Employee Benefits Plan Limits for 2021
Many employee benefits are subject to annual dollar limits that are periodically updated for inflation by the IRS.
The IRS typically announces the dollar limits that will apply for the next calendar year well in advance of the beginning of that year. This gives employers time to update their plan designs and make sure their plan administration will be consistent with the new limits. Although some of the limits will increase for 2021, most of the limits remain the same.
HSA Yearly Limit Changes Set by the IRS: 2021
*Tax exclusion for adoption assistance benefits—$14,440 (up $140)
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Certain limits will not change for 2021, including the flexible spending account salary reduction contribution limit, HDHP minimum deductible, 401(k) contribution limit and transportation fringe benefits monthly limits.
Virtual Workplace Holiday Parties
At the end of the calendar year, workplace holiday celebrations are experiences that many employees look forward to. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are evaluating how to engage employees safely this holiday season. Leaders find themselves tasked with deciding whether they should cancel or postpone celebrations, or offer an amended version that prioritizes safety—with many choosing to offer a virtual holiday party.
Considerations for Employers
Holiday celebrations can positively impact employee engagement, but benefits should be weighed against other factors such as financial costs and concerns over safety. For employers choosing to offer a celebration, an event can be comprised of a variety of activities—with many options that can take place virtually. These include a:
• Secret Santa gift exchange
• Virtual mixer
• Gingerbread house contest
• Ugly sweater contest
• Holiday karaoke
• Online escape room
• Trivia contest
When hosting a holiday event, employers should make sure to follow best practices, such as:
• Keeping attendance optional
• Keeping events general rather than religious celebrations
• Ensuring employees are aware of policies and expected behaviors
There are a variety of ways that leaders can recognize employees this holiday season, and employers should consider which initiatives are appropriate for their workplace.
Final Rule on Health Care Transparency Issued
The Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) issued a final rule that imposes new transparency requirements on group health plans and health insurers in the individual and group markets.
Specifically, the final rule requires plans and issuers to disclose:
- Price and cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries and enrollees upon request
- A list of 500 shoppable services must be available via the internet for plan years beginning or after Jan. 1, 2023
- The remainder of all items and services is required to be available for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2024.
- In-network provider-negotiated rates and historical out-of-network allowed amounts on their website:
- Detailed pricing information must be made public for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2022.
The final rule also allows issuers that share savings with consumers—resulting from consumers shopping for lower-cost, higher-value services—to take credit for those “shared savings” payments in their medical loss ratio calculations.
Conducting an Effective Open Enrollment
Employee benefits programs are a big part of attracting and retaining top talent. You’ve likely worked hard to develop a competitive benefits package, but you may be undermining your hard work by not communicating effectively.
Here are some tips for holding 1-on-1 benefits meetings >>>
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The content herein is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other advice or opinions on any matters. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy.
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