Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summary Plan Description (SPD) requirements

On November 21, 2000, The Department of Labor (DOL) published regulations on the information that must be included in Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) for both pension and welfare benefit plans. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there SPF requirements are receiving new attention.

Employers who offer any type of benefit plan, including life insurance, medical, dental, vision, disability, wellness and employee assistance plans are required to provide and maintain a wrap SPD and distribute it to all eligible employees. This requirement applies to all employers or organizations no matter what size, except for government agencies and churches. There are serious penalties if employers do not comply with this regulation.

We have a solution to help satisfy this requirement for any organization that offers any of these benefits. Please contact me at 614-889-0934 so I can give you more information about how to get this documentation in place.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Planning for Retirement and Future Medical Expenses

We plan carefully to ensure that we have a good retirement income, but does that include money set aside to meet increasing medical expenses?

Recent medical advances that improve our lives have now changed the way we all need to plan for retirement. Many diseases like heart attacks, cancer and diabetes have now become chronic illnesses instead of being sure paths to early death.

According to a recent article in “USA Today,” as the population ages, there is a resulting increase in the number of doctor and hospital visits. This is creating a need to plan for more medical expenses in retirement, including more prescription costs.

There are a number of options to set aside money for medical expenses − one of which is a Health Savings Account (HSA). These are savings accounts that accompany a high-deductible health plan and they allow individuals to set aside money for medical expenses that high-deductible health insurance does not cover.

Contributions to an HSA are defined by the IRS and are tax-deductible up to the annual federal limits. In 2008, the limits are $2,900 for an individual and $5,800 for a family. For individuals over the age of 55, “catch-up” contributions of $900 can also be added. These limits increase in 2009 to $3,000 individual, $5,950 family and catch-up contributions of $1,000. In addition to the tax advantages for saving money, withdrawals are not taxed as long as the money spent from the account is for legitimate medical purposes.

Make sure your financial planning covers future medical expenses. Talk with an advisor who understands Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage plans and HSAs. The planning you do now will ensure your medical expenses will be covered.

This article was published on October 5, 2008 in the Columbus Dispatch Supplement.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Planning for Living a Long Life

Living a long life could well be in your future and planning for it is a necessity. Have you thought about the consequences to loved ones if you should become frail or have a cognitive impairment and need care over a period of years?

Having a plan is important to:
1) Maintain your independence for as long as possible without compromising the emotional and physical well being of those you love.

2) Preserve your retirement portfolio so it can be used for income.

3) Ensure that your family knows your wishes and is prepared to support you.
You depend on income during retirement years to provide financial stability and support your lifestyle. When you need care and your portfolio is reallocated to pay for it, it impacts your financial commitments, the financial viability of your spouse, and your children who depend on your legacy. If you ever do need care, your
family’s life is dramatically changed without a plan.

Key components of a plan include:
1) Legal Review – Work with your attorney to review and update wills, living wills, trusts, durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney and other legal documents. Even if you already have these documents, it is important to review them on a regular basis.

2) Preparing Your Home – Make sure your home is handicap friendly/accessible. This includes bright lighting, a shower chair, 36” doorways, bars in tubs and showers, first floor laundry and bath, a security system and other accommodations to help you stay in your home safely.

3) Communicating Your Plan – Communicate with loved ones about the location of important documents and accounts, any health concerns you have and what your plan is for care. Have extra keys made for someone you trust.

4) Documenting Financial Information – Organize financial information by making a list of accounts and important advisors. Share this information with a spouse and other family members.

5) Reviewing Insurance and Investments – Make appointments with your trusted advisors to review your insurance and investments. Identify the person who will monitor them if you can’t.

6) Protecting Your Retirement Income – Protect your retirement income from being reallocated to pay for care by determining if long term care coverage works for you. People purchase long term care insurance, not because they expect to need care, but to mitigate the consequences if they do.

Protect your family and yourself by planning for living a long life. It is a necessity, not a choice. For help with your long life plan, contact Lucy Grosz at 614-889-0934 or