IRS Announces HSA/HDHP Limits

From ChamberChoice

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have become one of the more popular spending accounts for both employees and employers. HSAs are tax-favored IRA-type trust or custodial accounts that can be contributed to by, or on behalf of, “eligible individuals” who are covered by certain High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs). The HSA can be used to pay for certain qualified medical expenses of the eligible individuals and their spouses and tax dependents.

Only an “eligible individual” can establish an HSA and make HSA contributions or have them made on his or her behalf. There are two groups of individuals who are ineligible for HSA contributions: those who can be claimed as tax dependents, and those who are entitled to Medicare. As a side note, “entitled to Medicare” means enrolled in and receiving Medicare benefits. Thus, mere eligibility for Medicare benefits (without enrollment) will not disqualify an individual from HSA eligibility.

An HSA-eligible individual can make contributions (up to statutory limits) to an HSA and get an “above-the-line” tax deduction, which means that the contributions reduce the individual’s adjusted gross income before itemized or standard deductions are considered. On the other hand, instead of an “above the line” deduction, many employers permit employees to contribute to an HSA on a pre-tax basis through the employer’s cafeteria plan [Note: An employee having deductions done pretax through an employer cannot also take an above the line deduction on tax forms]. Any investment earnings generated on HSA funds are also generally tax-free. HSA funds withdrawn for qualified medical expenses escape federal taxation entirely.

In order to be eligible to establish an HSA, an individual must be covered under an HDHP for the months for which contributions are made to the HSA. In addition, an eligible individual cannot have coverage under any non-HDHP that provides coverage for any benefit covered by the HDHP. IRS guidance interprets this coverage restriction to mean that any other health coverage, that is not a HDHP would disqualify an otherwise eligible individual unless it only constitutes preventive care, certain permitted coverage, or certain permitted insurance. As a reminder, this prohibition on having other non-HDHP coverage includes health plans such as health Flexible Spending Accounts (health FSAs) or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

Recently, the IRS issued the inflation adjusted amounts applicable to HSAs and HDHPs. The following chart compares the 2017 and 2018 limitations.

It’s not too early to start reviewing current employee benefits offered and planning on what to provide in 2018. An employer currently offering a HDHP in conjunction with an HSA needs to ensure that any health plan limitations will meet the IRS requirements. 

As a benefit to Chamber members, JRG Advisors, the management team behind ChamberChoice, are available on a consultative basis to assist members in planning their healthcare benefits offerings. They can be reached at 1-800-377-3539 or visit their website for more information. 

Budget Discussions Enter Final Month

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

With the last month of the fiscal year officially underway, House and Senate lawmakers return to session for what are sure to be several busy weeks with a focus on the budget and related policy items. The House has even extended its week by scheduling Thursday, June 8 as a voting session day.

Much attention will be paid to the General Assembly’s efforts to pass and send to the governor’s desk S.B. 1, a comprehensive public pension reform measure that would offer different retirement options to new state and public school employees, as opposed to the current, defined benefit pension plan that has proven to be unsustainable. The PA Chamber is advocating for this measure to rein in the steady growth of the public pension systems and ensure that they can remain intact for future generations of workers. Gov. Wolf has indicated that he would sign the legislation. According to a Pennlive story, the governor has confirmed that he has worked with legislative leaders toward the “matrix of a good pension reform bill,” adding, “I’m happy to sign a pension reform bill that makes it to my desk.”

In the House, business-related bills on the calendar include: H.B. 1213, which would provide much-needed limitations on the practice of taxing districts spot appealing individual property assessments.

It is possible the Senate may consider bills of interest to members that have already received committee approval: S.B.128, which would ban municipalities from passing leave and sick-day requirements stronger than those mandated by the state and federal government; S.B. 586, which would provide much-needed limitations on the practice of taxing districts spot appealing individual property assessments; and S.B. 725, which would require approval of the General Assembly before implementation of a state plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

Williams Mobile App Featured on WBRE-TV

The new mobile app being developed by Williams to help workers from out of the area working on the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline project find local goods and services, was featured last week on a news report on WBRE-TV, which also included interviews with Chamber members Wagner’s Trophies and Steph’s Subs

Any local business that would like to be included on this app can register, free of charge. Follow the link below from the Chamber’s Facebook page to view the video clip. 

North Shore Railroad Celebrates “Triple Crown” of Industry Awards

North Shore Railroad president and CEO Gary Shields speaks at last Friday’s awards ceremony.

On Friday, June 2, North Shore Railroad celebrated the three industry awards that it received this year with a reception and awards ceremony in Northumberland. The short line railroad company received three awards in 2017: the Marketing Award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, the Railway Age Short Line Railroad of the Year Award, and the Norfolk Southern Short Line of the Year honor. While it is usually impressive to win just one of these prestigious industry awards in a given year, to win all three is remarkable and unprecedented. Representatives from all three organizations came in from out of town to be in attendance and present North Shore with the awards.

See the video below from the Chamber’s Facebook page for Chamber President Fred Gaffney’s brief remarks at the ceremony.

Columbia Montour Chamber Members Get Back Nearly $40K in Insurance Dividends

Last week, it was announced that Chamber members that utilized the ChamberChoice business insurance program through Penn National Insurance will receive an 8% dividend in cash back for policies written and retained during the program’s fifth year (May 1, 2015 – April 30, 2016). The actual dollar amount that Columbia Montour Chamber members enrolled in the program will receive back this year is $38,695.38. This brings the five-year total of dividends distributed back to Columbia Montour Chamber members to more than $173,000. Checks for this year’s dividends will be mailed to participating members during June. 

Overall, since the program’s inception in 2011, over $6 million has been returned to member businesses across all Chambers that offer this program through ChamberChoice, with an average annual dividend of 7.4%. 

To see if this program could be a good fit for your business, contact Chamber members Associated Insurance Management at 570-275-0100 or Hutchison Insurance Agency at 570-784-5550, for a no-obligation quote.