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Introducing Deborah Meek

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Introducing Deborah Meek, Business Development Director

We have some great news to share. We’re super excited to announce the addition of Deborah Meek as our new Director of Business Development. Deb is a long time industry veteran and sales leader and we're very pleased to have her on our team! Her responsibilities will include developing strategic ways of helping ABG clients maximize their CDH strategy through the company’s service offerings, as well as introducing new employers to ABG’s highly differentiated service and technology offerings.

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American Benefits Group (ABG) Navigating the Road to Consumer Directed Healthcare 2.0

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Category: CDHC, COBRA, Flexible Spending, FSA, Health Reimbursement, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Health Savings, HSA, Transit and Parking Section 132,

American Benefits Group (ABG) Navigating the Road to Consumer Directed Healthcare 2.0

The rapid adoption of consumer-directed health plans and accounts is a megatrend. In 2021 over 80 percent of U.S. employers offer a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a pre-tax consumer spending account or an HSA. According to Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the average industry-wide Health Savings Account (HSA) balance is about $2,100, while an average couple will require more than $285,000 in savings at retirement age to cover their likely out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Moreover, only 30 percent of health savings account holders fall in the ‘saver’ category, carrying account balances from year to year. These statistics highlight the need for better education, tools, and resources to help consumers better manage the financial responsibility for their current and future healthcare costs.

Read full Article at HR TECH Outlook

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Biden’s COBRA Subsidy Proposal and What It Means for You

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Category: CDHC, COBRA, Compliance and Regulatory,

Senators Introduce COBRA Relief Bill

On Feb. 7, 2021, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, which would protect unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would allow laid off workers to remain on their employer health plans, through the COBRA program, at no cost.

The legislation would also provide a 100 percent subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums owed by unemployed workers to ensure that they do not lose coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furloughed workers whose health benefits continue while pay is suspended would also have their employee contributions 100 percent subsidized. These subsidies would not impact workers' eligibility for unemployment benefits or other types of state or federal assistance.

In addition, the bill would extend the period during which workers could elect COBRA coverage, and enable workers to access coverage even if they declined it before the subsidy was made available, thereby ensuring continuity of care amid the health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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American Benefits Group (ABG) Upping the Benefits Administration Game

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Category: CDHC, COBRA, Flexible Spending, FSA, Health Reimbursement, Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Health Savings, HSA, Transit and Parking Section 132,

American Benefits Group (ABG) Upping the Benefits Administration Game 

In recent years, the US’ employee benefits landscape has rapidly evolved owing to factors such as escalating healthcare costs, changes in employment and benefits laws, and new initiatives and options in healthcare benefits. As employers continue to explore various ways to manage the costs and strategic design of their health benefits programs, integrated consumer-driven accounts such as Healthcare FSA, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) play an instrumental role to empower participants with the tools they need to manage their health care spending and out of pocket costs. Delivering comprehensive tools and guidance to manage these accounts in one place with access real time healthcare cost and quality assessment tools and data is a responsibility that Massachusetts-based American Benefits Group (ABG) take very seriously. 

Read full Article at MANAGE HR

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No Changes to Health FSA Maximum Limit the limit remains at $2,750 for 2021

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Category: Cafeteria Plans, CDHC, Flexible Spending, FSA, Health Savings, Transit and Parking Section 132,

The IRS announced Revenue Procedure 2020-45 which provides the 2021 cost-of-living increases for inflation for certain items. In 2021, the:

  • Annual Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contribution limits will not increase they will remain at the 2020 amount of $2,750
  • Monthly limit for Transit and Parking will not increase they will remain at the 2020 amount of $270 per benefit
  • Annual maximum reimbursement for a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) will increase $50 for individual coverage from the current amount of $5,250 to $5,300 and the maximum reimbursement amount will increase $100 for family coverage from the current amount of $10,600 to $10,700

As a reminder, the IRS announced 2021 Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions limit increases earlier this year. In 2021, the annual HSA contribution limit for individual coverage will increase $50 from the current $3,550 to $3,600, and the family coverage contribution limit will increase $100 from the current $7,100 to $7,200. 

 

Please note that this email has been sent to the Company Plan Administrator and Broker Contacts, please share with others in your organization.

If you have any questions, please contact American Benefits Group for more information.

The IRS announced Revenue Procedure 2020-45 which provides the 2021 cost-of-living increases for inflation for certain items. In 2021, the:

  • Annual Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contribution limits will not increase they will remain at the 2020 amount of $2,750
  • Monthly limit for Transit and Parking will not increase they will remain at the 2020 amount of $270 per benefit
  • Annual maximum reimbursement for a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) will increase $50 for individual coverage from the current amount of $5,250 to $5,300 and the maximum reimbursement amount will increase $100 for family coverage from the current amount of $10,600 to $10,700

As a reminder, the IRS announced 2021 Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions limit increases earlier this year. In 2021, the annual HSA contribution limit for individual coverage will increase $50 from the current $3,550 to $3,600, and the family coverage contribution limit will increase $100 from the current $7,100 to $7,200. 

Please note that this email has been sent to the Company Plan Administrator and Broker Contacts, please share with others in your organization.

If you have any questions, please contact American Benefits Group for more information.

 

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COVID-19: Recent Official Notices for Employer Benefit Plans

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Category: Cafeteria Plans, CDHC, Compliance and Regulatory, Flexible Spending, FSA,

Recently there have been multiple regulatory announcements regarding Section 125 Cafeteria Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Please be mindful that not every announcement applies to every plan type, nor to all configurations of a given plan type.

 

Recent announcements include:

Notice or Announcement

Date Released

The CARES Act

3/27/2020

EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01

4/29/2020

IRS Notice 2020-29

5/12/2020

IRS Notice 2020-33

5/12/2020

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IRS Releases New Guidance on Cafeteria Plans and ICHRAs

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Category: Flexible Spending, HRA, HSA, IRS, Section 125 Plans,

On May 12th, the IRS released Notice 2020-29 and 2020-33. These notices provided new relaxed rules for 2020 for making elections under Cafeteria plans, using amounts during a grace period or carryover period changes to the method determining the carryover amounts under Health FSAs and clarifying which premiums can be reimbursed under ICHRAs. The following is an explanation of both notices.

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COVID-19: May 2020 Update from ABG

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Category: COBRA, Compliance and Regulatory,

On May 4, 2020 Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) issued a final ruling regarding the extension of certain COBRA timeframes during the COVID-19 National Emergency in its “Extension of Certain Timeframes for Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak” notice. The intent of this ruling is to provide relief that is immediately needed to preserve and protect the benefits or participants and beneficiaries in all employee benefit plans across the Unites States during the National Emergency.

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IRS and DOL Provide Deadline Relief

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Category: COBRA,

IRS and DOL Provide Relief for Participants and Plan Sponsors from Certain Time Deadlines Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Yesterday, recognizing the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor released guidance that extends the period of time that a participant has in enrolling in coverage under a health plan, paying for COBRA continuation coverage, submitting claims for coverage and disputing denials of claims for benefits. The guidance also extends the period of time that a group health plan sponsor or administrator has to provide a COBRA election notice. Agency FAQs were also released related to the guidance. Essentially, the guidance provides that actions that must be taken with the time period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the time the federal government declares the COVID-19 emergency (referred to as the “Outbreak Period”) has ended will be disregarded . 

The guidance states that the following actions that are required to be taken during the Outbreak Period are extended until after the Outbreak Period ends:

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The president signed The CARES Act into law on Friday March 27th

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Category: Cafeteria Plans, FSA, Health Care Reform, HRA, HSA,

This law has many important components, one of which permanently reinstates coverage of Over the Counter (OTC) drugs and medicines as items eligible for reimbursement under Code 213(d) expenses in FSA, HRA, and HSA plans. With this law, the drugs and medicines will no longer require participants to have a prescription to prove eligibility. In addition to the reinstatement of OTC eligibility, the bill expands the eligible OTC definition to include menstrual care products (i.e. tampons, pads, etc.).

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American Benefits Group - COVID-19 - Important Update

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Category: Commuter, Compliance and Regulatory, Flexible Spending, FSA, HRA, HSA,

COVID-19 Update - Please forward this communication to others in your organization who may need it.


Reminder - We request you help us in an effort to reduce US mail wherever possible

  • Manual Claim Reimbursement: these can be submitted electronically either by uploading information through the participant portal, using the camera feature with our mobile application or faxing to our secure fax viewer.
  • Monthly Administrative Service Fee Invoices Payments: communications have been sent to all AP contacts for each organization. Within the communication, we identify alternative methods of payment.
  • COBRA and Direct Billing: If you are currently receiving your remittances by check we ask that you sign up for ACH. Please reach out to accounting@amben.com.
 

 

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COVID-19 - Important Update

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Category: COBRA, Compliance and Regulatory, Health Care Reform, HRA,

As we continue to monitor developments and consider American Benefits Group’s response and contingency plans in the context of the coronavirus developments, our priority is the safety of our employees and ensuring our ability to continue to service our clients’ needs.

Our Critical Response Group is composed of leaders and subject matter experts across our business lines. This group is meeting daily to assess the impact across our business and in our communities, advise the executive management, develop and deploy actions.

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IRS Announces 2020 Adjustments

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Category: CDHC, Flexible Spending, IRS, Transit and Parking Section 132,

Today, the IRS announced Revenue Procedure 2019-44 which provides the 2020 cost-of-living increases for inflation for certain items. In 2020, the:

  • Annual Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contribution limits will increase $50 from the current amount of $2,700 to $2,750

  • Monthly limit for Transit and Parking will increase $5 each from the current amount of $265 to $270

  • Annual maximum reimbursement for a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) will increase $100 for individual coverage from the current amount of $5,150 to $5,250, and the maximum reimbursement amount will increase $150 for family coverage from the current amount of $10,450 to $10,600

As a reminder, the IRS announced 2020 health savings account (HSA) contributions limit increases. In 2020, the annual HSA contribution limit for individual coverage will increase $50 from the current $3,500 to $3,550, and the family coverage contribution limit will increase $100 from the current $7,000 to $7,100.

If you have any questions, please contact American Benefits Group for more information. 

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FSA Store = Notice on Fraudulent Email Attempt

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FSA store has made us aware that there's been a recent phishing attempt that tried to imitiat their emails. Find out more on their website https://email.fsastore.com/public/viewmessage/html/28402/jacsngk52mpi13qi7e7e8vjio1911/f47dabf70f64974471877ef93778df2a 

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