Tips for Managing FMLA Leave

FMLA Leave

Do you have questions about the steps you can take to more effectively manage FMLA? Check out these tips from our partners at SunLife Financial!



If you have any questions about FMLA leave, and want to discuss it more with one of our experts, please give us a call at 612-492-9320, or send us an email at

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Making the most of your HSA and HDHP

For those of you who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP), you may be wondering how to best take advantage of your plan. With lower monthly premiums but a higher annual deductible, an HDHP takes a bit of management to really maximize its benefits. HDHP’s are one of the main ways in which insurance carriers attempt to keep monthly premiums low. But that’s just one of the benefits that comes from having an HDHP and an HSA.

What is an HSA?

An HSA, or Health Savings Account, is a special bank account you use to pay for medical expenses. Only those enrolled in an HDHP are eligible to establish and fund an HSA. Designed to work together with an HDHP, an HSA helps keep premium costs low. An HSA is a bank account that an individual is allowed to make contributions to throughout the year. There are different limits depending on whether the owner of the HSA has an individual or family policy. Those with individual coverage can contribute $3,450 during 2018. Those with family coverage can contribute $6,850 during 2018. You can then use these contributions to pay for qualified medical expenses.

The logic behind the HSA is that, when used with a HDHP, it can help prevent major out of pocket expenses. The HSA is used to cover routine, smaller medical expenses, while the HDHP offers protection in the event of a major health crisis or emergency.

One of the major benefits of an HSA is that any contributions made rollover to the next year. The funds are non-forfeitable, meaning they are yours until you use them up. It is therefore possible to build up a sizable savings that are available to help you cover medical expenses. The HSA is also portable. Even if you change jobs, or change plans, your HSA funds are still available to you. If you move from an HDHP to a non-HDHP, you cannot continue to make contributions to your HSA, but you can still use it to pay for qualified medical expenses.

What are the benefits of an HSA?

There are several advantages to making contributions to your HSA. One of the most important of these is that HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts. This means that every dollar you contribute to your HSA reduces your overall tax burden. Second, you can change the contributions you make to your HSA at any time. If you know you have a major expense coming up, you can make a one time contribution (as long as you don’t go over the limit!), and then use that to reimburse yourself. Further, withdrawals from your HSA are also tax-free, provided they are used for a qualified medical expense. Thus, for tax purposes, it is important to save the receipts of purchases made using your HSA.

An HSA is also a tool to fund your retirement. Individuals over the age of 55 are able to make extra contributions to their HSA. After the age of 65, all withdrawals made from an HSA are tax-free. In these cases, a long standing and well funded HSA can be another resource for retirees over the age of 65, as it can be used for both medical and other expenses.

In addition to making contributions to grow your HSA, they also gain interest like any savings account. This interest is also tax free. Some HSA’s also have investment options, depending on the provider.

Is an HSA right for you?

HSA’s and HDHP’s aren’t for everyone. It is important for an individual to evaluate their current health situation. Younger, generally healthier people who only use the doctor for routine physicals and other health maintenance may be drawn to the HDHP and HSA because of the low monthly premium and tax advantages. Every individual situation is different, however, and should be reviewed with a doctor and your benefits advisor. If you have questions about an HSA, HDHP, or any other benefits questions, please feel free to contact us. We can be reached at 612-492-9320, or by email at


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New Medicare Cards Coming Soon


In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization Act. One of the main goals of the legislation was to protect medical identity. There are several ways in which the legislation addresses this goal. First of all, each Medicare and Medicaid member will receive a new identification number. This number will replace the social security number as a method of identification. The name for this ID is the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). In addition, the government will issue new Medicare cards. These new cards remove the social security number and replace it with the MBI. As a result, it should be more difficult to obtain health information from a lost or stolen Medicare card. The government began mailing the new cards in April of 2018.

Transition Period

There will be a transition period from April 2018 to the end of December 2019. During that time, either the old or the new cards are acceptable to use when submitting claims. Starting on January 1st, 2020, however, all claims need to be submitted using the new cards. It is therefore very important to make sure you receive your new card by then. Please note that while not necessary, you can start using your new card right away.

In conclusion, there are no current action items you need to take. If you are receiving Medicare, watch for the new cards in the mail. It could take some time for them to arrive. If you have questions, please contact Linda Presler. She can be reached by phone at 612-492-9389, or by email at

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New HSA Contribution Limits for 2018


On March 5th, the IRS released new HSA contribution limits, among other tax related items. The most important thing to note is that these changes will only affect those who have family coverage under a high deductible health plan (HDHP). The new regulations do not affect those who have individual coverage. For 2018, the IRS has lowered the contribution limit for families. The new limit is $6,850. This is a $50 decrease from the previous limit.

Action Items

First of all, it is important that employers inform their employees of the change. If you have a high deductible health plan, we can help you with that communication. Because of these changes, employees may have to change their contributions. In addition, those employees who have already maxed out their family contribution will need to contact their HSA provider. Since the limits have changed, employees may receive a tax penalty if they have over contributed. By contacting their HSA provider and requesting an excess contribution form, they can get a refund of the excess. In this way, they can avoid the tax penalty. Finally, this is a good time to review your employee’s HSA contributions. Make sure they know about the limits, as well as what they can use their funds for. We are happy to help with any educational materials you might need.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at or by phone at 612-492-9320.

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