3 Ways to Reduce Anxiety this Open Enrollment

Blog - OE stress reduction

Practical advice for the everyday worker

Open Enrollment only comes once year, and making decisions that will impact your bottom line for the next 12 months can be overwhelming and daunting.  Where to start?  What to do?  According to a research survey conducted by Unum, nearly half of all U.S. workers spend only 30 minutes or less reviewing their benefits prior to enrolling in plans for the next year.  That’s barely 30 minutes spent on making decisions that could affect you – and your dependents – for an entire year.

So, what can you do about it?

For starters, take a moment to come up with a game plan.  Commit to setting aside some time to review your Open Enrollment options, like after dinner or whenever you have some time away from other responsibilities and distractions.  If you’re married, involve your partner in reviewing your options.  Sometimes even reiterating your choices and verbalizing them to someone else can help you in the decision making process.  Reviewing your benefits can definitely be intimidating, but if you tackle each option piece by piece, it won’t seem as scary.  Cross off each plan as you review it, and count that towards your goal of completing a thorough review.  Benefits may not seem especially exciting, but they’re really important and worth investment of your time.  Often, they can help you and your family when you need it most.

With so many names, clauses and terminology, it can be easy to get confused by industry jargon.  If you’re unsure about what something is or what exactly it means – ask.  Know what you’re signing up for and don’t have buyer’s remorse.  Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to tackling important decisions that affect your hard earned money, so make sure you know what something is before you enroll in it.  Reach out to your HR or benefits department for assistance in clarifying a benefit. You can also go directly to your benefit provider or carrier for clarification.  Many companies have easily accessible toll-free numbers and websites that are full of helpful information.

When reviewing your benefits, it’s important to calculate what you’ll spend on each benefit, such as on your health insurance.  Calculating your total out-of-pocket costs will help you get a better sense of how much will be deducted from your paycheck every pay period so there’s no surprises when your plan year starts.  Equally important is calculating how much money some programs can save you when you sign up, like when you enroll in a Flexible Spending Account.  Pre-tax plans, like a Flexible Spending Account, are a great tool to help you save money on expenses you anticipate on having in the coming year.

Whether you’re an Open Enrollment pro or enrolling for the first time at a new job, take a few extra minutes to read through the benefits your employer offers.  It’s time well spent on important decisions.  Your future self will thank you!

What to Do After You Say “I Do:” How to Change Your FSA Post-Nuptials

Change in status blog (1)

Love is in the air and wedding season is in full swing.  It’s a time of celebration and happiness for many people – let the good times roll!  But wait – don’t forget the necessary practical changes that need to be made during these happy life events.  Getting married should prompt you to review your benefits and determine any necessary changes you need to make, including a special opportunity to change your FSA election.

Yes, there are some situations that allow you to change your FSA contribution outside of Open Enrollment.

A life event or a change in status – like marriage, birth of a child, or divorce – are all special circumstances when you are permitted to change your FSA election amount, regardless of where you are in your plan year.  Normally, IRS regulations state that FSA participants are unable to change their FSA elections and must wait to make any changes during Open Enrollment – unless you experience a qualifying life event. A change in status includes the following:

  • Change in legal status – i.e. marriage, divorce, legal separation or annulment, death of your spouse
  • Change in the number of your dependents due to events such as birth, adoption, placement for adoption or death
  • A termination or commencement of employment by your spouse or dependent
  • A reduction or increase in the hours that you, your spouse or your dependents work, including a switch between part-time and full-time status and commencement or return from an unpaid leave of absence
  • An event that causes your dependent to satisfy or cease to satisfy the eligibility requirements for a certain benefit
  • A change in the place where you, your spouse or your dependent work or reside (Dependent Care FSA)

(For a full outline of what constitutes a change in status, please refer to your company’s Summary Plan Description (SPD), usually available through your HR department or in your benefits package.)

If you experience a change in status, the changes you make to your FSA must be consistent with the change in status.  For example, if you have a child, you can increase your contribution to your FSA, but you cannot decrease it.  However, the IRS does not allow you to change your election below the amount you’ve already been reimbursed for the plan year.  Let’s say you enroll in the Health FSA for $2,000, and you’ve already spent $1,000 from your account.  Your husband changes jobs and you want to lower your election amount.  You cannot lower your election amount below what you’ve already spent, or in this case, $1,000.

Remember:  when you change your FSA election, it must be consistent with the change in status only if the change in status results in you, your spouse or dependent gaining or losing eligibility for a benefit under your employer’s plan, or under your spouse/dependent’s employer plan.  If you want to make changes to your FSA election, you must notify your employer, who will notify the administrator/company who oversees your FSA plan (like P&A Group). Your employer has 30 days to notify the administrator of your change in status event.

So, when the wedding cake is gone and the dancing has quieted down, take a moment to sit down with your partner and review all of your important benefit decisions together.

P&A Group Releases New Mobile Site Features

New Features on Mobile Site (2)

With much anticipation, the enhancements to P&A Group’s mobile site are now live!  You can check them out by going to www.padmin.com on your mobile phone.  The new upgrade provides greater flexibility and control over managing your account(s).  Users will also experience a smoother navigation with a new easy menu option, as shown below.

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Mobile Site Upgrade – What’s New

Now you can perform the following account management tasks directly from your mobile phone:

  • Order a new or additional Benefits Card, or report a card lost/stolen – view all active Benefits Cards and details.

  • Enroll in direct deposit – you can also update your ACH information. Confirmation e-mails are sent to you automatically when changes are made.

  • View denied claim details in real-time.

  • Cancel your COBRA benefits – select what benefit(s) you want to cancel and the effective date. Confirmation e-mails are sent to you automatically when changes are made.

  • Make a COBRA payment or setup recurring payments – update your billing profile to make a single payment, or setup recurring payments that are automatically deducted from your bank account. You can cancel or change your payment frequency as needed.

To access P&A Group’s mobile site, please visit www.padmin.com on your mobile phone and log into your account.

If you have any questions, contact P&A Group’s customer service team Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 10:00 pm ET at (800) 688-2611 or through online chat.

 

Celebrate National Employee Benefits Day with New Ideas for Open Enrollment

April 2, 2018, marks National Employee Benefits Day, which recognizes all benefit professionals for their commitment to the employee benefits field and the important role they provide int the workplace.

To all benefit professionals, thank you for your dedication to this crucial job! 

At P&A Group, we understand the pressures and challenges employers and brokers face in this frequently changing industry.  We are here to support your efforts in helping your employees understand important benefits through effective, streamlined communication and tiered marketing campaigns.

Prepare for Open Enrollment with P&A Group

P&A Group offers marketing solutions to help communicate important benefit details to your staff.  Whether your Open Enrollment is quickly approaching or it’s months away, we can help you.  Get in touch with our marketing team today to see how we can deliver important Open Enrollment messages to your employees.  Or, shoot us an e-mail at marketing@padmin.com and we’ll reach out to you directly.

 

Open Enrollment Communications

 

Last Minute Ways to Use Your FSA Before the Grace Period Deadline 3/15

March 15 Deadline

If your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan is on a calendar plan year (January 1 – December 31) and your plan offers the grace period, you have until March 15, 2018 to spend any unused money currently available in your 2017 Health FSA.  After March 15, unused money will be forfeited under IRS rules.  (Note:  your plan also has a run-out period, which is when you can submit claims for expenses incurred during the plan year and grace period.)

Don’t panic – whether you have a significant balance remaining or just a few dollars, here are some helpful ideas to exhaust your account quickly!

  • Stock up on eligible healthcare items.
    P&A Group’s vendor partner, FSA Store, offers thousands of pre-approved discounted FSA eligible items that are ready for purchase online.  Earn points on items you purchase and get free shipping on orders $50+.  Sample items:  blood pressure monitors, pain relievers and travel essentials.  Browse eligible expenses.
  • Dental and vision expenses. Did you know that your Health FSA also covers dental and vision costs?  Use your FSA to purchase eligible items like glasses and contact lens solutions.  If you’re able to squeeze in an appointment to see your dentist or optician, use your FSA to pay for the cost of the visit.
  • Over-the-counter prescription medications.  OTC medications, like Tylenol and Benadryl, require a doctor’s prescription in order to be reimbursed from your FSA.  FSA Store has a built-in prescription process in place to make the process easier.  Simply provide your physician’s info and FSA Store handles the rest.  Learn more

To help you determine the right amount to contribute to your FSA annually, check out P&A Group’s interactive calculator.

You’re Invited! Plan Refresh:  The Impacts of Re-enrollment on Plan Fiduciaries & Participants 

business hand typing on a laptop keyboard with Webinar homepage on the computer screen internet website web page concept.Please join us on March 22 for this FREE webinar!


Plan Refresh:  The Impacts of Re-enrollment on Plan Fiduciaries & Participants 

This webinar will cover the following:

  • The challenge that plan sponsors and participants face when it comes to contributing to a plan
  • What is a plan refresh?
  • Mapping versus defaulting methodologies
  • Key considerations
  • Common misperceptions
  • Communicating with participants

Presented by Michael Viljak, Senior Plan Advisor and Jonathan Coombs, Investment Analyst

Date:  March 22, 2018

Time:  1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET

Register below, or contact Richard Swanson, Regional Director of P&A Group Retirement Plan Services, to register @ swansonr@padminx.onmicrosoft.com.


 


Earn SHRM and HRCI CE credits.  This session is pre-approved!

SHRM logo 15-16   HRCI Logo

 

New Inflation-Adjusted Amounts Announced

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The IRS announced new inflation-adjusted amounts under the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017, which modified the contribution amounts to the below plans.  These changes are retroactive to January 1, 2018.

Adoption Assistance Flexible Spending Account

The maximum amount that may be excluded from an employee’s gross income under an employer-provided adoption assistance program for the adoption of a child is now $13,810.  This is a $30 decrease from the previous amount.

Health Savings Account

The annual contribution amount for family coverage has been lowered to $6,850.  Previously, it was $6,900.

For any questions, please contact your P&A Group account representative.

Your Guide to Submitting a Dependent Day Care FSA Claim

DCA Claims

Here is everything you need to know to successfully submit a Dependent Day Care FSA claim for approval.

The following items must be provided with your claim submission:
  1. Completed claim form with employee signature
  2. Invoice/receipt from service provider* (see below)
  3. If an invoice/receipt from your provider is unavailable or does not include all the information below, ask your provider to sign your claim form in the provider signature box. The provider-signed claim form will be accepted in lieu of an invoice/receipt. To access your claim form, log into your P&A Group My Benefits account here and select Claim Form under Quick Links.
*Itemized invoice/receipt from your service provider must include:
  • Service start/end dates
  • Provider name
  • Service description
  • Amount

Choose from one of three ways to submit a claim to P&A Group.

How to Submit a Claim

Option 1: Upload a claim and receipt by logging into your account at www.padmin.com.  Select Upload Claim/Documentation under Member Tools and follow the prompts on your screen.

Option 2: Use P&A Group’s mobile site to upload a claim and receipt through QuikClaim. Go to www.padmin.com on your mobile device.

Option 3: Log into your account at www.padmin.com and complete a claim form (located under Forms).  Once completed, fax or mail it to P&A Group, along with a copy of your invoice/receipt.

Important Reminder: your receipt MUST include the service provider start and end dates.


Sample Eligible Expenses

  • Nursery schools, day care centers
  • Summer day camps
  • Before and after school care
  • Day care centers
  • Senior day care

Sample Ineligible Expenses

  • Overnight camps
  • Nursing homes
  • Late payment fees
  • Expenses incurred for purpose other than allowing you (or your spouse) to work.

How to Get Reimbursed

The fastest and easiest way to receive your money is by signing up for direct deposit!  When you enroll in direct deposit, your funds are automatically deposited into your checking or savings account.  Sign up for direct deposit right online by logging into your P&A Group Account.  Select Direct Deposit under Quick Links.

If you don’t sign up for direct deposit, you will receive a reimbursement check at your home mailing address.


New Year, Healthier You? (Surprisingly eligible FSA items to help with your New Year goals)

Female fitness flat lay, sneakers, dumbbells, notebook planner on blue background, healthy sports lifestyle New Year resolution

With the first month of the new year almost behind us, how are you doing?  Have you stayed on track with your 2018 goals and promises to yourself, or have you veered off path, maybe even refrained altogether from making any #goals?

Whether you’re on the “new year, new you” bandwagon or not, FSA Store offers thousands of discounted products that can help you stay on track for a healthy 2018 – and get the most out of your Health FSA.

Here are five cool FSA eligible gadgets and products.

  1. Qardio Arm wireless blood pressure monitor
  2. acuPressure foot mat
  3. Quell sports electrodes
  4. KT tape recovery and patch
  5. Nice stretch total solution plantar fasciitis relief kit

Browse more items at FSA Store.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln