Monday, July 13, 2020

In Brief: HSAs; Plan Fees; Health Care Reform

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The IRS has posted new inflation-adjusted contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) for 2013. The maximum contribution for an employee with self-only coverage will be $3,250 -- up from $3,100 in 2012. The maximum contribution for a worker with family coverage will be $6,450 -- up from $6,250 in 2012. The "catch-up" limit for those ages 55 and older will remain the same at $1,000.

New IRS guidance clarifies the amount of fees that will be imposed on group and self-funded health plans to fund research on medical outcomes as part of the health care reform law. The agency announced that plans will be charged $1 per plan participant for the first plan year ending after Sept. 30, 2012, and $2 per participant in the following years. The fee is due by July 31 of the next plan year.

Although the ultimate fate of the health care reform law remains unknown, the Department of Labor has started to enforce its provisions through health and welfare plan audits. This marks the first time the DOL has included topics related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in its audits, according to the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP.

Half of employers that offer a retirement plan offer automatic enrollment features to their employees, according to a new survey by Mesirow Financial Retirement Plan Advisory. One-third of respondents said their company offers a step-by-step deferral rate option.

The median salary for the class of 2012 graduates with bachelor's degrees was $42,569, an increase of 4.5 percent from the $40,735 for graduates in the 2011 class. The National Association of Colleges and Employers, which conducted the study, also found that those with math and science degrees saw a 2.5 percent increase in median salary to $40,939. Starting salaries for computer sciences graduates increased 2.4 percent to $56,383.

A new report by Health Fairs Direct reveals the return on investment (ROI) for a number of wellness program features. Some of the top ROI initiatives (showing the return for every $1 spent) include:

  • Health risk assessment: $6.04
  • Fitness program: $4.90
  • Coaching: $4.90
  • Smoking cessation: $3.50
  • Flu shots: $2.10

Enrollment in health savings accounts is climbing rapidly, according to a new report by Fidelity Investments. The company reported a 61 percent surge in the number of accounts it administered in 2011 compared with the previous year. It is the greatest year-to-year increase that the investment company has ever reported.

Although specialty drugs are used by a small portion of the population, they accounted for 21 percent of total U.S. drug spending in 2009 and are increasing 15 percent to 20 percent annually, according to the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute. The group notes that employers can help control costs by better drug-use tracking and more integration between their health care and drug plans.

Female U.S. workers continue to see a significant pay gap with their male counterparts, a new report finds. Women earned 77 percent of what men earned in 2010, according to the American Association of University Women. The report listed women's annual median earnings at $36,931, compared with $47,715 for men.

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