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R&R Insurance Blog

the knowledge brokers

Recent Posts

Final Rule on Hospital Price Transparency Released

Posted by the knowledge brokers

hospitalOn Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, the Trump administration released its final rule regarding hospital price transparency. This final rule will take effect January 1, 2021, a year later than originally proposed.

Hospitals will now be required to provide easily accessible billing information to patients. This means having all standard charges available online and in one single data file that can be “read by other computer systems,” according to a CMS press release.

Learn more here about the final rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding hospital price transparency.

Topics: Employee Benefits

Health Care Flexible Spending Account Limits for 2020

Posted by the knowledge brokers

fsaMany employee benefits are subject to annual dollar limits that are periodically updated for inflation, such as HSAs, health FSAs, and transportation fringe benefit plans. The IRS recently released Revenue Procedure 2019-44 revising the Health Care FSA and Limited Purpose FSA maximum for 2020. For tax year 2020:

  • The dollar limitation for employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements is $2,750, up $50 from the limit for 2019.
  • The monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit is $270, as is the monthly limitation for qualified parking, up from $265 for tax year 2019.

The IRS typically announces the dollar limits that will apply for the next calendar year well in advance of the beginning of that year to give employers time to update their plan designs and make sure their plan administration will be consistent with the new limits. Check out our convenient chart with all of the major IRS benefits limits for 2020!

Contact a Knowledge Broker for more information.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance

IRS Releases New Limits for Retirement Plans

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Retirement-Savings

Think of this as a friendly alert to double check your personal retirement contribution amounts with your HR or payroll department to ensure you continue contributing at the maximum amount as that limit has increased for 2020.

For business owners, this is great information to share with employees who are maxing out so they can continue fully maximizing their retirement savings potential.

Looking for additional guidance personally or for your employees?  Reach out to R&R Wealth Management with questions: MyKnowledgeAdvisor.com / 262.696.5167.

 

2020 Contribution and Benefit Limits

For 401(k) and other Qualified Plans

Type of Limitation

2020

2019

401(k), 457 and 403(b) maximum annual elective deferral limit

$19,500

$19,000

401(k), 403(b), or 457 plans catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 or over

$6,500

$6,000

Defined contribution plan annual limit

Lesser of:

$57,000, or

100% of compensation

Lesser of:

$56,000, or

100% of compensation

SIMPLE maximum annual elective deferral limit

$13,500

$13,000

SIMPLE 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 or over

$3,000

$3,000

Traditional IRA contribution limit

Lesser of:

$6,000, or

100% of compensation

Lesser of:

$6,000, or

100% of compensation

Traditional IRA catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 or over

$1,000

$1,000

Defined Benefit plan annual limit under section 415

$230,000

$225,000

Annual allowable compensation limit for deduction, benefit and contribution purposes

$285,000

$280,000

Highly Compensated Employee

$130,000*

$125,000*

Key Employee/officer in a top heavy plan

$185,000

$180,000

Income subject to Social Security tax

$137,700

$132,900

 

*Applies for determining Highly Compensated Employees for the 2020 plan year.

Limits stated above are subject to the provisions of the plan. Refer to your plan document or contact your plan consultant (TPA) for more information.

The content of this document is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of posting date but may be subject to change.

Amazon Entering the World of Health Care

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Amazon LogoOnline retailer Amazon recently announced that you can now use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings accounts (HSA) to purchase eligible medical products on its site. Amazon’s FSA and HSA stores enable you to add your respective health payment card to the site and shop for your eligible products as you would shop for any other item.

Some examples of eligible medical expenses include the following:

  • Bandages
  • Eyeglasses
  • Blood glucose monitors

For more information about using your respective health payment card through Amazon, read more here.

Mental Health Awareness | End the Stigma

Posted by the knowledge brokers

mental health awarenessAn employee’s mental health encompasses how they think, feel and act. It also includes their emotions and social well-being. While mental health does include mental illness, these two are not interchangeable.

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness annually;

a recent study by Deloitte revealed that less than half receive treatment.


It has also been found that mental illness is the leading cause of disability for adults in the U.S. between the ages of 15 to 44—making more work days lost to mental health-related absenteeism than any other injury or illness.

The discussion of mental health has been more popular in recent years with the tagline of “end the stigma,” this discussion will only keep growing as society realizes that not all illness are visible ones.

So what does this mean for employers?

It is important that organizations create a culture that supports its employees and their mental health. This process is easier than one might think. Below are five easy ways to implement support at your organization:

  1. Promote Mental Health Awareness in the Office
    • This is the first step in supporting employees and their mental health. There must be awareness and de-stigmatizing of mental health or illness. Provide resources / information to employees and those seeking support.
  2. Offer Flexible Scheduling
    • Help employees better balance their work and personal lives by embracing workplace flexibility. This will look different at every company but provide employees with job satisfaction, better health, increased work-life balance and less stress.
  3. Address Workplace Stress
    • Chronic workplace stress can cause fatigue, irritability and health problems. While it’s probably not possible to eliminate job stress in its entirety for employees, you can help them manage it more effectively.
  4. Evaluate Your Benefit Offerings
    • Review the benefits you offer and make sure they support mental well-being. Also evaluate your current health plan to see if it covers mental health services.
  5. Provide Mental Health Training for Managers
    • It’s important to properly train management in recognizing the signs of mental illness, excessive workplace stress, workplace bullying and fatigue. Furthermore, managers should be trained to handle potentially difficult conversations with employees surrounding mental health.
podcastFor more information, you can listen to this short podcast: Mental Health Awareness and Employer Strategies or read 5 Ways HR Can Support Employees’ Mental Health.

Topics: Employee Benefits

5 Benefits of a Home Security System

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Home Security System

Many homeowners avoid installing home security systems because of the cost associated with the installation, monitoring and servicing. The security company charges a monthly fee for monitoring, and false alarms will also incur charges. Is the cost worth it?

Aside from the primary reason (keeping your family safe), you must consider other benefits of a security system, such as the cost of replacing stolen items and broken doors and windows. The peace of mind you have when your family is safe is invaluable.

Together with our from our friends at PropertyCasualty360.com, there are five reasons why a home security system worth the investment.

  1. Fire detection
    • Features such as smoke detection provide a timely warning for smoke in the house. Heat detectors can alert you if they sense a source of heat. Heat detectors can establish the presence of a growing fire in your home and provide a timely alert when they detect a small change in temperature. Early detection can help prevent further damage from the fire. Some heat detector will signal the authorities to respond to a fire crisis in your home.
  2. Detraction from possible intruders
    • Protecting valuables is the immediate benefit that people enjoy when they install a home security system. You continuously buy, inherit, and collect items that mean a lot to you or cost you a lot of money. The items reflect your values and accomplishment in life, but they are also the target for burglars.  The system alerts authorities of burglary, which increases the chances of catching the criminal. The cameras not only monitor your home but help identify the criminal for the committed crime. The video footage will also help you create a list of items lost during the burglary.
  3. Potentially lower home insurance premium
    • While there are many factors that make up the cost of home insurance, many insurance companies provide discounts to property owners who have a home security installed on their premise.  A home security system will also help protect your identity. Some invaders target your identity. Identity theft can occur if an invader if you keep crucial documents at home or forget them in the car. An invader can use the information on these documents and cause you significant financial losses.
  4. Protect against carbon monoxide gas
    • Carbon monoxide gas is part of combustion fumes. Burning wood, stoves and other heating systems produce carbon monoxide gas. The gas is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Thus, the human senses cannot detect the presence of the gas in the air. Prolonged exposure causes the gas to build up in the bloodstream. Large amounts of the gas in the air will cause your body to replace the oxygen in the red blood cells with the gas. The side effects include serious tissue damage, and in severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning culminates in death. A home security system can incorporate a carbon detector. The detectors will sense high amounts of the poisonous gas in your home and alert you so you can take the right measure.
  5. Peace of mind
    • Various security breach situations can disturb your peace of mind. For instance, if you live in an insecure area where burglary can occur at any time, having a home security system is crucial. Peace of mind is essential for the seniors or another person with a disability who frequently remain at home. Such people cannot respond with the necessary speed to a dangerous situation. The security system will monitor your home and dispatch security personnel whenever the need arises. Some security systems also feature a wearable medical alert device for those with specific medical conditions to call for help when a medical situation arises. You can go on a vacation or attend to your job feeling confident and safe.

 

Topics: home insurance

ACA Affordability Percentages Will Decrease For 2020

Posted by the knowledge brokers

affordability percentages decreaseOn July 23, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2019-29 to index the contribution percentages in 2020 for purposes of determining affordability of an employer’s plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA’s employer shared responsibility or play or pay rules require ALEs (Applicable Large Employers) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees (and dependents) or pay a penalty. ALEs are those employers with an average of 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees during the preceding calendar year.

For plan years beginning in 2020, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable if the employee’s required contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed 9.78% of the employee’s household income for the year, for purposes of both the pay or play rules and premium tax credit eligibility.

For more details, read more here. If you have any questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits

Most Common, and Preventable, Home Claim | Tree Damage

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Tree damage claim

 

One of the most common, and usually preventable claims, we see year round is tree damage to homes and cars.  Occasionally, poorly maintained trees can cause injury to people or pets. And lets not forget when a poorly maintained tree on your property falls onto your neighbors house ... it makes those neighborhood block parties a little “interesting”! 

These claims can be not only dangerous, but also costly.  Preventative tree care should be part of your overall home maintenance program. 

  1. Landscape care in the Fall
    • Prune unruly branches (leave the larger ones to the professionals!)
    • Inspect trees for dying limbs, insect damage, or signs of disease
    • Nourish trees with water and mulch
    • Plant new trees in the Fall
  2. Do not build new structures near or around a tree - it can damage tree roots and growth space
  3. Monitor and observe trees over time
    • Get a guide for identifying types of trees and potential disease 
    • Have an ISA-Certified arborist visit your property for an assessment on the health of your trees
  4. Choose the right trees for your property
    • How tall and wide will the tree become?
    • How fast will the tree grow?
    • Does it lose leaves in the winter?

In Fall, it is also important watch for leaves that fall on your driveway or street - wet leaves become a slip and/or driving hazard.

Enjoy the beauty that nature offers with a well landscaped yard.  It also keeps you, and your neighbors, safe!

Topics: Personal Insurance

IRS Expands List of Preventive Care for HSA Participants

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Preventive CareOn Wednesday, July 17th, the Internal Revenue Service added care for a range of chronic conditions to the list of preventive care benefits that may be provided by a high deductible health plan (HDHP). The new list is optional for a plan sponsor of HSA qualified HDHP plan to offer without impacting the member’s opportunity to fund their HSA account.

Individuals covered by an HDHP generally may establish and deduct contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) as long as they have no disqualifying health coverage. To qualify as a high deductible health plan, an HDHP generally may not provide benefits for any year until the minimum deductible for that year is satisfied. However, an HDHP is not required to have a deductible for preventive care (as defined for purposes of the HDHP/HSA rules).

The IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services have determined that certain medical care services received and items purchased, including prescription drugs, for certain chronic conditions should be classified as preventive care for someone with that chronic condition as specified in Notice 2019-45. Any medical care previously recognized as preventive care for these rules is still treated as preventive care.

For more details, learn more here. If you have any questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits

Hospital and Insurer Price Transparency Rule

Posted by the knowledge brokers

hospital signOn June 24th, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order on hospital and insurer price transparency. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will decide through rulemaking whether hospitals and insurers will need to publish individual rates or whether they can keep their pricing information more general and publish only aggregate rates. Administration officials did not confirm when the rulemaking will take place, saying only they will use “any and all regulatory vehicles” that can carry out its directives.

The language of the executive order is not public yet, but Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar laid out the five policies the order is set to address:

  1. HHS will need to issue the rule on hospital price disclosures, mandating that they disclose in an easy-to-read format the prices to reflect what insurers and patients actually pay.
  2. HHS will also, through rulemaking, require providers and insurers to disclose to patients their out-of-pocket cost before they go in for care.
  3. HHS will need to propose a way to consolidate quality measurers across all healthcare programs.
  4. HHS will look into how to store de-identified healthcare claims data so researchers can analyze it to make improvements to the system.
  5. The Treasury Department is tasked with expanding uses for health savings accounts.

For more details, learn more here. If you have any questions, please contact a KnowledgeBroker today!

Topics: Employee Benefits