The Lead - November 2016
IN THIS ISSUE:
Welcome to open enrollment season! To ensure that everything goes smoothly, we’ve put together a few helpful suggestions:
- Set a baseline. Look back on how your clients fared during open enrollment season last year and leverage that data to determine how to deliver education and enrollment support this year.
- Incite action. Recommend that employers engage in an active enrollment strategy that requires employees to reapply for the health care plan and benefits they want.
- Talk it up. Communicate early and often about eligibility for ACA’s employer shared responsibility mandate.
- Ask for “volunteers.” Encourage employers to consider voluntary benefits, such as vision and dental.
- Get well…ness. Use this time to encourage a wellness program (check out ours, Best Friends for Fitness).
- Keep it personal. Knowing your audience means you can present information and recommendations in a more personalized way…which gets them on your side…and also gets them the plan they need.
Keeping these suggestions in mind during open enrollment will make it easier to navigate – and more ‘beneficial’ for everyone.
Lifetime Benefit Solutions’ retirement plan services provide plan sponsors with one of the most visible and valued employee benefit plans, industry-best plans – from initial plan design to implementation.
Lifetime partners with many of the industry’s top mutual fund and insurance platform providers. We provide compliance and administrative services for the plan while investment providers will be responsible for the record keeping of the plan assets on a daily basis.
It’s a winning approach, for you and your customers.
Click here to learn more about our 401(k) services.
Recently, the IRS announced the 2017 annual inflation adjustments for Flexible Spending Account plans.
Revenue Procedure 2016-55 provides details about these annual adjustments.
Please take note of the following adjustments that may impact your FSA, QTB or HSA plans administered by Lifetime Benefit Solutions:
- For the taxable years beginning in 2017, the dollar limitation under § 125(i) on voluntary employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements is $2,600.
- For tax year 2017, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit remains unchanged at $255, the same monthly limitation applies to qualified parking benefits.
As a reminder, in Revenue Procedure 16-28, the IRS set forth new Health Savings Account amounts, which are as follows:
- For calendar year 2017, the annual limitation on deductions under § 223(b)(2)(A) for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,400. For calendar year 2017, the annual limitation on deductions under § 223(b)(2)(B) for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $6,750.
- For calendar year 2017, a “high deductible health plan” is defined under § 223(c)(2)(A) as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,300 for self-only coverage or $2,600 for family coverage, and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums) do not exceed $6,550 for self-only coverage or $13,100 for family coverage.
We understand that 2017 open enrollment materials may have already been prepared and distributed to your employees. However, rest assure that we’ll work with you to ensure that plan changes are made in accordance with your plans.
Unless we’re otherwise notified, the following changes to your plan(s) will take place for 2017:
- If your FSA plan maximum for 2016 is less than the current $2,550 maximum, we will not make any changes to the plan maximum.
- If your FSA plan maximum for 2016 is equal to the current $2,550 maximum, we will update your plan limits to reflect the new $2,600 limit.
We’re proud to have taken home the award for the healthiest workplace among organizations with 101-500 employees at the 6th annual Healthy Workplace Summit & Awards!
Lifetime Benefit Solutions was one of 16 finalists in the category and one of more than 30 finalists overall. We scored high marks for our communication and engagement, wellness programs and tracking.
Want to know more? Check out our new community and health program, Best Friends for Fitness.
Can you feel it? The Holidays are fast approaching. The fact is, this most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful. Shopping, entertaining – and more shopping – can quickly take their toll on even the most joyous of Santa’s helpers. A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that eight out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays – stress that can lead to depression.
Fortunately, according to Healthline, there are several ways to minimize stress:
- Set a spending budget. To help prevent financial stress, review your finances, plan a budget and stick to it. You should not have to resort to credit card debt to pay for gifts. In fact, it’s a good idea to pay in cash for your gifts so you’re not tempted to charge anything you weren’t planning on buying.
- Exercise. Get 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week. And not just so you have energy for all day shopping trips (though that helps). Exercise is a great stress reliever and gives you endorphins that trigger positive feelings. Like Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”
- Set realistic goals. Not everything has to be “Martha Stewart” perfect. You don’t have to take on all the cooking and the decorating and gift wrapping yourself. Get your family involved. Don’t feel obligated to host events. It’s ok to say no!
- Make time for yourself. Holidays can be overwhelming with family, friends and gatherings. Schedule some quality alone time to clear your head and take a breath. Even 15 minutes can help.
- Agree to disagree. We love our family but we all have our differences. Pick your battles and set aside your differences for less anxiety.
Turkey! Cranberry sauce! Stuffing! Mashed potatoes! Traditional Thanksgiving fare is super-delicious on the day itself -- and even better the next day. Leading the Leftover Way are turkey sandwiches and turkey soup. Fact is, though, that there are innumerable tasty ways to enjoy what you don’t finish on November 24. Google “Thanksgiving Leftovers” and you’ll get 3.9 million hits. So why not try something a little different this year and expand your Thanksgiving leftover horizons?
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Click here for the Sweet Potato Biscuits recipe. Courtesy of homecookingmemories.com.
Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza
Click here for the Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza recipe. Courtesy of jellytoastblog.com and adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
The Lead is published periodically to keep you abreast of the ever-changing world of employee benefit plans. You are receiving this newsletter as a partner, customer, associate or friend of Lifetime Benefit Solutions.
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