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3 Ways to Help Your Employees Manage Their Healthcare Expenses

The United States now spends almost twice as much on healthcare as other advanced industrialized countries, even though just a few decades ago our healthcare spend was closely aligned to that of other countries. As a result of the rising cost of healthcare, changes to employment and benefits laws and the availability of new benefits options the employee benefits landscape in the U.S. has also been dramatically altered. One in four Americans now report that the cost of healthcare is the biggest concern facing their family, according to a Monmouth University poll. This makes it more important than ever for employers to offer their employees the guidance and tools they need to manage their healthcare plans and costs. Here are three approaches that can be used alone or in combination:

  • Educate your employees about the financial benefits of HSAs, HRAs and FSAs.

Consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) are the lowest overall cost option for employees in 65 percent of companies that offer them. They are typically paired with a triple-tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA), a health reimbursement account or a flexible spending account that allows employees to save for out-of-pocket expenses. The National Bureau of Economic Research reports that employees save an average of more than $500 per year by selecting a high-deductible health plan.

The HSA contribution limit for 2018 is $3,450 for singles and $6,850 for families, but employees just getting started with an HSA can be encouraged to save as little as one to three percent of their salaries into their HSA. By building a small amount of health savings, they won’t “feel” incremental healthcare costs as sharply and will be better prepared to handle both expected and unexpected medical expenses in the future. Want more information about HSAs and how to communicate their value to your employees? Read our blog post.

  • Provide your employees with benefits-based incentives related to their health and wellness.

Incentivizing employees to take an active role in improving their poor health behaviors can reduce their health risks and subsequently their healthcare costs. One WellSteps study, for example, found that post-implementation of a corporate employee wellness program there was a dramatic difference in the cost of medical care between program participants and non-participants ($3,280 versus $6,177).

Employers can also help their employees save money by offering them benefits-based incentives for participating in a workplace wellness program. Such incentives may include lower office copays, reduced deductibles or monthly premium discounts in exchange for health risk assessment completion, participation in weight-loss or smoking cessation programs or other workplace wellness activities.

  • Give your employees tools to manage and plan for their healthcare expenses.

Analytics programs such as the WEX Health Cloud Consumer Dashboard make it easy for employees to get an aggregate view of all their healthcare claims, debit card transactions, distributions and expenses. Expenses can be viewed by category, individual or provider, and employees can initiate payments for expenses including reimbursements, pay the provider and bill pay.

A corresponding mobile app also lets employees view, budget, plan, analyze and manage their healthcare-related accounts and expenses, helping them more wisely manage their healthcare spending.

Employers and HR managers who facilitate healthcare consumerism among their employees will help them save money on healthcare costs. As a result, employers stand to gain a real competitive advantage over others in their industry—a workforce that is not only easier to hire and retain but also perhaps better informed and even healthier because of the tools you’ve provided.

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IRS announces family contribution changes for HSAs

 

Today, the IRS published Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) 2018-10 that contains Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2018-19.

Effective for calendar year 2018, the family contribution limit for HSAs has been lowered to $6,850 from the previously set amount of $6,900. We are in the process of updating Wex Health Administration, Portal and Mobile with the new limits.

This change came as a result of the tax reform law (P.L. 115-97) that changed the annual inflation adjustment factor from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to a new factor known as ‘chained CPI’. This change was anticipated to slow the rate of changes in all programs under the tax code, including HSAs.

 

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How to check your Flex debit card balance

There are three ways for an employee to check their Flex Visa Card balance:
1. Call our office (1-800-383-1623)
2. Access your online account
3. Use the app, Advanatage Administrators, on your smart phone
Here is some information on how to log onto your Online Portal and what to do if you are locked out.
For ADG –
  • You’ll start from our website, www.AdvantageAdmin.com, and click on “Employee Login” then “MyFlex”

 

  • By entering your username and password, you’ll access your online account. If you haven’t established a MyFlex account, your pre-assigned username is the first initial of your first name followed by your last name followed by your company code, followed by the last four digits of your social security number. Your temporary password is Flexplan*1. Please note that while your username is not case sensitive, the password is.  Once you click on “Log-In” you’ll be asked to set up a set of security questions/answers, change the password, and have the option to change the username, as well. If you have accessed your MyFlex account, but have forgotten your username or password, please feel free to call our office for assistance at 800-383-1623.
For AD2 –
  • You’ll start from our website, www.AdvantageAdmin.com, and click on “Employee Login” then “My1Plan”.

 

  • By entering your username and password, you’ll access your online account. If you haven’t established an online account, your pre-assigned username is the first initial of your first name followed by your last name followed by your company code, followed by the last four digits of your social security number. Your temporary password is Flexplan*1. Please note that while your username is not case sensitive, the password is.  Once you click on “Log-In” you’ll be asked to set up a set of security questions/answers, change the password, and have the option to change the username, as well. If you have accessed your online account, but have forgotten your username or password, please feel free to call our office for assistance at 800-383-1623.
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Legislation Delays Cadillac Tax and Suspends Health Insurer Fee Again

Legislation has once again delayed Cadillac tax and has suspended health insurer fee. The high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage (Cadillac tax) has been delayed until 2022 (tax years beginning after December 31, 2021).

The annual fee on health insurance providers that took effect in 2014 will not apply in calendar year 2019. The fee had previously been suspended for year 2017, but it will apply for year 2018. After the 2019 suspension, the fee should apply again in 2020 as long as there is no further legislation action.

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Closed for Training

Advantage Administrator employees are completing their annual HIPAA compliance training and will be closed on Wed, Jan 17 from 11:45am – 2:15pm.

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New Years

Advantage Administrators will be closed Monday, January 1, 2018 for New Years. Hope everyone has a blessed and happy holiday!