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2014 IRS Limits – FICA, FSA, HSA, etc…

Maximum Taxable Earnings The following table provides a list of key wage & contribution based benefit IRS limits.

FICA Taxable Wage Base (2014 / 2013)
Maximum Taxable Earnings – $117,000 / $113,700
Employer Tax Rate – 6.2% / 6.2%
Employee Tax Rate – 6.2% / 6.2%
 
Flexible Spending Accounts
Health FSA Maximum Salary Reduction – $2,500 / $2,500
Standard Mileage Rate for Medical Purposes – 23.5 cents per mile / 24 cents per mile
Dependent Care FSA – $5,000 / $5,000
Dependent Care FSA (married filing separately) – $2,500 / $2,500
 
Health Savings Accounts
HDHP Minimum Annual Deductible – Self Only $1,250 / $1,250
HDHP Minimum Annual Deductible – Family $2,500 / $2,500
HDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum – Self Only $6,350 / $6,250
HDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum – Family $12,700 / $12,500
HSA Maximum Contribution Limit – Self Only $3,300 / $3,250
HSA Maximum Contribution Limit – Family $6,550 / $6,450
HSA Catch-Up Contribution Limit (55 or older) $1,000 / $1,000

Mileage Reimbursement Rate
Business Miles – 56.0 cents per mile / 56.5 cents per mile
Moving Expenses – 23.5 cents per mile / 24 cents per mile
In Service of Charitable Organizations – 14 cents per mile / 14 cents per mile

HCEs and Key Employees
Highly Compensated Employee Dollar Threshold – $115,000 / $115,000
Key Employee Dollar Threshold – Officer Group $170,000 / $165,000
Key Employee Dollar Threshold – More than 1% Owner $150,000 / $150,000
 
Medicare
Maximum Taxable Earnings – No Limit / No Limit
Employer Tax Rate – 1.45% / 1.45%
Employee Tax Rate – 1.45% /$1.45%
 
Educational Assistance
Maximum Income Exclusion – $5,250 / $5,250
 
Transportation Fringe Benefit Plans Parking
Parking – $250 per month / $245 per month
Transit Passes & Van Pooling (combined) – $130 per month / $245 per month
 
Adoption Assistance
Maximum Exclusion for Employer-Provided Adoption Assistance – $13,190 / $12,970
Adoption Tax Credit Limit – $13,190 / $12,970
Maximum Exempt from Phased Reduction Exclusion and Credit – $197,880 / $194,580
Maximum Allocation for Exclusion and Credit – $237,880 / $234,580

The Relief Keeps On Coming!

Health Care Reform Updates – Hear are a few of the changes announced in the last weeks starting with Transition Policy.

Transitional Policy provides the Option to Keep Existing Coverage in 2014 – State agencies responsible are encouraged (but not required) to adopt the transitional policy. If the state allows, health insurers have the option of continuing small group coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled.

Online Enrollment Delayed One Year for Federally-Facilitated SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) Marketplace Further – Small Employers Must Continue to Apply Offline Until November 2014.

Enrollment Deadline Extended for Individual & SHOP Marketplace – Individuals and Small Businesses have until December 23rd to sign up. Coverage would begin January 1, 2014.

Temporary Hardship Exemption from Individual Mandate for Individuals with Cancelled Plans – The Hardship Exemption allows individuals to purchase catastrophic plans. One such exemption is for individuals with cancelled plans who have difficulty paying for coverage in the individual marketplace. (How ironic – exemption granted to those who cannot afford insurance under the Affordable Care Act.)

Telehealth /Telemedicine

The next time your employee thinks he needs to go to the doctor’s office, emergency room or urgent care center, wouldn’t it be more convenient and cost-effective to call the doctor first? Seventy percent of office visits aren’t necessary and eliminating unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office reduces total employee healthcare costs – studies show a range from 5 to 40%.

MedCallAssist  is a company created to helping people in remote areas who had little or no access to emergency care.  From there the concept was introduced to groups, companies, self-insured groups, families and individuals who lived in urban areas. MedCallAssist provides immediate around-the-clock access to physicians – Immediate Care for employees and your business. A Doctor is always On Call: No appointments, no waiting, no deductible, and the doctor can write a prescription.

The company can also provide a Prescription Medical Kit:  A doctor’s tool kit, in your hands, to help you navigate hundreds of common medical situations, like infections, cardiac arrest, pneumonia, and more. The Ultimate Prescription Medical Kit even provides prescription-grade medicine – it’s all in the bag!

2014 Waiting Period Limit – 3 months is not the same as 90 days

Effective for the plan year beginning on or after Jan 1, 2014 the new federal maximum 90-day waiting period limit applies to all group health plans, fully insured and self-funded, grandfathered and non-grandfathered. (States may mandate shorter waiting periods.)

Compliant waiting periods include: 

  • No waiting period
  • Date of Event: 1 to 90 calendar days; 1 or 2 months
  • First of Month: Following the event, such as date of hire, 1 or 2 months or 1 to 60 calendar days.

We anticipate most employers declaring the eligibility to be ‘first of the month following…’, to minimize (if not eliminate) partial billing, with wording ‘not to exceed 90 days’.

2014 HSA Contribution Limits

A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged savings account available to those who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The funds contributed to an account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. Unlike a flexible spending account (FSA), funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. HSAs are owned by the individual.

HSA 2014 annual contribution limits
HSA annual contributions limits – Single $3,300 / Family $6,550
HSA catch-up contributions – $1,000 for an accountholder age 55 or older

Plan Design Requirements
Minimum deductible  –   Single $1,250 / Family $2,500
Maximum out-of-pocket expenses – Single $6,350 / Family $12,700

(Other HSA-eligibility criteria apply including: cannot be enrolled in Medicare, have received VA medical benefits in the past three months, or be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.)

Cybersecurity and Obamacare

HealthCare.gov website users should know that the issues with the website were not just a result of a very large amount of traffic pinging it in one go.

The security flaws in the website were quite primitive. Flaws you don’t really expect someone to have overlooked. For instance, the site relayed personal information without encryption and the e-mail verification could be easily bypassed – even if you did not have access to the e-mail account. Also, the amount of cookie data the site maintained was more than required and likely not tested under high loads. And these are only a few of the issues.

The site is a prime target for an account being hijacked. A malicious hacker has a vulnerable site where millions of victims are “coming” because the government mandated it. The holes in the website allow the hacker to compromise a very large amount of sensitive information about a lot of people, all in one shot.

There are certain precautions that website users can take…but the website has to be iron-clad to begin with. There are a lot of security tests, assessments, and penetration tests that the website, its servers, the supporting databases, and the entire infrastructure it was built on, need to undergo.

 Website users should take precautions to ensure they don’t become victims of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers some good guidelines –http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.

The public needs to demand the equivalent level of information security from the ACA infrastructure as the Government would expect from a large hospital or healthcare associate via the HIPAA regulations.

Thanks to Enterprise Risk Management, www.emrisk.com, for help with the blog. ERM performs Penetration Testing and Security Implementation to Protect Businesses. By simulating an attack on your computer system or network, you determine if your information infrastructure is strong enough to withstand a real data security breach from both external and internal threat.

Small Businesses May Be Able to Re-Enroll in Current Coverage

Last week’s announcement the federal government is encouraging states to adopt a transitional rule which would allow insurance carriers to extend individual health insurance plans, which would otherwise be discontinued, into 2014, was only half the story. Only hours after the announcement the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released additional clarification on this announcement, advising that small groups are also included in the extension into 2014. By allowing members to remain in their current plans through 2014, they will have additional time to ascertain if they qualify for a subsidy and to find new plans for 2015 that meet the ACA requirements. Under the transitional policy, small group health insurance that is renewed for a policy year starting between January 1, 2014 and October 1, 2014 will not be considered to be out of compliance with certain key Affordable Care Act market reforms (originally scheduled to take effect for plan years starting on or after January 1, 2014), if certain conditions are satisfied. Requirements include:

  • Covering essential health benefits
  • Variations in premiums be limited to age, tobacco use, family size, and geography;
  • Elimination of preexisting condition exclusions;

Where does each state stand? You can follow here.

How much will that medical procedure cost?

Price transparency in healthcare is all the buzz. More than 85% of all medical services are scheduled in advance, giving the participant time to ask the provider questions prior to receiving services. –  But how does an employee access price and quality information? It’s hard to negotiate for yourself.

MyHealthCareGenius helps patients shop for the highest quality, lowest cost healthcare, including physician appointments, laboratory tests, imaging tests and hospitalization. This pre-care access eliminates the disadvantage patients are often at negotiating their own price.

Employees call BEFORE the required services.

  • Tell MYHealthcareGenius what care is needed and if there is a preference where to receive it from.
  • MyHealthCareGenius will negotiate a price for care for the provider and the providers in your area.
  • MyHealthCareGenius will create a personalized price and quality score card!

MyHCG logo

(Excerpts taken from MYHealthcareGenius.)

Useful Apps – Drugs.com Medication Guide

Need help with medication management and adherence?  – Users can lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.

Key Features

• My Drug List – Add your medications to assemble medical information in a simple, easy to read personalized format. Access consumer information, FDA alerts, drug interactions, plus food, allergy and medical condition interactions.

• Complete Drugs A to Z listings – Fast search, accurate suggestion engine and boasts the most comprehensive database of drug information available online.

• Interactions Checker – Provides a list of interactions that may occur when different drugs are taken at the same time. Also checks food interactions automatically!

• Additional Features: Symptom Checker looks up specialized databases for side effects and dosage information. Not quite sure how to spell a drug name? Use the phonetic search. Pill Identifier identifies meds simply by entering an imprint, shape or color.

Pill Identifier App

Know of a useful app in the health care, LTC, Rx or related industry? Send it to us, we may blog about it.

The Wild Card That Could Destroy Your Retirement

Here is an excerpt of an outstanding article we read on Yahoo finance:

Could you withstand a half million dollar or more hit to your retirement savings? Even for many one percenters that could be the difference between a comfortable retirement and destitution. Yet, the odds that you may someday get this hit are uncomfortably high.

Long-term care costs are a wild card that can wipe out the most careful lifetime investment planning. And the event is so random and capricious that it’s difficult to impossible to simulate in a financial plan. And no matter how carefully you have saved, how good your asset allocation plan and investment strategy is, the results may be ruined if you, your spouse, or another family member need long-term care.

Click here for the entire article from Yahoo finance – this link will re-direct you to Yahoo’s site which will open a new tab.

 

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