Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the end of December to review your finances. You might not have enough time to take full advantage of some money-saving strategies before the ball drops. Here are some healthy yearend moves you may be able to make.
Check your deductibles
Many health insurance plans have an annual deductible. If you’ve already met yours for the year, now’s the time to schedule any elective procedures you’ve been considering. If it doesn’t look like you’re going to meet your deductible this year, then switch gears and push any non-urgent visits into next year. That might help youmeet your deductible in 2015.
Max out your benefits
Be sure to take advantage of any benefits your health plan provides you free of charge. For example, it may cover an annual physical and various screenings.
If your employer sponsors a wellness program, don’t wait until the end of the year to check your status. You may be eligible for additional rewards for doing something as simple as scheduling a screening.
Review your FSA
If you have a health flexible spending account (FSA) through your employer, check your balance. If you have more money in your account than you can spend by the end of the year, see if the plan offers a grace period so employees can spend down their funds. Or the plan may allow employees to carry over a certain amount to the next year. Find out if your employer offers one of these options.
If you usually itemize deductions on your tax return, you may want to brush up on the details about the medical expense deduction. You won’t be able to qualify for it until your expenses are over 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% if you or your spouse is 65 or older). If you’re close to reaching the threshold, it may influence the decisions you make about elective procedures. You can only deduct unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed the threshold.
Posted in Financial Planning, Healthcare, Tax
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Have you heard about the $1 fee per covered member/employee on HRAs and self-insured health plans? Well if you had not before, now you have! Some part of me thinks, it’s a dollar what is the point, and then some part of me thinks what are they going to charge me for next!
So in case you have not heard about it, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has implemented the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee. Isn’t that nice, it’s all about us the patient – see they do care about us! This fee is intended to support the effectiveness of clinical research. It is assessed on self-employed health insurance plans and on HRAs, since they are considered self-insured. A self-insured health plan is a plan that provides for accident and health coverage; but there are some exceptions for things like: separate dental and vision plans, FSA, hospital indemnity plans, and disability income insurance.
Since I know you are so eager to know how to pay this fee, you pay it by July 31st following your plan year on the form 720-Federal Excise Tax Return. However if you offer insurance through a typical insurance company, the insurance company pays the fee, so nothing for you to do.
Now how much is the fee:
- For policy years that ended after 10/1/12 but before 10/1/13 the fee is $1 per life covered
- Plans with year ends from 10/1/13 before 10/1/14 the fee is $2
- Thereafter it is the prior year amount plus an adjustment for medical inflation
The good news is as of now this fee is scheduled to end by 10/1/2019!
There are several exceptions and a hand-full of ways to calculate covered lives, so be sure to look into all the rules. It is also possible that your insurance provider has already contacted you about this. If not be sure to talk to them as well. And for now make sure you make good use of that dollar and buy that coffee or ice cream from McDonalds!
By: Tara West, CPA, CMA, CGMA
Posted in Business Consulting, Healthcare
Tagged accountants in Maumee, accountants in Toledo, accountants maumee, affordable care act law, affordable care act of 2010, business health plans, cpa toledo, health care news, healthcare reform, hra account, hra accounts, hra health insurance, hra plan, maumee cpa, maumee cpa firms, news on healthcare, patient-centered outcomes research institute, toledo cpa, william vaughan, william vaughan company