Your Most Valuable Asset – A Primer on Long Term Disability

Posted on May 27, 2015 in Success ideas

Do you know what your most valuable asset is? It’s not your car or your home – it is your ability to earn an income. This short, 2 minute video gives a great explanation of how Long Term Disability coverage can protect you. We can help design a plan that fits you and your needs – call us for a consultation!

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The Role of Long Term Care Insurance in Retirement Planning

Posted on May 20, 2015 in Success ideas

As you are planning for retirement, you’ve probably started thinking about where you’ll live and the leisure activities you’ll finally have time to pursue. But have you considered how you’ll pay for the Long Term Care (LTC) services you may need?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 70 percent of people who reach age 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives.

The national average cost for a year of nursing home care is approaching $80,000. And that’s just for one person. If both you and a spouse need care, your retirement nest egg could be depleted quickly. Without a plan to pay for Long Term Care services, you could be putting everything you worked a lifetime to accumulate at risk.

LTC Cost chart

How Will you Pay?

When it comes to paying for LTC services, you have several options, including:

The Government – If you plan to rely on government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, you need to understand that Medicare only provides coverage for a short time – just long enough to help people get back on their feet after an illness or accident. Medicaid is a program for people with limited assets, which means in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, you may first have to spend down your retirement savings.

Self-Funding – Even if you have sufficient assets to pay for the care you need, there’s a chance those assets won’t be easily accessible when you need them. Liquidating assets – cashing in stocks, selling property or dipping into 401(k) or other savings accounts – can trigger additional costs in the form of capital gains tax, income tax and surrender charges.

Long-Term Care Insurance – An LTCi policy is designed to help pay a portion of LTC expenses. Owning a policy may give you options for care, whether at home or in an assisted living facility or nursing home. It may help prevent you from relying on family members for care. And may be the best way to protect the assets you’ve set aside for retirement. Also, some states, including Texas, have Partnership Programs that allow correctly designed LTC policies to protect even more of your assets should your LTC insurance benefit run out.

SB&K Benefits, LLC can help you design and implement Long Term Care insurance plans to fit your needs and budget. Call us for a consultation at 832-482-2494 or reach us through our contact form on this website.

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IRS Announces 2016 Health Savings Account plan limits

Posted on May 20, 2015 in Industry & Legislative News

The Internal Revenue Service announced new 2016 limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and their related qualifying High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).

For 2016, the annual HSA contribution limit for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) will be unchanged at $3,350, while contribution limits under a family HDHP will increase to $6,750.

The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for self-only HDHP coverage for 2016 will be $6,550, while family HDHP coverage for 2016 will be $13,100.

For 2016, the deductibles under a HDHP must be at least $1,300 for self-only coverage and $2,600 for family coverage.

Keep in mind, to be eligible to contribute to a Health Savings Account, you must be enrolled in a qualifying health plan. SB&K Benefits can help you create a strategy to implement Health Savings Accounts into your benefit package.

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H&R Block’s Final ACA Stats: Two Thirds of Tax Filers had to pay back Premium Subsidies

Posted on May 15, 2015 in Health Care Reform, Industry & Legislative News

Almost two-thirds of tax filers who received insurance via the state or federal insurance Marketplaces had to pay back an average of $729 of the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC), cutting their potential refund by almost one-third, according to analysis of filing data by H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), the world’s largest consumer tax preparation company. The Advanced Premium Tax Credit was designed to pay a portion of a person’s health insurance premium each month, the amount was based upon projected income amounts. The intent is to help make health insurance “affordable”. So, for example, if your health insurance premium on the individual exchange was $500 per month, and you got a premium tax credit, you might pay $250 and the government would pay the other $250.

However, if you projected your income incorrectly when you signed up, or it changed during the year, you might not qualify for the original subsidy amount. So you’d have to pay back part or all of the subsidy at tax time.

H&R Blocks research found that the average refund for those with an APTC who filed was $2,195. The average premium tax credit reconciliation repayment amount was $729, which equated to a 33-percent reduction from their average refund.

Here is a link to the H&R Block article:

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IRS Releases ACA Reporting Forms and Instructions

Posted on May 13, 2015 in Health Care Reform, Industry & Legislative News

The IRS recently released the final forms and instructions for Section 6055 and 6056 reporting. Additionally, the IRS released Publication 5196, Understanding Employer Reporting Requirements of the Health Care Law, in order to help employers prepare for reporting in 2016.

Forms 6055 and 6056 are not required to be filed for 2014, but employers may choose to voluntarily file in 2015 for 2014 coverage using the released forms and instructions.

For more information on the new reporting forms and instructions, see the IRS’ Q&As on Section 6055 and Q&As on Section 6056.

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