Tag: HSAs

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate the group’s heritage and culture.

Started as Hispanic Heritage Week by president Lyndon Johnson in 1968, September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.

As a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), one of our core beliefs as a company has always been to celebrate diversity and inclusion. Sterling Administration supports our Spanish-speaking Employer Clients and Members with services including a Spanish language option for our full-service website, online enrollment, educational materials, forms, and customer service.

¿Habla Español?
Nuestro compromiso con los latinos no es simplemente hablarles en español, sino realmente entender y hablar su mismo idioma. Aprende más.

Are you an Industry Partner with clients looking for a solution in Spanish?
Contact us today to learn more.

The Competing Interests to Financial Well Being

by Jim McCabe, Vice President, Sales Strategy

Employee Benefit communication strategy seems to be about options for employees, but competing discretionary income options. These offerings are not necessarily about education or risk profiling of the potential participant. Whether a new colleague at orientation or an existing colleague working through open enrollment, competing interests cause concern and analysis by paralysis. This creates less than optimum participation in employer match programs and those subject to discrimination testing.

A company could be offering a HSA, HRA, 401K, Voluntary Benefits, Stock Purchase Plan, or FSA, with each option providing a separate website for information. Depending upon age and role within the firm, each option in and of itself is appealing, but which one is right for the particular circumstances of each colleague that is investigating those options?

The more discretionary income there is available, the more options that can be enrolled in. However, if you are under 30 years of age, with average educational debt of $23,000, or putting money aside to create a down payment for a primary residence, how is one to know the best way to save for future retirement, retiree medical expenses, current large deductible health plans or protection from life’s adversities or seminal events?

The competition for “Mind Share” is difficult in an age of multiple sources for information. The ability to highlight and educate about Macro and Micro economic issues affecting both investment vehicles and personal risk tolerance is not coordinated in any way, and do not address the issues effecting the potential plan participant.

The future needs to encompass individual risk profiling and subsequent advice that takes into account each individual’s unique characteristics. The day when an employee can access a singular portal with benefit offerings and recommendations based on current Life status and risk profile will be the day that Financial Well Being will be achieved as part of a companies overall communication strategy.

What are your thoughts? I would appreciate any feedback or dialogue on this subject.

What Happens to my HSA When I Die?

It’s a topic many of us don’t like to talk – or even think – about, but if you don’t designate a beneficiary for your HSA (Health Savings Account) the ramifications may not be in line with your wishes.

What happens to your HSA upon your death?

When you open your Sterling account, you will be asked to designate one or more beneficiaries to whom distribution of your HSA will be made upon your death. You may revoke this beneficiary designation at any time and designate different individuals as beneficiaries. Any beneficiary designation you make must be delivered to Sterling prior to your death on a form provided by or acceptable to Sterling. If you do not make a valid beneficiary designation prior to your death, Sterling will distribute the assets in your HSA to your estate. In some states, your spouse’s consent may be necessary if you wish to name a person other than or in addition to your spouse as beneficiary or if you change an existing beneficiary designation. Please consult with your attorney before making your beneficiary designation.

What are the income tax consequences after your death?

If your spouse is the named beneficiary of your HSA, your HSA becomes the HSA of your spouse upon your death, subject to the completion of documents required by Sterling. The surviving spouse is subject to income tax only to the extent distributions from the HSA are not used for qualified medical expenses. If your HSA passes to a person other than your surviving spouse, the HSA ceases to be an HSA as of the date of your death, and the beneficiary is required to include the fair market value of the HSA assets as of the date of your death in his or her gross income. The includable amount is reduced by any payments from the HSA for your qualified medical expenses, if such payments are made within one year after your death.

If you have not made a valid beneficiary designation, your HSA ceases to be an HSA upon your death and the fair market value of the assets in your HSA, as of the date of death, is includable in your gross income for the year of death.

You can learn more here.