IRS Increases FSA Contribution Limit for 2019
The IRS has announced an increase to the health care flexible spending account (FSA) contribution limits for the 2019 plan year. The 2019 FSA contribution level maximum will be $2,700. Keep in mind that the FSA maximum for 2019 defined by the IRS tells employers how much they can allow employees to contribute to an employer-sponsored FSA – not what they must allow. This is an important distinction, and one that we see cause confusion frequently.
Employers are not forced to apply the new limit to their FSA for the 2019 plan year, but they can choose to do so.
Health care FSA contribution limits work on an individual basis. As a result, each spouse in the household may contribute up to the new FSA limit in the 2019 plan year.
This change applies only to salary reduction contributions under a health care FSA; it does not apply to employer-provided contributions, also referred to as flex credits.
PPI will be systematically increasing the FSA limit for your plans on 11/26, if they meet the criteria below. If you do not want us to automatically apply this update, please notify your PPI Account Manager ASAP, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We will not systematically change any employee elections made prior to 11/26.
- If clients wish to have their flex plan limits updated prior to 11/26, that change can be made by the client team in the plan class pricing.
For the 11/26 systematic update to the new max limit for all Healthcare FSA Plans:
- We will ONLY update clients with an effective date of 1/1/19 or later.
- Clients with an effective date before 1/1/19 will not be updated. Your FSA plan cannot take advantage of the increase until your FSA renews in 2019.
- The increase does not represent a qualifying event for your employees on 1/1/2019 for a plan year that begins prior to 1/1/2019. Your plan as a whole may not adopt the new maximum until the plan renews within 2019.
- We will update the “Maximum Annual Contribution” & “Maximum Allowed with HSA Elected” to $2,700 if it is $2,650. If these amounts are not $2,650 on any clients, we will not update the amounts.
Additional Tax Exclusion Changes
In addition to the health care FSA limit change, the IRS also announced the following adjustments for taxable year 2019:
- Transit and parking employee benefits: Monthly limit on fringe benefit exclusion for transit and parking for 2019 was increased to $265 from the 2018 limit of $260.
- Retirement plans: The 2019 maximum contribution limit for employees contributing to a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan has been adjusted to $19,000, an increase of $500 from the 2018 limit.
- Adoption assistance programs: The maximum yearly exclusion for qualified adoption expenses in taxable year 2019 will be $ $14,080, up from $13,840 for 2018.
- QSEHRA: The maximum reimbursement for a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA) for 2019 has been set to $5,150 for individual coverage and $10,450 for family coverage. QSEHRA limits for 2018 were $5,050 for individual coverage and $10,250 for family coverage.
A Split Congress May Pursue Bipartisan Health Care Fixes
Cooperation by both parties is needed to address the nation’s health care challenges
Republicans expanded their Senate majority in the Nov. 6 midterm elections, but Democrats will have a majority in the House when Congress convenes in January. The partisan divide makes it unlikely that any major changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will advance to the desk of President Donald Trump. But that doesn't mean bipartisan efforts to address health care challenges are off the table. Meanwhile, heading into the 2020 presidential election, progressives will continue to advocate for government-funded single-payer health care for everyone.
5 Ways a Legal Plan Improves Employee Wellbeing
Planning for the future can seem overwhelming. With MetLaw, employees get affordable, convenient access to experienced attorneys and award-winning financial education workshops to empower them to save money and plan for the future. Here are just a few of the ways our legal plan helps your employees take control of stressful and expensive matters in life — and stay focused at work.
#1: It saves them money
On average, group legal plan members pay less than $200 a year for unlimited use of the legal plan for covered matters - significantly less than the cost of seeing an attorney just once for most legal matters.1
#2: They have easy access to attorneys
80% of employers said that one of the main benefits of a legal plan are access to above average legal services and 75% said that higher responsiveness from lawyers was an important benefit.
#3: It relieves stress
60% of employees with a legal plan said that they feel prepared to handle unforeseen legal events, significantly more than the 39% of employees without a legal plan who said they did.
#4: they can prepare for today - and tomorrow
75% of employees who have a legal plan say they feel confident planning for today and the future. Legal plan members can attend PlanSmart’s® Retirewise®2 workshops to help them get the education they need to improve their financial situation. These award-winning, onsite workshops focus on a broad spectrum of vital financial and retirement topics, including budgeting, investment principles and estate planning.
#5: Employees are more focused at work
Of the employers who offer a legal plan, 76% said one of the top reasons for doing so was so employees could spend less time dealing with personal issues while at work. With a legal plan, network attorneys will draft legal documents and, in many cases, attend hearings or make court appearances on employees’ behalf, so they don’t have to miss work.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistical information comes from the ORC study, conducted on behalf of Hyatt Legal Plans, between June and July of 2017.
1. Based on the average monthly cost of the legal plan ($18/month) compared to the average hourly rate for an attorney of $338.00/hour based on years of legal experience, National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence, Survey of Law Firm Economics (2016).
2. MetLife administers the PlanSmart Retirewise program, but has arranged for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) to have specially-trained financial professionals offer financial education and, upon request, provide personal guidance to employees and former employees of companies providing the program through MetLife.
Holiday Safety Hacks
The temperatures are dropping, leaves are changing colors and holiday decorations are appearing in shops and neighborhoods. The holidays are a busy time for many folks, a time when families get together to share their gratitude for one another, build memories and celebrate the milestones of the last year. While you're busy making merry, check out these holiday tips to help keep things going smoothly and prevent unwanted headaches.
- Avoid Falls
- Lights are a key part of decoration for many families. Whether you're putting up a few strings of lights or decorating in the style of the Griswold family, be sure to place your ladder on sturdy ground. If possible, have someone spot you from below, too.
- When setting up the ladder, it is recommended to have two rungs above the edge of the roof.
- Ensure that your decorations are secured properly to prevent anything falling onto people below.
- Be careful with the number of extension cords you use, and read the wattage that each extension cord can handle. Not only can overuse raise your electricity bill, but it could also overheat and create a fire hazard.
- House fires are not uncommon during this time of the year. Don't use a staple gun or nails to affix extension cords or anything with electricity running through it. Where possible, employ power strips with a breaker switch so you can avoid drawing too much power and causing an outage or fire.
- If you have a live holiday tree, keep it well watered. This lessens the fire hazard and will keep your tree looking healthy -- and you'll have fewer needles to clean up.
- Avoid cuts and burns. While carving turkey, ham or any other holiday meat, be sure to cut away from yourself.
- Pay attention. Being attentive in the kitchen is the best way to prevent burns from hot pots and pans, as well as cooking fires. Making a schedule for cooking may be a good idea to keep things flowing and organized.
- Look out for children and pets and make sure they stay safe while you're cooking. Although the holidays are about being together, keeping extra people out of the kitchen and clutter to a minimum can help prevent unwanted spills, burns and distractions.
- If you experience snow this holiday season, wear boots or shoes with slip-resistant material to help prevent a slip, trip or fall hazard.
- Keep an eye out if snow melts and re-freezes -- black ice is common and very dangerous, especially if a second snow hides the ice from view.
- When shoveling snow, lift with your legs and not your back.
We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season.
This material was created by PPI Benefit Solutions to provide accurate and reliable information on the subjects covered but should not be regarded as a complete analysis of these subjects. It is not intended to provide specific legal, tax or other professional advice. The service of an appropriate professional should be sought regarding your individual situation. PPI does not offer tax or legal advice. "PPI®" is a service mark of Professional Pensions, Inc., a subsidiary of NFP Corp. (NFP). All rights reserved.