Monthly Archives: March 2018

There is still a penalty for not having insurance…

Just a reminder that, while recent legislation did eliminate the penalty, it does not take affect until 2019.

Employer penalties in 2018 are at elast $2320 after the first tirty employees.

The individual Penalty is

  • $695 for each adult and $347.50 for each child, up to $2,085 per family, or
  • 2.5% of family income above the federal tax filing threshold, which the Kaiser Foundation calculator estimates is $10,650 for an average single filer

or $21,300 for the average family who file jointly in 2018

Why LI Hospital Mergers make it harder…

A recent article in Newsday points out that there is only 1 independent hospital left on the island – Brookhaven Medical Center, now know as the Long Island Medical Center.

“Hospitals are combining nationwide. There were 78 hospital deals in the United States in 2017, in which 216 hospitals, with a total of 27,386 beds, were acquired, said Lisa Phillips, editor of HealthCareMandA.com, a publication that tracks health care mergers for health care consultant Irving Levin Associates in Norwalk, Connecticut…   In the New York metropolitan area, New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, the most aggressive acquirer on Long Island, has expanded its network into Brooklyn, Westchester County and eastern Long Island by taking over hospitals. It has added four hospitals in the past 3 1⁄2 years.”

This has made it hard on patients – especially those on ObamaCare individual policies – to find insurance that covers their doctors.  Northwell does not have a relationship with Oscar Health Plans, the most affordable of the options.  Some hospitals simply refuse to accept the reimbursement rates of the individual plans as well.   NYU Hospitals don’t have relationships with Healthfirst either.  If you live in Nassau County, you are more or less forced into expensive options – Empire and Emblem.

I believe it likely that we will see some changes to this during the year, but only time will tell.  And any midyear changes don’t help you this year, since you cannot change until January 1…

Oxford Health Plans’ Cancer Support Program

Remind Oxford members to call the Cancer Support Program;
We’re here for them.

Dealing with a diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming. It’s common to be faced with more questions than answers, and uncertainty about where to turn for help.

That’s why we offer the Cancer Support Program, a single source for Oxford members with cancer and their caregivers (physicians, family members, hospice, etc.) to get cancer information, support and guidance in navigating the health care system.

The attached flier offers more details about the Cancer Support Program. Please provide it to your Oxford clients so they can share it with their employees as a reminder of the program.

Members can opt-in.
The Cancer Support Program is available at no additional charge as part of Oxford members’ medical benefit plans. Participation is optional.

We may also identify members for the program through our internal processes and programs, such as provider notifications, and pharmacy and medical claims analysis, as well as through our nurse line (Oxford On-Call®) and Customer Service interactions. A member can also be referred to the program by his or her provider.

Compassionate care from an experienced team. 
Program nurses specializing in oncology serve as one contact for members in the program, helping them make more informed decisions about their cancer care. They can also offer information about oncology centers of excellence and specialists within the plan network. And our nurses are supported by an entire team of cancer specialists.

Through comprehensive case management services, members can receive one-on-one help with a range of cancer-related issues, while employers may save on cancer-related medical costs. Additional support from social workers offers members and their loved ones help with family, work, financial and other needs.

An integrative approach to close gaps in care. 
Members engaged in the program can get support from their experienced cancer nurse through education and proactive, targeted interventions addressing symptoms and side effects. Our dedicated nurses work to help members remain productive while focusing on getting and staying healthy.

More information.
For more information about the Cancer Support Program, please contact your Oxford representative.

Are Your Beneficiary Designations Up to Date?


Who should inherit your IRA or 401(k)? See that they do

Provided by Reeve Conover

 

Here’s a simple financial question: who is the beneficiary of your IRA? How about your 401(k) or annuity? You may be saying, “I’m not sure.” It is smart to periodically review your beneficiary designations.

Your choices may need to change with the times. When did you open your first IRA? When did you buy your life insurance policy? Was it back in the Nineties? Are you still living in the same home and working at the same job as you did back then? Have your priorities changed?

While your beneficiary choices may seem obvious and rock-solid when you initially make them, time has a way of altering things. In a stretch of five or ten years, some major changes can occur in your life and may warrant changes in your beneficiary decisions.

In fact, you might want to review them annually. Here’s why: companies frequently change custodians when it comes to retirement plans and insurance policies. When a new custodian comes on board, a beneficiary designation can get lost in the paper shuffle. (It has happened.) If you don’t have a designated beneficiary on your retirement accounts, those assets may go to the “default” beneficiaries when you pass away, which might throw a wrench into your estate planning. An example: under ERISA, your spouse receives your 401(k) assets if you pass away. Your spouse must waive that privilege in writing for those assets to go to your children instead.1

How your choices affect your loved ones. The beneficiary of your IRA, annuity, 401(k), or life insurance policy may be your spouse, your child, maybe another loved one, or maybe even an institution. Naming a beneficiary helps to keep these assets out of probate when you pass away.

Many people do not realize that beneficiary designations take priority over bequests made in a will or living trust. For example, if you long ago named a son or daughter who is now estranged from you as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, he or she will receive the death benefit when you die, regardless of what your will states.2

You may have even chosen the “smartest financial mind” in your family as your beneficiary, thinking that he or she has the knowledge to carry out your financial wishes in the event of your death. But what if this person passes away before you do? What if you change your mind about the way you want your assets distributed and are unable to communicate your intentions in time? And what if he or she inherits tax problems as a result of receiving your assets?

How your choices affect your estate. If you are naming your spouse as your beneficiary, the tax consequences are less thorny. Assets you inherit from your spouse aren’t subject to estate tax, as long as you are a U.S. citizen.3

When the beneficiary isn’t your spouse, things get a little more complicated – for your estate and for your beneficiary’s estate. If you name, for example, your son or your sister as the beneficiary of your retirement plan assets, the amount of those assets will be included in the value of your taxable estate. (This might mean a higher estate tax bill for your heirs.) And the problem will persist: when your non-spouse beneficiary inherits those retirement plan assets, those assets become part of their taxable estate, and their heirs might face higher estate taxes. Your non-spouse heir might also have to take required income distributions from that retirement plan someday and pay the required taxes on that income.4

If you properly designate a charity or other 501(c)(3) non-profit organization as a beneficiary of your retirement account assets, the assets can pass to the charity without your estate being taxed, and the gift will be deductible for estate tax purposes.5

 

Reeve Conover may be reached at 843-800-8190 or reeve@reevewillknow.com

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

«RepresentativeDisclosure»

 

Citations.

1 – forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2018/01/08/five-retirement-housekeeping-moves-for-the-new-year/ [1/8/18]

2 – thebalance.com/why-beneficiary-designations-override-your-will-2388824 [8/28/17]

3 – nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-when-you-re-married-noncitizen.html [2/4/18]

4 – corporate.findlaw.com/law-library/who-should-be-the-beneficiary-of-your-qualified-retirement-plan.html [2/4/18]

5 – ameriprise.com/research-market-insights/financial-articles/insurance-estate-planning/charitable-giving/ [2/4/18]

 

 

 

2018 Retirement Account Limits

 

How much can you contribute this year?

 Provided by Reeve Conover

 

In 2018, you have another chance to max out your retirement accounts. Here is a rundown of yearly contribution limits for the popular retirement savings vehicles.

IRAs. The 2018 limits are the same as in 2016: $5,500 for IRA owners who will be 49 and younger this year and $6,500 for IRA owners who will be 50 or older this year. These limits apply to both Roth and traditional IRAs.1

What if you own multiple IRAs? This $5,500/$6,500 limit applies to your total IRA contributions for a calendar year. So, for example, should you happen to have five IRAs, you could make an equal contribution of $1,100 (or $1,300) to each of them in 2017 or unequal contributions to them not exceeding the applicable $5,500/$6,500 limit.2

Keep in mind that you can fund your 2017 IRA(s) until April 17, 2018 (the 2017 federal income tax deadline). It is best to fund your IRA for a particular year right as that year starts, but if you procrastinated for any reason in 2017, you still have time.2

High earners may find their ability to make a full Roth IRA contribution restricted. This applies to a single filer or head of household whose adjusted gross income falls within the $120,000-135,000 range and to married couples whose AGIs land between $189,000-199,000. If your AGI exceeds the high ends of those phase-out ranges, you may not make a 2018 Roth IRA contribution. (For tax year 2017, the respective phase-out ranges are $118,000-133,000 and $186,000-196,000.)2,3

401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457s. Each of these employee retirement plans have 2018 contribution limits of $18,500. The 2018 contribution limit is $24,500, however, if you will be 50 or older this year – that means you are eligible to make a “catch-up” contribution of up to $6,000 above the usual limit.1,3

Both 403(b) and 457(b) plans offer savers special catch-up contribution opportunities. If you participate in a 403(b) plan, you can also opt to take advantage of its 15-year rule: if you have 15 or more years of tenure and your average yearly contribution to the plan has been $5,000 or less, you can direct an extra $3,000 per year into the plan. If you are enrolled in a 457(b) plan sponsored by a state or local government agency, you can contribute up to double the standard annual limit each year if you are within three years of normal retirement age (as the plan defines). In 2017, that meant that you could put up to $36,000 into your 457(b) plan in that circumstance; in 2018, the limit becomes $37,000. You can make this “double contribution” and the standard catch-up contribution of up to $6,000 if you are 50 or older in 2018.4

SIMPLE IRAs and SEP-IRAs. In 2018, the contribution limit for a SIMPLE IRA is $12,500; those who will be 50 or older this year may contribute up to $15,500. Business owners need to match these annual employee contributions to at least some degree. Self-employed individuals can contribute as an employee and employer to a SIMPLE IRA.5

Business owners and the self-employed can also contribute to SEP-IRAs. All contributions to these accounts have to come from the business, and all contributions are tax deductible. The annual contribution limit on a SEP-IRA is very high – in 2018, it is either $55,000 or 25% of the business owner’s net self-employment income, whichever is lower.5

Reeve Conover may be reached at 843-800-8190 or reeve@reevewillknow.com.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

«RepresentativeDisclosure»

 

Citations.

1 – cbsnews.com/news/irs-allows-higher-retirement-savings-account-limits-in-2018/ [10/24/17]

2 – fool.com/retirement/2017/10/22/heres-the-2018-ira-contribution-limit.aspx [10/22/17]

3 – tinyurl.com/ybbqgf26 [10/20/17]

4 – investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/111615/457-plans-and-403b-plans-comparison.asp px [12/18/17]

5 – tickertape.tdameritrade.com/retirement/2017/11/retirement-plans-small-entrepreneur-13586 [11/22/17]

 

 

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Reeve Conover is a Registered Representative. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/dealer member FINRA/SPIC. Cambridge and Conover Consulting are not affiliated. Licensed in SC, NC, NY, CT, NJ, and CA.
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