5 last-minute tips before open enrollment ends

Health insuranceFor starters, health insurance is the most significant component of your benefits. The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are. Try to figure out your future health-care needs, said Myles Ma, a health-care expert at online insurance marketplace Policygenius. Similarly, more employers are adding pet insurance to their benefits package. Nearly 70% of U.S. households own a pet, according to the Am


Health insuranceFor starters, health insurance is the most significant component of your benefits.
The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are.
Try to figure out your future health-care needs, said Myles Ma, a health-care expert at online insurance marketplace Policygenius.
Similarly, more employers are adding pet insurance to their benefits package.
Nearly 70% of U.S. households own a pet, according to the Am
5 last-minute tips before open enrollment ends Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-13  Authors: jessica dickler
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, benefits, ends, tips, pet, insurance, open, lastminute, enrollment, future, ceo, coverage, care, according, healthcare, health


5 last-minute tips before open enrollment ends

Open enrollment season is just about over for most workers. At the very least, employees should have evaluated their existing coverage to make sure it is still their best option. “Don’t assume that what’s right for you now is right in the future,” said Suzanne Goulden, the director of total rewards at the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM. “Look at everything your employer has to offer.” This year, in particular, there could be some changes to the plans that are available and the details of those offerings, making it even more important to check in during open enrollment. “There are many factors, both in a benefits plan and in one’s personal life, that can change every year,” Kelley Long, a CPA and member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates, said in a statement. “By ‘setting and forgetting’ a benefit plan, you not only run the risk of getting stuck in one that isn’t right for you but also one that costs you extra.” Before the window closes for another 12 months for most of us, here are a few of the things to watch out for in the final days of open enrollment:

1. Health insurance

For starters, health insurance is the most significant component of your benefits. Be aware that premiums — and deductibles — are, in general, going up. Average annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 5% to more than $20,500 this year, according to the 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits survey, while wages rose just over 3% during the same time period. Workers are now paying $6,015 toward the cost of their coverage, on average, while employers generally pay the rest. In addition, more workers have a deductible — the amount you pay before coverage kicks in — and that deductible is also rising. The average deductible for a single person is now $1,655, double what it was a decade ago.

The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are. Drew Altman president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation

“The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are,” Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement.

2. Health savings accounts

3. Future health-care costs

While you are anticipating your upcoming expenses, it’s a good time to think about how your health issues are changing and if you have any big-ticket items on the horizon, such as orthodontic braces or a planned surgery. If you have a child trying a new sport and you are concerned about possible emergency room visits in the months ahead, then you may also want to consider accident insurance, advised David Reid, the CEO of Ease, a benefits administration company. There may even be additional options that haven’t been available before, according to Reid, such as elder care, which helps cover the cost of care for a qualified adult dependent. As it stands, about a third of adults have taken on the role of caregiver, while 22% expect to in the future, one Northwestern Mutual study found. Of the respondents who already have stepped into that position, nearly half said their new role was unexpected, and often a financial shock. Try to figure out your future health-care needs, said Myles Ma, a health-care expert at online insurance marketplace Policygenius. “If you don’t, it could potentially be a costly financial mistake,” he said.

4. Voluntary benefits

In addition to elder care, there are a variety of emerging options that are often overlooked, such as student loan repayment, mental health assistance or pet insurance. About 8% of companies, including Aetna, Fidelity and PwC, now offer taxable contributions to help employees repay student loans, up from 4% three years ago, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 Employee Benefits survey. Companies such as Cisco have also begun to include mental-health services among health-care coverage options, as well as offerings such as teletherapy to help employees deal with work-life stressors and personal issues. Similarly, more employers are adding pet insurance to their benefits package. In fact, “it’s one of the fastest-growing areas of coverage out there,” according to William Ziebell, CEO of the benefits consulting division of Gallagher. Nearly 70% of U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association, and, chances are that 1 in 3 of these pets will need emergency veterinary treatment within any given year. The average cost of an unexpected visit to the veterinarian can range from $800 to $1,500 — an extra expense many Americans could not otherwise afford.

5. Changes in your current plan


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-13  Authors: jessica dickler
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Don’t miss these hidden benefits of open enrollment

Given record-low unemployment and competition to attract and keep top talent, more employers are upping the ante with voluntary benefits, according to William Ziebell, CEO of the benefits consulting division of Gallagher. Still, nearly three-quarters of working adults will spend 45 minutes or less reviewing their benefits before enrolling, according to recent research by employee benefits provider Unum. Overall outstanding student debt is a stunning $1.6 trillion. Unum is one of the growing numb


Given record-low unemployment and competition to attract and keep top talent, more employers are upping the ante with voluntary benefits, according to William Ziebell, CEO of the benefits consulting division of Gallagher.
Still, nearly three-quarters of working adults will spend 45 minutes or less reviewing their benefits before enrolling, according to recent research by employee benefits provider Unum.
Overall outstanding student debt is a stunning $1.6 trillion.
Unum is one of the growing numb
Don’t miss these hidden benefits of open enrollment Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-09  Authors: jessica dickler, sharon epperson
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, enrollment, loan, dont, benefits, insurance, health, employees, employee, miss, student, according, debt, pet, hidden, open


Don't miss these hidden benefits of open enrollment

Open enrollment season is underway for many workers.

And as employees pick their health plans for the year ahead, they may be missing out on some valuable new offerings.

Given record-low unemployment and competition to attract and keep top talent, more employers are upping the ante with voluntary benefits, according to William Ziebell, CEO of the benefits consulting division of Gallagher.

In addition to health care, there are a variety of other options that are often overlooked, such as student loan repayment, elder care, mental health assistance or pet insurance.

“Employers are looking for ways other than compensation to provide a benefit to their employees,” said David Reid, the CEO of Ease, a benefits administration company.

Still, nearly three-quarters of working adults will spend 45 minutes or less reviewing their benefits before enrolling, according to recent research by employee benefits provider Unum.

“There’s a broad landscape of benefits that are emerging,” said Rob Hecker, the vice president of global total rewards at Unum. Now, “there is a whole host of offerings to choose from.”

Here are a few of those options that could be particularly worthwhile:

Student loan assistance: Americans are more burdened by college loans than they are by credit card or auto debt. Overall outstanding student debt is a stunning $1.6 trillion.

Now, about 8% of companies, including Aetna, Fidelity and PwC, offer taxable contributions to help employees repay student loans, up from 4% three years ago, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 Employee Benefits survey.

Unum is one of the growing number of businesses that have added student loan assistance to their benefits menu.

At Unum, U.S. employees can trade up to five days, or 40 hours, of unused vacation time for a payment against their student loan tab through the Student Debt Relief Program, which is managed by Fidelity.

That can go a long way for an employee struggling with student debt.

For example, if someone has a student loan balance of $26,500 on a 10-year repayment term with a 4% interest rate, a $100 a month contribution from his or her employer would free them from their debt three years earlier.

“If I were a young employee and I had that benefit, I’d be stoked,” said Reid.

Pet insurance: Nearly 70% of U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association, and, chances are that 1 in 3 of these pets will need emergency veterinary treatment within any given year.

The average cost of an unexpected visit to the veterinarian can range from $800 to $1,500, according to Petplan, a Philadelphia-based pet insurance company — an extra expense many Americans cannot afford.

For that reason, more employers could consider adding pet insurance to their benefits package.

“For many individuals, their pet is part of the family and if they need a surgery, having insurance can help you in that regard,” Ziebell said. In fact, “it’s one of the fastest-growing areas of coverage out there.”

As of last year, close to 2.16 million pets were insured in the U.S., an increase of 18% over the previous year, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-09  Authors: jessica dickler, sharon epperson
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, enrollment, loan, dont, benefits, insurance, health, employees, employee, miss, student, according, debt, pet, hidden, open


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Here are the hidden benefits of a Roth IRA conversion

Yet there are some less obvious reasons for certain retirees or retirement savers to consider doing a so-called Roth conversion. Right now, though, federal taxes are relatively low, which would mean paying less than you might down the road if you were to wait to do a Roth conversion. Here are some of the situations, discussed by Levine, where a Roth conversion might be right for you. On the other hand, if you’re heading to a low- or no-tax state and are considering a Roth conversion, it might ma


Yet there are some less obvious reasons for certain retirees or retirement savers to consider doing a so-called Roth conversion.
Right now, though, federal taxes are relatively low, which would mean paying less than you might down the road if you were to wait to do a Roth conversion.
Here are some of the situations, discussed by Levine, where a Roth conversion might be right for you.
On the other hand, if you’re heading to a low- or no-tax state and are considering a Roth conversion, it might ma
Here are the hidden benefits of a Roth IRA conversion Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-07  Authors: sarah obrien
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, pay, hidden, taxes, benefits, roth, income, levine, deduction, tax, ira, money, conversion


Here are the hidden benefits of a Roth IRA conversion

For some savers, the lure of moving assets to a Roth individual retirement account from a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan often boils down to the tax-free income it will deliver in their golden years. Yet there are some less obvious reasons for certain retirees or retirement savers to consider doing a so-called Roth conversion. First, though, the basics: Unlike traditional IRAs whose distributions are taxed, their Roth counterparts generally come with tax-free distributions once you reach age 59½. They also come with no required minimum distributions — annual amounts you must take starting at age 70½ — during your lifetime.

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However, contributions aren’t tax-deductible the way they are with traditional IRAs or 401(k) plans. That means if you move pre-tax money from one of those accounts to a Roth IRA, you must pay taxes on the amount moved — and have a plan for paying the taxes due. Right now, though, federal taxes are relatively low, which would mean paying less than you might down the road if you were to wait to do a Roth conversion. “It’s more likely that taxes will rise in the future, not go down,” said CPA Jeffrey Levine, CEO of BluePrint Wealth Alliance in Garden City, New York, during a Roth IRA educational session at Schwab’s IMPACT conference in San Diego.

Also, while there are contribution and income limits that apply to direct contributions made to a Roth IRA, those restrictions don’t exist for assets transferred from other qualified retirement accounts. At the same time, however, there may be reasons not to do a conversion or to limit how much you convert in one year. And, because some of the rules can get confusing, it’s wise to get professional guidance to ensure the move makes sense for your situation. Additionally, it should be appropriate within the context of your overall financial plan, Levine said. Here are some of the situations, discussed by Levine, where a Roth conversion might be right for you.

Relocating

While you’re subject to the same federal tax rate regardless of where you live, the same can’t be said for state taxes. Some retirees in search of lower taxes head to states with no income tax, such as Florida. Yet there can be many reasons for retirees to relocate that have nothing to do with taxes — i.e., moving to be near grandchildren, Levine said. Regardless of the reason, if your new home would be in a state with a higher tax rate than you have now, converting money to a Roth IRA from a 401(k) or traditional IRA would mean being able to avoid that new, higher rate altogether when you take money out. On the other hand, if you’re heading to a low- or no-tax state and are considering a Roth conversion, it might make sense to wait until after the move.

The “widow penalty”

Even for retired couples with more modest income, a Roth rollover can make sense if it’s anticipated that one spouse will outlive the other. The reason is that after the death of one spouse, household income may not drop all that much. When that’s the case, being taxed as a single filer generates more in taxes than filing jointly as a married couple. For example, income of $60,000 puts a married couple in the 12% tax bracket. A single filer with that income would be in the 22% bracket. Additionally, the standard deduction for single filers is half that for married couples: $12,200 vs. $24,400.

That possible change in filing status is an important input for whether to do the conversion or not. Jeffrey Levine CEO of BluePrint Wealth Alliance

So, the idea is that if the couple did a Roth conversion, the surviving spouse could have some tax-free income instead of paying at a higher rate. “That possible change in filing status is an important input for whether to do the conversion or not,” Levine said.

Retiring early

While regular IRAs and 401(k) accounts generally come with a 10% penalty if you withdraw money before age 59½, the rules are slightly different for Roth IRAs. Direct contributions — which, again, are after-tax — can be withdrawn at any time penalty-free. The earnings, though, must remain untouched to avoid the penalty (and taxes). For money that’s converted to a Roth IRA, you can avoid the penalty as long as you leave it alone for five years. As with direct contributions, however, the earnings remain off-limits until age 59½ or you’ll pay the 10% penalty and taxes. More from Your Money Your Future:

Here’s how much you can save toward retirement in 2020

How holiday travelers plan to pay for their trips

Don’t miss the tax advantages of this savings account

Small-business owners

If you’re a small-business owner who can take advantage of the 20% deduction on so-called pass-through income — that is, income that flows from the business through your individual tax return — a Roth rollover may help reduce the amount of tax you pay. For taxpayers who are eligible for that deduction, the rule is that it applies to the lesser of either your taxable income (less capital gains) or your qualified business income, Levine said. So the more income you can apply that deduction to, the less you’ll pay in taxes. “Generate more taxable income, and your deduction also increases,” Levine said. For illustration, he offered this scenario: Say a married couple filing jointly has $200,000 in business income. Assume that after applying their various allowed deductions — excluding the 20% pass-through one — their taxable income is $150,000.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-07  Authors: sarah obrien
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, pay, hidden, taxes, benefits, roth, income, levine, deduction, tax, ira, money, conversion


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Here are 3 tips to get the most out of your employee benefits for 2020

Employers are rolling out their benefits packages for 2020, and that means it’s time for you to choose your health-care, life insurance and disability coverage for the new year. Review your medical coverageJetta Productions | Getty ImagesEmployers and workers alike are shelling out a lot of money for health insurance. Regardless of how you proceed, always think about the co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums as you compare benefits. Go over 401(k) contributionsdesigner491 | iStock | Ge


Employers are rolling out their benefits packages for 2020, and that means it’s time for you to choose your health-care, life insurance and disability coverage for the new year.
Review your medical coverageJetta Productions | Getty ImagesEmployers and workers alike are shelling out a lot of money for health insurance.
Regardless of how you proceed, always think about the co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums as you compare benefits.
Go over 401(k) contributionsdesigner491 | iStock | Ge
Here are 3 tips to get the most out of your employee benefits for 2020 Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-05  Authors: darla mercado, patrick b healey, founder, president of caliber financial partners, joseph bartholomew
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, medical, health, family, financial, getty, deductibles, line, benefits, youre, tips, plan, 401k, employee, 2020


Here are 3 tips to get the most out of your employee benefits for 2020

This fall, resist the temptation to just re-elect all of last year’s workplace benefits. Employers are rolling out their benefits packages for 2020, and that means it’s time for you to choose your health-care, life insurance and disability coverage for the new year. Failure to pay attention means you could miss out on valuable opportunities that could help you defray medical and childcare costs, as well as shave a few bucks off your tax bill. “Take a look and see if there are new options and features that would really make a difference in your financial life,” said Winnie Sun, co-founder and managing director of Sun Group Wealth Partners in Irvine, California. Here’s where to begin.

Review your medical coverage

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Employers and workers alike are shelling out a lot of money for health insurance. Combined health spending by a company and a worker with a family of four hit $22,885 in 2018, according to data from Kaiser Family Foundation. That figure includes premium contributions by both parties, as well as families’ out-of-pocket spending on deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Take a moment to consider the extent to which you used your benefits this year. If you’re young, healthy and manage to avoid visiting the doctor, a high-deductible plan with a health savings account might be an appropriate choice for you.

These plans often come with lower premiums, as well as the opportunity to save pre-tax or tax-deductible dollars in a so-called HSA. Money in an HSA accumulates free of taxes and may be used for qualified medical expenses tax-free as well. On the other hand, a more traditional plan — such as a preferred provider organization — might be a better option if you and your family regularly use health care. They might also be worth a look if you’d have trouble affording a higher deductible. These PPOs tend come with higher premiums but lower deductibles. “Perhaps you don’t need that rich medical benefit, but maybe you do,” said Sun. “Go through it line item by line item.” Regardless of how you proceed, always think about the co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums as you compare benefits.

Go over 401(k) contributions

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If you’re already contributing to your workplace 401(k), congratulations! Now think about what you can do to squirrel away a few more dollars. “I would love to challenge you to increase your 401(k) contributions,” said Sun. If you’re already saving enough to qualify for the employer match, consider raising your contribution next year.” Some plans include an automatic escalation feature, which will bump up your contribution by a percentage point or two in the new year. More from Invest in You:

Some 401(k) mistakes could cost you thousands

This millennial turned a ghost town into a travel destination

How’s your financial health? Get your checkup now Even if your plan does this, take a minute to see if you can save a little more and get a sense of how it might affect your take-home pay. “What you’ll find is that if you increase your 401(k) contribution, it won’t impact your bottom line that much, but it will make a big difference in your financial future,” said Sun.

Revisit your beneficiaries

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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-05  Authors: darla mercado, patrick b healey, founder, president of caliber financial partners, joseph bartholomew
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, medical, health, family, financial, getty, deductibles, line, benefits, youre, tips, plan, 401k, employee, 2020


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Elizabeth Warren releases new plan for military service members and veterans, emphasizing education

Ahead of Veterans Day, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an over 7,500-word plan titled “Keeping our promises to our service members, veterans and military families.” Her proposal covers a broad range of issues that impact military members and families, from raising military pay to eliminating military sexual assault, as well as the policies that impact veterans after their service has ended, such as veteran homelessness. The plan also goes into depth on education


Ahead of Veterans Day, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an over 7,500-word plan titled “Keeping our promises to our service members, veterans and military families.”
Her proposal covers a broad range of issues that impact military members and families, from raising military pay to eliminating military sexual assault, as well as the policies that impact veterans after their service has ended, such as veteran homelessness.
The plan also goes into depth on education
Elizabeth Warren releases new plan for military service members and veterans, emphasizing education Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-05  Authors: abigail hess
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, military, members, releases, impact, work, bill, warren, elizabeth, plan, benefits, released, education, service, emphasizing, veterans


Elizabeth Warren releases new plan for military service members and veterans, emphasizing education

Ahead of Veterans Day, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an over 7,500-word plan titled “Keeping our promises to our service members, veterans and military families.”

The plan, released Tuesday, emphasizes her family’s history of military service (all three of her brothers served) and touches on her international policy philosophy, “A strong military should act as a deterrent so that most of the time, we won’t have to use it.”

Her proposal covers a broad range of issues that impact military members and families, from raising military pay to eliminating military sexual assault, as well as the policies that impact veterans after their service has ended, such as veteran homelessness.

The plan also goes into depth on education benefits for veterans.

“Over the past 70 years, the GI Bill has helped send millions of veterans to college, easing their transition to civilian life, and contributing to our economic growth,” reads the plan, noting the senator’s previous work to expand GI Bill benefits for Purple Heart recipients and Yellow Ribbon education benefits (which can be used for out-of-state, private or graduate school tuition that the GI Bill doesn’t cover) for families of fallen service members.

Historically, veterans were required to serve at least 36 months of active duty to receive full GI Bill benefits. Today, thanks to a 2017 update of the GI Bill which was originally signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Purple Heart recipients are automatically granted full GI benefits, regardless of the amount of time they served.

But the senator admits that this expansion of the GI Bill can cause headaches for administrators.

“As benefits have increased — and increased in complexity — as a result of GI Bill expansions, VA has scrambled at times to keep up, leaving military students in the lurch,” states the plan, citing Warren’s bipartisan work to minimize the impact of delayed GI Bill disbursements.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-05  Authors: abigail hess
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, military, members, releases, impact, work, bill, warren, elizabeth, plan, benefits, released, education, service, emphasizing, veterans


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Working past 65? Don’t overlook these 3 key facts about your employee benefits

Photo by Hero Images via Getty ImagesIf you’re planning on punching in at your job well into your 60s, pay close attention to your workplace benefits. Here are three common areas where older employees might make a mistake when selecting their workplace benefits. The catch is that they must coordinate their workplace coverage with their participation in the federal health-care program. Do a side-by-side comparison of your workplace benefits versus Medicare before you proceed. If you’re planning o


Photo by Hero Images via Getty ImagesIf you’re planning on punching in at your job well into your 60s, pay close attention to your workplace benefits.
Here are three common areas where older employees might make a mistake when selecting their workplace benefits.
The catch is that they must coordinate their workplace coverage with their participation in the federal health-care program.
Do a side-by-side comparison of your workplace benefits versus Medicare before you proceed.
If you’re planning o
Working past 65? Don’t overlook these 3 key facts about your employee benefits Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-05  Authors: darla mercado
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, older, planning, key, past, benefits, facts, workplace, insurance, sign, dont, youre, employee, overlook, working, medicare, coverage


Working past 65? Don't overlook these 3 key facts about your employee benefits

Photo by Hero Images via Getty Images

If you’re planning on punching in at your job well into your 60s, pay close attention to your workplace benefits. That’s because if you mismanage them, it could cost you. The over-65 crowd is expected to become a growing share of the workplace in the future. The labor force participation rate for workers ages 65 to 74 is expected to reach 30.2% in 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from 26.8% in 2016. There are numerous reasons why older people keep working, from squirreling away a few more dollars for their retirement accounts to maintaining their employer-subsidized health insurance. Often those workers find their labor to be fulfilling, so they stick around. “We have a client who didn’t quit working until 83,” said Carolyn McClanahan, a physician and director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida. “Another client who owned a construction firm worked until he was 94.” Regardless of why you choose to stick around, you’ll need to navigate your benefits enrollment very carefully. Here are three common areas where older employees might make a mistake when selecting their workplace benefits.

Health insurance and Medicare eligibility

Workers celebrating their 65th birthday in 2020 are also becoming eligible for Medicare. The catch is that they must coordinate their workplace coverage with their participation in the federal health-care program. Whether you’re required to enroll in Medicare depends on the size of your company. People who work at employers with fewer than 20 employees will generally need to sign up for Medicare, as it becomes their primary coverage. Companies with workers over that number must continue to provide insurance to their employees, regardless of their age.

Opting to continue working will also affect the enrollment process once you sign up for Medicare later. For instance, people who are newly eligible to enroll and are no longer working have a seven-month initial enrollment period to sign up for Medicare. Those who miss that window may be subject to a 10% late-enrollment penalty on their Medicare Part B premiums, applicable for each 12-month period for which they were eligible but didn’t sign up. People who are older and still employed are eligible for a penalty-free eight-month special enrollment period once they or their spouse lose workplace coverage. Do a side-by-side comparison of your workplace benefits versus Medicare before you proceed. If your workplace plan is affordable and includes dental and vision coverage, it might make sense to stick with it. Retiree health benefits and coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, or COBRA — the extension of employee benefits to people who would have otherwise lost them due to job termination — don’t count as qualified employer coverage. That means you may still face Medicare penalties if you fail to enroll in a timely fashion.

HSA contributions

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Be aware that if you have a high-deductible plan with a health savings account at work, you cannot contribute to it once you’ve signed up for Medicare. You can save money on a pretax or tax-deductible basis in a so-called HSA and have it grow free of taxes. When you make withdrawals for qualified medical expenses, those distributions also are tax-free. Next year, account holders with self-only coverage can put away up to $3,550 or $7,100 for family plans. If you’re 55 and older, you can save an additional $1,000. “If you don’t sign up for Medicare and you don’t have to because you have health insurance through a large employer, you can continue to contribute to the HSA,” said McClanahan. If you’re planning on enrolling in Medicare in 2020, and you’re turning 65, you’ll need to prorate your contributions to this account. That means if you turn 65 next July, you can only make six months’ worth of contributions that year.

Required Minimum Distributions


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-05  Authors: darla mercado
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What to watch out for during health-care open enrollment this year

For many Americans, the open enrollment season, which covers both employer-based and federal health insurance, is underway. The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are. Health Savings AccountsOne way to help with health-care costs is by looking for ways to use tax-advantaged accounts for medical expenses. These plans tend to be better suited for people who do not use a lot of preventative health care. Try to f


For many Americans, the open enrollment season, which covers both employer-based and federal health insurance, is underway.
The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are.
Health Savings AccountsOne way to help with health-care costs is by looking for ways to use tax-advantaged accounts for medical expenses.
These plans tend to be better suited for people who do not use a lot of preventative health care.
Try to f
What to watch out for during health-care open enrollment this year Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-03  Authors: sharon epperson jessica dickler, sharon epperson, jessica dickler
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, whats, insurance, costs, watch, plan, enrollment, open, care, workers, coverage, benefits, health, healthcare


What to watch out for during health-care open enrollment this year

For many Americans, the open enrollment season, which covers both employer-based and federal health insurance, is underway. Rising health-care costs are a significant cause of stress, and yet, nearly three-quarters of working adults spend 45 minutes or less reviewing their benefits before enrolling, according to recent research by employee benefits provider Unum. At the very least, workers should evaluate their existing coverage to make sure it is still their best option. “Look for what’s changed, what’s new and then what’s new with you,” said Ashley Shope, the assistant vice president of product development at Unum. “There are many factors, both in a benefits plan and in one’s personal life, that can change every year,” Kelley Long, a CPA and member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates, said in a statement. “By ‘setting and forgetting’ a benefit plan, you not only run the risk of getting stuck in one that isn’t right for you but also one that costs you extra.” More from Invest in You:

Here’s why you should buy life insurance in your 20s

Here’s how to keep health-care costs down in retirement

Don’t make this $42,000 mistake This year, in particular, there could be some changes to the plans that are offered and the details of those offerings, making it even more important to pay attention. “In general, everybody should go actively through the enrollment process — today more than ever — because the cost and options are radically different than they have been in the past,” said David Reid, the CEO of Ease, a benefits administration company. Here are a few of the things to watch out for:

1. Health insurance

For starters, health insurance is the most significant component of your benefits. Be aware that premiums — and deductibles — are going up. Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance — the amount you pay each year for insurance, often divided into 12 monthly payments — rose 5% to over $20,500 this year, according to the 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits survey, while wages rose just over 3% during the same time period. On average, workers are now paying $6,015 toward the cost of their coverage, while employers pay the rest. In addition, more workers have a deductible — the amount you pay before coverage kicks in — and that deductible is also rising. The average single deductible is now $1,655 for workers who have one, double what it was a decade ago.

The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are. Drew Altman president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation

“The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are,” Kaiser president and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement.

2. Health Savings Accounts

One way to help with health-care costs is by looking for ways to use tax-advantaged accounts for medical expenses. Specifically, health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs). In both cases, you use pretax money to cover out-of-pocket expenses, including doctor visits and prescription drugs. To be able to use an HSA, you need to be enrolled in what’s called high-deductible health plan, or HDHP. These plans tend to be better suited for people who do not use a lot of preventative health care. The premiums tend to be lower, but the deductibles and the limit on annual out-of-pocket costs are very high. Because of those high costs, the limit on how much you can save in an HSA is higher, as well. For 2020, employees and employers can contribute a total of up to $3,550 for individual coverage and up to $7,100 for family coverage. (Check to see if your employer offers a flat contribution or matching funds and aim to max out those contributions for the year.) Contributions then grow on a tax-free basis, and any money you don’t use can be rolled over year to year. FSAs have lower contribution limits — $2,700 for 2019, with limits expected to increase to $2,750 in 2020. The upside is that you don’t need to have a high-deductible plan in order to be eligible for an FSA — in fact, you don’t need health coverage at all to sign up for one. However, you must use the money by year-end or you lose it.

3. Future health-care costs

While you are anticipating your upcoming expenses, it’s a good time to think about how your health needs are changing and if you have any big-ticket items on the horizon, such as a planned surgery or braces. If have a child trying a new sport and you are concerned about possible emergency room visits in the months ahead, then you may also want to consider accident insurance, Reid advised. There may even be additional options that haven’t been available before, according to Reid, such as elder care, which helps cover the cost of care for a qualified adult dependent, or pet insurance. As it stands, about a third of adults have taken on the role of caregiver, while 22% expect to in the future, one Northwestern Mutual study found. Of the respondents who already have stepped into that position, nearly half said their new role was unexpected, and often a financial shock. Try to figure out your future health-care needs, said Myles Ma, a health-care expert at online insurance marketplace Policygenius. “If you don’t it could potentially be a costly financial mistake,” he said.

4. Changes in your current plan


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-03  Authors: sharon epperson jessica dickler, sharon epperson, jessica dickler
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, whats, insurance, costs, watch, plan, enrollment, open, care, workers, coverage, benefits, health, healthcare


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This is one of the biggest—and costliest—mistakes employees make during open enrollment

Open enrollment offers employees the opportunity to do some research about their benefit plans, make smart choices, and then save hundreds of dollars — or more — in 2020. Unfortunately, the vast majority of employees fail to review their insurance benefits at the end of the year. This is easily one of the biggest — and costliest — mistakes people make during open enrollment. According to a 2018 report from Aflac, 93% of employees simply stick with the same benefits year after year. While you can


Open enrollment offers employees the opportunity to do some research about their benefit plans, make smart choices, and then save hundreds of dollars — or more — in 2020.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of employees fail to review their insurance benefits at the end of the year.
This is easily one of the biggest — and costliest — mistakes people make during open enrollment.
According to a 2018 report from Aflac, 93% of employees simply stick with the same benefits year after year.
While you can
This is one of the biggest—and costliest—mistakes employees make during open enrollment Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-01  Authors: amanda lannert
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, research, plan, employees, enrollment, match, employer, open, youre, costliestmistakes, insurance, benefits, pay, biggestand


This is one of the biggest—and costliest—mistakes employees make during open enrollment

It’s that time of year again. Open enrollment offers employees the opportunity to do some research about their benefit plans, make smart choices, and then save hundreds of dollars — or more — in 2020.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of employees fail to review their insurance benefits at the end of the year. As a result, they choose the same benefits instead of taking time to consider making any changes. This is easily one of the biggest — and costliest — mistakes people make during open enrollment.

According to a 2018 report from Aflac, 93% of employees simply stick with the same benefits year after year. In fact, 40% of the 2,000 survey respondents said they would rather do “three hours of hot yoga” or “clean up dog poop” than research their insurance benefits.

If you aren’t setting aside time to review your plans, you risk facing serious consequences later on. Going on autopilot comes with a hefty price tag, and here’s why:

1. You might be paying too much for health care.

The right health plan is the one that gives you the best care for the least amount of money — and it may change often depending on your personal situation (e.g., if you plan to have a baby next year or only went to the doctor once this year, but have medical procedures scheduled throughout the next few months).

Doing your research and making the smartest choices can save you hundreds — possibly thousands — every year. According to recent data from Jellyvision, a service that helps employees make smart decisions about their benefits and finances, the average cost difference between an employee’s most cost-effective plan and second most-cost-effective plan last year was $642.

2. You might be leaving “free money” on the table.

Many companies will match whatever an employees contributes to their retirement account, up to a certain percentage. (The average employer 401(k) match reached a record high of 4.7% this year, according to Fidelity.) If your employer offers a 401(k) match, and you’re not saving enough to get all those matching dollars, you’re basically turning down free money.

While you can adjust your contribution amount any day of the year, open enrollment is the perfect time to do so. Remember, every dollar you put toward the match is earning you an immediate 100% return on your investment — and a 401(k) is a pre-tax account, so you’ll pay less in taxes, too.

3. You might be overlooking other important benefits.

We tend to think of benefits in narrow terms: Medical, dental, vision, retirement — and not much else.

But your employer may offer other benefits that you never even knew existed, like insurance for your pet’s vet bills, life insurance or a “hospital indemnity” plan that provides a cash payout when you’re hospitalized (you can even use this money to cover medical bills or pay your rent.

You can buy most of this stuff on your own, and many people do, but if you buy it through your employer, you’ll usually pay a lot less.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-01  Authors: amanda lannert
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, research, plan, employees, enrollment, match, employer, open, youre, costliestmistakes, insurance, benefits, pay, biggestand


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Elizabeth Warren says ‘Medicare for All’ will save employers $200 billion over decade

Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren says employers who provide health coverage to workers would collectively save $200 billion over a decade under her “Medicare for All” proposal. Employers currently offering health benefits under a collective bargaining agreement will be able to reduce their contribution if they pass along those savings to workers. Small businesses — employers with fewer than 50 employees — would also be exempt if they aren’t already paying for their workers’ health care, a


Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren says employers who provide health coverage to workers would collectively save $200 billion over a decade under her “Medicare for All” proposal.
Employers currently offering health benefits under a collective bargaining agreement will be able to reduce their contribution if they pass along those savings to workers.
Small businesses — employers with fewer than 50 employees — would also be exempt if they aren’t already paying for their workers’ health care, a
Elizabeth Warren says ‘Medicare for All’ will save employers $200 billion over decade Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-01  Authors: berkeley lovelace jr, in berkeleylovelace
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, elizabeth, 200, according, save, medicare, plan, pay, insurance, workers, employers, billion, benefits, health, decade, warren


Elizabeth Warren says 'Medicare for All' will save employers $200 billion over decade

Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren says employers who provide health coverage to workers would collectively save $200 billion over a decade under her “Medicare for All” proposal.

The nation’s largest employers project that the total cost of providing medical and pharmacy benefits will rise by 5% in 2020, topping $15,000 per employee, according to a recent survey from the National Business Group on Health.

Warren’s plan, which would eliminate employer-sponsored health insurance and replace it with a universal Medicare plan for all Americans, would redirect what employers are already paying private insurers to the U.S. government, according to a new outline released Friday.

To ensure employers will pay less in the new system, Warren said she would reduce their contributions by 2% of what they are currently giving private insurers. Employers currently offering health benefits under a collective bargaining agreement will be able to reduce their contribution if they pass along those savings to workers.

People who are self-employed would be exempt from making contributions. Small businesses — employers with fewer than 50 employees — would also be exempt if they aren’t already paying for their workers’ health care, according to the outline.

“By asking employers to pay a little less than what they are already projected to pay for health care, we can get almost halfway to where we need to go to cover the cost of my Medicare for All plan,” Warren said in her post.

The plan from Warren, a front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, may startle some workers with employer-based health insurance, some of whom have selected more pricey insurance plans with lavish health benefits. Under Medicare for All, Warren says Americans can select the health-care provider of their choice. Employers who offer generous health benefits to attract talent may lose that competitive edge.

Still, it could ease the strain of constantly rising health-care costs for employers.

About 153 million Americans receive employer-sponsored health insurance, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Under the current U.S. health system, all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer health-care coverage or pay a fine.

To help curb costs, large employers in recent years have embraced some of the ideas being debated in Washington, such as passing drug price discounts directly on to workers.

They’re also increasingly open to the government playing a bigger role in controlling health costs — even expanding Medicare access under some circumstances, according to the National Business Group on Health annual survey of nearly 150 of the nation’s largest employers.

— CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this report.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-11-01  Authors: berkeley lovelace jr, in berkeleylovelace
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Mitt Romney pushes new plan to fix Social Security. Critics say it isn’t a solution

What the plan may mean for the future of Social Security has some advocacy groups concerned. The affected trusts are the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare Hospital Insurance and Highway funds. However, Social Security advocacy groups who want to see benefits increased say they are skeptical. “We agree that it’s important to address solvency,” said Dan Adcock, director of government relations and policy at the National Committee to Pre


What the plan may mean for the future of Social Security has some advocacy groups concerned.
The affected trusts are the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare Hospital Insurance and Highway funds.
However, Social Security advocacy groups who want to see benefits increased say they are skeptical.
“We agree that it’s important to address solvency,” said Dan Adcock, director of government relations and policy at the National Committee to Pre
Mitt Romney pushes new plan to fix Social Security. Critics say it isn’t a solution Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-31  Authors: lorie konish
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, say, social, isnt, pushes, house, security, trust, romney, bill, benefits, mitt, legislation, funds, fix, proposal, solution, plan


Mitt Romney pushes new plan to fix Social Security. Critics say it isn't a solution

Mitt Romney is interviewed at the Silicon Slopes Tech Conference on January 19, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. George Frey | Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is taking the lead on a new proposal aimed at fixing funding shortfalls for Social Security, Medicare and the nation’s crumbling highways. What the plan may mean for the future of Social Security has some advocacy groups concerned. Romney, together with a group of senators from both sides of the aisle, introduced a bill this week to look at government trust funds that are expected to be depleted in the next 13 years. The affected trusts are the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare Hospital Insurance and Highway funds. The proposal comes at a time when House Democrats are pushing their own legislation to extend the solvency of Social Security. If nothing changes, the program’s trust funds are projected to run out in 2035. At that point, just 80% of promised benefits would be payable. “We must put in place a responsible process now to prevent dramatic cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare or be forced to enact massive tax hikes down the road, both of which would be devastating to middle-class Americans,” Romney said in a statement announcing the proposal. A call to Romney’s office was not immediately returned.

However, Social Security advocacy groups who want to see benefits increased say they are skeptical. That stems in part because Romney called for raising the retirement age, a move that would cut benefits, in his 2012 presidential campaign. “We agree that it’s important to address solvency,” said Dan Adcock, director of government relations and policy at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare. “We also think it’s equally important to address benefit adequacy, because of the struggle that the middle class and working class have these days in saving for retirement.”

How Romney’s bill would work

The Romney-led proposal, called the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts, or TRUST, Act, would create congressional committees to evaluate how to bolster solvency or make other changes to improve the programs. It is supported by Sens. Doug Jones, D-Ala.; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; and Todd Young, R-Ind. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House by Reps. Ed Case, D-Hawaii; Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc.; Ben McAdams, D-Utah; and William Timmons, R-S.C. More from Personal Finance:

Medicare would cover dental and vision if these bills pass Congress

Social Security benefits to get a 1.6% boost in 2020

Here’s what Congress may do to fix Social Security this fall Once the TRUST Act is passed, Treasury would have 30 days to deliver a report to Congress on the status of the funds. Congressional leaders would form a rescue committee for each trust fund. Those committees would be tasked with coming up with legislation to repair those funds’ solvency and identify other improvements the programs may need. At least two members of each party would be required to work on the legislation. The proposal also calls for any qualifying bills that emerge from the process would get expedited consideration in both the House and Senate.

Why some advocates are concerned

The proposal comes at a time when another legislative initiative, the Social Security 2100 Act, could potentially move to a mark-up by the House Ways and Means Committee and then to the House floor. That bill, which was proposed by Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., currently has 208 co-sponsors. All of those supporters are Democrats. The Social Security 2100 Act calls for increasing benefits, including a broad boost equal to 2% of the average benefit and a new minimum benefit that would be 25% above the poverty line. It would also raise the income thresholds before benefits are taxed to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for couples, up from $25,000 and $32,000, respectively. To pay for those changes, the bill also calls for applying payroll taxes to wages above $400,000. Only wages up to $132,900 are currently taxed. The bill would also gradually increase payroll taxes for all workers to 7.4% from 6.2% between 2020 and 2043.

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) speaks during an event to introduce legislation called the Social Security 2100 Act. which would increase increase benefits and strengthen the fund, during a news conference on Capitol Hill January 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Mark Wilson | Getty Images News | Getty Images


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-31  Authors: lorie konish
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, say, social, isnt, pushes, house, security, trust, romney, bill, benefits, mitt, legislation, funds, fix, proposal, solution, plan


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