestyle changes to improve their health.

To view the full report, visit hsabank.com/healthandwealthindex.

Tags:  HSA 

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3 Policy Changes to Increase HSA Access

Posted By Martin Trussell CFC, Friday, May 11, 2018

From ThinkAdvisor, By Anne Richter

As health care costs continue to rise, health spending accounts are gaining momentum as vital tools that help many Americans save money by using pretax dollars to pay for health-related expenses. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) are two of the most common such vehicles. These consumer-driven spending accounts are particularly useful in conjunction with high-deductible health plans, which are becoming more common among workplace benefits offerings.

As the use of these accounts increases, legislative changes are needed in order to make them effective and accessible to more Americans. Here are three regulatory updates currently on the table to encourage broader use of FSAs and HSAs among American employers and employees:

1. Repeal or amend the “Cadillac Tax”

The excise tax on high-cost employer-provided health plans (also known as the “Cadillac Tax”) was included in the Affordable Care Act to discourage employers from providing excessively rich health benefits at taxpayers’ expense. It places a 40% tax (paid by the employer) on the cost of health coverage that exceeds certain threshold amounts.

The Cadillac Tax has unintended consequences for HSAs and FSAs. In particular, the inclusion of individual employee contributions to these accounts in the calculation of the tax threshold creates a significant disincentive for employers to offer these benefits, for fear of triggering the excise tax.

An amendment to repeal the Cadillac Tax passed the Senatein July 2017, but the corresponding bill has yet to pass the House of Representatives. On Jan. 22, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law a two-year delay on the Cadillac Taxas part of the federal funding bill to end a partial government shutdown. The tax remains delayed until 2022, but a two-year delay has little impact on the many employers who must make decisions about their benefits programs three to five years in advance. In order to maintain and expand the availability of FSA and HSA accounts for working families, Congress must repeal the Cadillac Tax entirely, or at the very least pass legislation to exempt individuals’ contributions to these accounts from the calculation of the tax threshold.

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Tags:  Cadillac Tax  HSA 

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Has HSA Enrollment Stalled?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 10, 2018
FROM NAPA:

 

In 2017, enrollment estimates in HSA-eligible health plans vary considerably – from 21.4 million to 33.7 policyholders and their dependents, according to a new report. But, according to the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), there is one consistency between the enrollment estimates – most sources show that growth appears to have slowed in 2017, especially when looking at the market share of HSA-eligible health plan enrollment.

The report acknowledges that it can be challenging to determine how many people are enrolled in an HSA-eligible health plan and how that number has been changing. Indeed, the report notes that, for the most part, there are just a handful of surveys used to determine the number of people enrolled in an HSA-eligible health plan.

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Tags:  HSA 

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Education Key to HDHP and HSA Engagement

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 10, 2018

Just 13% of the 1,100 respondents to WEX Health’s first-ever Clear Insights report identified a health savings account (HSA) as the employer benefit that provides the most pre-tax savings.

In addition, more than half (54%) were not aware that they could invest their HSA funds in stocks, mutual funds and other investment vehicles. And, three-quarters of respondents see their HSA as a way to pay for health care expenses this year, which indicates they may not be aware that funds can be carried over into the next year. WEX Health says all these findings add up to a significant opportunity for further educationon the triple-tax advantages of HSA accounts.

More than three-quarters (82%) of those who participate in high deductible health plans (HDHPs) either somewhat or strongly agree that managing their health care spending account helps them make smarter health decisions. The survey found the ways to motivate employees the most to access resources and make better health care choices are financial incentives (64%), emails (43%), online tools and resources (38%) and online ability to track employees’ health care goals (33%).

The most challenging part respondents cited in using their HSA was making sure to have enough funds set aside to cover deductibles (29%) and figuring out how much money to put in the account overall (21%).

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Tags:  HSA  WEXHealth 

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