Wellness Programs

HDHPs and Wellness Programs

According to Kaiser Family Foundation, the average premium for family health plan coverage increased by 47% between 2011 and 2021. In response, employers have increasingly turned to High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) to lower premiums and shift more financial responsibility to covered employees. While employees appreciate lower premium costs, the higher deductibles can lead to higher out-of-pocket costs in the long run. The higher financial responsibility may increase employee utilization of cost-saving measures like wellness programs.

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Status Change

FSAs, Status Changes, and Contributions

Changes in family status can change health insurance eligibility. But they can also affect consumer-directed healthcare accounts, prompting questions about mid-year status changes. Here’s how family status changes can affect FSA and Dependent Care account elections. Can I change my health FSA contributions? Employees enroll in FSA accounts during open enrollment each year. At that time, they must decide on a contribution amount up to the IRS-mandated maximum ($3,050 for 2023). FSA accounts can be used

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online shopping

Shopping for FSA Products Online

Consumers have been shopping for everything from clothing to groceries to furniture through online retailers for years. It’s convenient, and prices may be lower than those at brick-and-mortar retail stores. More and more, people are turning to the web to buy healthcare products. Many retailers sell FSA-eligible products online, and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) participants can use their account-linked debit cards as payment. What to Know When FSA Shopping Online Before shopping online with your

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Need-to-Knows About IRA-to-HSA Balance Transfers

Health Savings Accounts are popular tools for managing healthcare costs and retirement planning. HSA account owners can access their HSA balances tax-free to pay eligible healthcare expenses and invest for growth over time. Did you know that if you have an IRA, you can make a one-time funds transfer into your HSA account? Doing so gives you the “triple-tax advantage” on the transferred funds, but there are a few things to consider. What is an

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HSAs and COBRA Enrollment

If you manage clients on COBRA software, chances are you may manage HSAs as well. This blog addresses concerns about HSAs and COBRA and how these two work together. A great resource to help participants learn if they can pay for COBRA premiums with an HSA, if you can contribute to your HSA while on COBRA and more.

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Employee Burnout and Employer Benefits

Mental health issues skyrocketed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, about 10% of the American workforce, or 16 million people, have more than one job. With those facts in mind, it’s unsurprising that employee burnout is a continuing problem. The good news is that employer-sponsored benefits can help mitigate burnout. What is burnout? As defined by the World Health Organization, “Burnout is a syndrome … resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Sufferers of burnout

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healthcare consumerism

Healthcare Consumerism Continues to Rise

Healthcare consumerism is a movement to make healthcare services more efficient and cost-effective. It transforms an employer’s health benefit plan, putting the economic purchasing power and decision-making in participants’ hands. Consumerism aims to enable patients to become wholly involved in their healthcare decisions. What drives healthcare consumerism? Customers can access features, benefits, and cost comparisons in most industries to guide their purchasing decisions. In contrast, the healthcare industry presents many choices, contact points, and service

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Five Keys to a Successful 2023

The last few years have been challenging, full of lessons to learn and new perspectives to gain. As third-party administrators (TPAs) and brokers use these to meet this year’s goals, what are the five keys to a successful 2023? Provide Year-Round Communication Although a benefits program may be in good shape when open enrollment concludes, what about a month or quarter later? Have any participants had a mid-year status change necessitating an adjustment to their consumer-directed healthcare accounts?

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COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Extended Again

On January 11, 2023, the COVID-19 National Public Health Emergency (PHE) was extended for 90 days. The PHE was scheduled to expire on April 11, 2023. Update: On January 31, 2023, the Biden Administration announced their intent to end the Public Health Emergency on May 11. Effects of the PHE Extension With the extension, the temporary rule changes regarding COBRA, HIPAA, and group health plans (including FSAs and HSAs) continue. (Click here for more detailed

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Millennials, HDHPs and HSAs

Popular with Millennials, HDHPs paired with HSAs can help employers improve employee satisfaction with healthcare benefits. Millennials are Embracing HDHPs Millennials are active supporters of consumer-directed healthcare. Now in their late 20s through early 40s, they tend to be healthier than their older workforce peers (Gen X and Baby Boomer generations) and, on average, spend less on healthcare costs. Nearly half of Millennials who are eligible for an HSA through their employer are adopting one.

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Findings from the PSCA 2022 HSA Survey

HSA availability and usage continue to grow, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA). For their 2022 HSA Survey, the PSCA surveyed nearly 500 employers who offered HSA-qualifying health plans in 2021. Their findings are summarized and highlighted below. Data Highlights from the PSCA 2022 HSA Survey HSA Contributions and Balances Average participant contributions and balances have declined. PSCA found that of the 75% of employers who contribute, 60.2% set different amounts based

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Regular Education Can Increase FSA-LPFSA Utilization

Rising healthcare costs have people more actively managing their healthcare expenses. Many are doing so with the help of consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) resources like Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Accounts (LPFSA). To increase employee utilization of these accounts, it’s important to provide education on FSA and LPFSA basics regularly throughout the year. Flexible Spending Account Basics A standard FSA is a health benefits account to which participants contribute money deducted from

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Omnibus Legislation includes CAA 2023 and SECURE 2.0

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill into law. The legislation, which included the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (CAA 2023) and the SECURE Act 2.0, features several provisions affecting employee benefits. A summary of some highlights follow. HSAs and Telehealth Telehealth use soared during the pandemic. SHRM reports that 43 percent of organizations expanded telehealth services during the period. The 2020 CARES Act allowed HSA-qualified high-deductible health plans

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New Year, New Benefits

Welcome to 2023! The new year brings a renewed focus on losing weight, staying healthy, and becoming financially healthier. Across the country, millions of us have set goals of increasing our health and wealth. However, inflation, supply chain issues, continued mental health challenges, and more can make tackling these goals even harder than usual. Financial Health Resolutions Many Americans are examining their spending and saving habits. Fidelity Investment found that when asked about financial concerns,

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Compliance Priorities for 2023

A new year is upon us, and with it, the end of many temporary, COVID-related regulatory and legislative provisions. Mercer’s U.S. Health Law and Policy team has selected the top healthcare compliance priorities for 2023. Below are highlights of 10 areas considered most likely to impact employee benefits plans. For more context and discussion, see the Mercer site and consult your qualified benefits counsel. Prescription Drugs In light of recent presidential directives, Congress and federal

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