Serving over 200 companies and more than 2000 families since 1988

2882 Sand Hill Rd. Ste. 119 - Menlo Park, CA 94025 - (650) 854-8963 - (800) 564-4476

Posts made in January, 2017

For businesses that choose to offer group health insurance to employees, a question of cost versus benefit always arises. You hope to offer the best healthcare policy possible to your workers, but you might end up choosing a plan that carries a higher deductible. Don’t despair; by offering health insurance, you are still providing a wonderful benefit. And luckily, we have ways of mitigating the burden of high deductibles. In these situations, a health savings account (HSA) is often the perfect solution. Your employees no doubt enjoy the low monthly premiums of their healthcare plan, but they might worry about meeting their annual deductibles. An HSA allows them to stash tax-free money (that is, deducted from paychecks before taxes are taken out) in a spending account. Your workers can then use the funds in this account to pay for unexpected medical bills, so that a high deductible is not seen as an obstacle to medical care. Not everyone is eligible to open an HSA. In 2017, you can pair this type of account with any plan that carries an annual deductible of $1,300 (for individual coverage) or $2,600 (for family coverage). That means quite a few of the group health insurance plans available in California can be paired with an HSA. Each year, an individual can contribute a certain amount to their health savings account. In 2017, the limit is $3,400, or $6,750 for those with family insurance coverage. Those aged 55 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 to their accounts. Holders of health savings accounts can contribute money for as long as they are enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan. If that plan ends, or they upgrade to a low-deductible insurance policy, they can no longer contribute to the HSA. However, unused money rolls over from one year to the next, and the money is theirs to keep. In fact, an HSA can serve as an additional retirement planning vehicle. Unused funds, rolled over from one year to the next, can be used on medical expenses in retirement. By helping employees to establish a health savings account, you are providing them with a useful budgeting tool now – and potentially a valuable source of much-needed funds in retirement. As always, contact us with your questions about group health insurance and other employee benefits. We can help you decide what works for your business, while providing excellent care and coverage to your...

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Each year, the health insurance marketplace holds its annual Open Enrollment period, beginning in the fall and stretching into January. Many of you early birds have already taken care of this important decision, and your new healthcare plan took effect on January 1. But for those of you who tend to procrastinate, keep in mind that the deadline to enroll in a healthcare plan is rapidly approaching at the end of this month. If you’re tempted to wait until the last minute to select a health insurance policy, keep one thing in mind: Your enrollment date will affect the effective date of your coverage. This late in the game, you have two options: Select a health insurance policy by January 15, and make your binder payment by January 27, for coverage that begins on February 1. Enroll in a plan between January 16 and 31, for coverage to begin by March 1. As you can see, missing the January 15 deadline will mean that your health insurance coverage won’t start until March, rather than February. Since one day of procrastination can cost you an entire month of coverage, it’s best to submit your application right away. What if you’ve enrolled in a healthcare plan, and you’ve been issued a “pending” status for coverage that begins on February 1, but you change your mind about some aspect of the policy? You can still make changes to your application, but hurry. If you make those changes after January 15, they won’t take effect until March 1. Remember that if you miss the January 31 deadline to apply for health insurance coverage, you won’t be able to enroll in a plan unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event at some point during the year. Otherwise, you will have to wait until Open Enrollment begins this November. NOTE: Dental applications can be made any time during the year and are not subject to the Open Enrollment timelines. As always, give us a call if you have questions about health insurance coverage, or need help with your application. We specialize in helping our clients identify all of their options and choose a healthcare plan that fits their...

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