‘Tis the season for family get-togethers, holiday cheer, food a plenty, and of course….open enrollment. For both corporate and federal health insurance benefits, this is the time of year to review our current benefits and make changes if necessary. Most employers are shifting more and more of the healthcare burden onto employees through higher deductible health care plans, making it more important than ever to ensure your elections fit your financial and personal situation. I want to quickly highlight a few things to look for to make the most out of your employee benefits.
Marriage, having a baby, divorce, significant raise or pay cut: all of these are major life events that may trigger a significant change in your health insurance election. It is a great time to double check your savings percentage on your employer sponsored retirement plans and make sure that you are at least contributing enough to max out your company’s matching program if they have one. Also, review the beneficiary designation on your work-related retirement accounts or life insurance policies to assure they are in line with your estate planning goals.
Beyond retirement accounts and life and health insurance, there may be several options or benefits that you are not taking advantage of but could add significant value to you. One such example is a Health Savings Account (HSA), which is a medical savings account that allows you to contribute pre-tax money and use the money on qualified medical expenses without paying taxes. These are great tax-advantages savings accounts that allow you to invest funds within the account and keep it into retirement. I must note that if withdrawals are used for non-qualified expenses then they will be subject to income tax and if made prior to age 65, a 20% penalty will apply. If you would like to know if you qualify or want to learn more about HSA’s and how they compare to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s), review our previous Vitus View titled “A Closer Look at HSA’s and FSA’s” on our company website.
Many companies have implemented wellness programs that provide incentives for living a healthier lifestyle. They may also provide re-imbursement for things such as mileage, relocation expenses, and professional development courses among others. It could be very beneficial to meet with a representative from your company’s Human Resources department to find out more about company programs that are under-utilized.
Reading through all of your different health insurance options and deciding which is best for you can be a daunting task but we urge everyone to take the time do so. If you need assistance understanding your company’s benefits or determining how to get those most out of your company sponsored retirement plans, our team of professionals at Virtus Wealth Management are here to help.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual, nor intended to be a substitute for specific individualized advice.