Author Archives: Reeve Conover

Tax Credit for employees on FMLA

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recently issued the 2018 Form 8994 for eligible employers to complete to receive the Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave (“Employer Credit”). The Employer Credit was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Employer Credit enables eligible employers to claim a general business credit for employees on paid family and medical leave. The Employer Credit is available for years beginning after 2017 and before 2020, and ranges from 12.5% to 25% of wages paid to a qualifying employee while the employee is on family and medical leave. Employers that qualify may claim or elect not to claim the Employer Credit any time within three (3) years from the due date of their return on either an original return or an amended return.

For the complete article and more information, click here or call our office.

Choosing Funds in your 401(k) Plan

A recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision puts a special light on the fiduciary standards for selecting, monitoring and changing the investments in your 401k plan.   It also supports our ongoing approach to this for our clients.  For the full article, click here.

“Moreover, any fiduciary of a plan such as the Plan, in this case, can easily insulate itself by selecting well-established, low-fee and diversified market index funds. And any fiduciary that decides it can find funds that beat the market will be immune to liability unless a district court finds it imprudent in its method of selecting such funds, and finds that a loss occurred as a result. In short, these acts are not matters concerning which ERISA fiduciaries should cry ‘wolf.’”

Average US Life Insurance Policyholder 74% Under-Insured

A new study by Atidot found that “Policyholders are generally unaware that they are underinsured.”  In fact, according to LIMRA, 46% of americans have no life insurance at all – even through work.  And while a third believe they need more, the data says its three quarters that need more!  This has an enormous impact on families if the primary wage earner dies…

Give us a call if you think this might apply to you…

Waiting 19.8 weeks to see a specialist…

In light of the recent push for socialized medicine, or “Medicare for All”, A recent article (click here) looked at Canada’s socialized medicine program with the following findings:

  1. Long waits plague patients in other countries with government-run health care. Take Canada, which outlaws private health insurance for anything considered medically necessary, just as “Medicare for all” would. The median wait for treatment from a specialist following referral by a general practitioner is 19.8 weeks, according to the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank. In 1993, the median wait was less than half as much – 9.3 weeks.
  2. Waits are far longer for some specialties. For orthopedic surgery, the median wait for specialist treatment is 39 weeks.
  3. On the other side of the Atlantic, the United Kingdom’s government-run, 70-year old National Health Service, is proving similarly incapable of providing quality care. The system is currently short 100,000 health professionals – doctors, nurses and other workers. It’s no wonder 14 percent of procedures were canceled, right before they were scheduled to occur, during a one-week period in the last week of March 2018. The NHS sees this as an anomaly and an NHS spokesman said, “Actually, only a tiny minority of operations — just 1 in 100 — is canceled on the day.” But still, last July, 4.3 million patients were waiting for an operation – the highest figure in a decade. During the winter, the system goes into crisis mode. Between December 2017 and February 2018, more than 163,000 patients waited in corridors and ambulances for more than 30 minutes before being admitted to the emergency room. To deal with the crunch, officials ordered hospitals to cancel 50,000 operations.

So what about claims that it would cost less?  It sounds too good to be true because it clearly is.  The proposed system in one NY bill presented would cover everyone, with no copays or deductibles and no premiums;  it would be financed by much higher payroll taxes on Employers and Employees alike.  How high is a good question, but when you have eliminated any cost sharing by those covered, all cost containments being eliminated, and the massive disruption to the health care industry you can expect them to be in the range of the proposal by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez- 70% marginal tax rates.   In fact, every financial evaluation I have seen shows it would not lower cost, but raise them dramatically for all users.

Microsoft and Walgreens join forces to take on Amazon in health care

Paul R. La Monica / CNN Business:   Microsoft and Amazon, the two most valuable companies in the world, are already competing for supremacy in cloud computing. Now Microsoft has its sights set on battling Amazon in the lucrative health care market as well. Microsoft (MSFT) announced a partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Tuesday. As part of the deal, Microsoft will become Walgreen’s new cloud provider. The two said they will also work on solutions to lower health care costs. Walgreens will open up 12 “digital health corners” in stores that will sell health care-related gadgets. The two companies said the partnership will help Walgreens gain personalized data about their customers’ health, which will allow pharmacists to give better, customized nutrition and wellness solutions. The Microsoft-Walgreens joint venture appears to be a clear move by the two companies to try and counter Amazon’s (AMZN) growing clout in health care.

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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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