What is an HSA?

What is an HSA?

This 90-second video breaks down how a health savings account (HSA) works and why employees should consider one.

If you have questions about HSA’s or anything relating to employee benefit programs, please contact us using the form below.

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Employee Benefit Plan Limits for 2018

Employee Benefit Plan Limits for 2018

By GBS Team

Group Benefit Strategies Audit and Claim

Many employee benefits are subject to annual dollar limits that are periodically updated for inflation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The following commonly offered employee benefits are subject to inflation-adjusted dollar limits:

  • High deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs);
  • Health flexible spending accounts (FSAs);
  • 401(k) plans; and
  • Transportation fringe benefit plans.

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 that their plan administration will be consistent with the new limits.

This Compliance Overview includes a chart of the inflation-adjusted limits for 2018. Although some of the limits will remain the same, many of the limits will increase for 2018.


  • HSA contribution limits for individuals with self-only or family coverage under an HDHP
  • Employees’ elective deferrals to 401(k) plans, pre-tax and Roth
  • Health FSA limit for employee pre-tax contributions
  • Monthly limits for transportation fringe benefit plans
  • HDHP minimum deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket limits


  • Tax exclusion for dependent care FSA benefits
  • Catch-up contributions to an HSA
  • Catch-up contributions to a 401(k) plan
Limit 2017 2018 Change
HSA Contribution Limit
Self-only $3,400 $3,450 Up $50
Family $6,750 $6,900 Up $150
Catch-up contributions* $1,000 $1,000 No change
HDHP Minimum Deductible
Self-only $1,300 $1,350 Up $50
Family $2,600 $2,700 Up $100
HDHP Out-of-pocket Maximum
Self-only $6,550 $6,650 Up $100
Family $13,100 $13,300 Up $200
Out-of-pocket Maximum on Essential Health Benefits (non-grandfathered plans)
Self-only $7,150 $7,350 Up $200
Family $14,300 $14,700 Up $400
Health FSA
Limit on employees’ pre-tax contributions $2,600 $2,650 Up $50
Dependent Care FSA*
Tax exclusion $5,000 ($2,500 if married and filing taxes separately) $5,000 ($2,500 if married and filing taxes separately) No change
Transportation Fringe Benefits (monthly limits)
Transit pass and vanpooling (combined) $255 $260 Up $5
Parking $255 $260 Up $5
401(k) Contributions
Employee elective deferrals $18,000 $18,500 Up $500
Catch-up contributions $6,000 $6,000 No change

American Collegiate Entrepreneurship Society

Spyridon “Ross” Tsakas, Ph.D. and the American Collegiate Entrepreneurship Society

By GBS Team


Mr. Tsakas

Director of the Worcester State University Center for Entrepreneurship,
Spyridon ‘Ross’ Tsakas, Ph.D. has launched a brand new project focused on
student entrepreneurs.

The American Collegiate Entrepreneurship Societies mission is to become a singular platform for anything a current/prospective student entrepreneur may need to succeed. “My intention is to create a network for student entrepreneurs to connect with each other, experts, entrepreneurial support organizations, and the general entrepreneurial ecosystem both locally and nationally”, said Mr. Tsakas, “Membership is entirely free and I developed this platform simply because I have a passion for enabling student entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.”

ACES will also spotlight student entrepreneurs to help them gain exposure as well as rank top entrepreneurial training programs, entrepreneurial support organizations, colleges/universities, and the best cities for student entrepreneurs. In addition to this, current and prospective student entrepreneurs also gain access to exclusive webinars on topics spanning the gamut of new venture development and MOOCs to teach them vital skills for success.

Mr. Tsakas adds, “Membership is entirely free and I developed this platform simply because I have a passion for enabling student entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. This is a topic that resonates deeply with me as I started my first venture straight after college and struggled to find the right people and resources along the way.”

To learn more about the American Collegiate Entrepreneurship Society , visit their web site at http://www.acesoc.org.


Potential Impact of ACA Repeal on the Uninsured

Potential Impact of ACA Repeal on the Uninsured

By GBS Team

group benefits strategies graham cassidy repeal

There continues to be uncertainty regarding the outcome and impact of legislative efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Proposed changes could have a significant impact on uninsured populations—affecting the proportion of uncompensated care provided by the healthcare organizations that serve them.

A recent study by Truven Health Analytics®, part of the IBM Watson HealthTM
business, demonstrated that projections of both uninsured inpatient care and
uninsured emergency department (ED) visits reveal substantial differences
across service lines and locality.

As healthcare providers begin to anticipate potential legislative changes to
the ACA, it will be important to gain an accurate picture of the impact of those
changes on the uninsured population in their specific markets.

Projected Increase in Uninsured Inpatient Discharges

Inpatient service lines could see the largest changes in facility charges for the uninsured by 2020 following a repeal of the ACA, as compared with current projections for 2020 under the ACA.

General Surgery


General Medicine






Psych/Drug Abuse




All Others






Thoracic Surgery














Open Heart




Oncology Medicine


Total Projected 


Overall Findings

At the national level, our study found that the potential impact in 2020 of an ACA repeal would include:

  • A projected increase of 735,000 uninsured inpatient discharges (approximately 59%) across the U.S.
  • An additional $23.6 billion charges for these uninsured discharges (of these charges, $11.2 billion in payments could be at risk of non-collection)
  • A projected 67% increase in uninsured ED visits


This research was based on the latest Insurance Coverage Estimates (ICE) from Truven Health Analytics, released in June 2017.

The ICE release contained two scenarios: ACA reform and ACA repeal. Reform estimates reflected continued support of Medicaid expansion and health exchanges. The repeal scenario assumed a rollback of insurance coverage to pre-2014 levels.

Overall, the Truven Health model assumed that the uninsured population will increase by approximately 20 million by 2020. This is a more conservative scenario than other published estimates. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, for example, projected a 24 million-person growth of the uninsured population by 2026 based on one recent legislative proposal. These Truven Health forecasts were distinct in that they estimated impact at a local ZIP code level, using publicly available enrollment figures for health insurance exchanges and expanded Medicaid, combined with U.S. Census Bureau figures of households in poverty. Truven Health then paired the population estimates with utilization models specific to each payer segment to produce utilization scenarios for changes in insurance coverage.

Inpatient Demand Estimates from Truven Health provided local, annual acute care admissions and patient days by diagnosis-related group (DRG) and three-digit ICD-9 diagnosis code. The estimates were reported by age, sex, and principal payer. Inpatient Demand Estimates were derived from all-payer state discharge data from 24 states and Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MEDPAR) data. Truven Health Outpatient Procedure Estimates, as accessed through the Truven Health Market Expert® solution, provided local, annual procedure group and visit category estimates and forecasts by age, sex, principal payer, and site of service.

The estimates were derived from Truven Health commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid claims.

GBS Infographic •Common Payment Models

Overview of Common Payment Models

Group Benefits Strategies is here to help! Contact us today at (508) 832-0490 for more information.


  • The carrier assumes the financial risk of providing health insurance, and the employer is charged a flat monthly fee.
  • The employer typically knows the costs ahead of time since it pays a flat fee every month.
  • Fully insured plans are subject to state rules and regulations.
  • With this type of payment model, costs are unlikely to decrease, even with a low previous-year utilization.


  • The employer assumes the financial risk of providing health insurance and pays for medical claims out of pocket.
  • These models can be more easily customized to fit the specific needs of an employer’s workforce.
  • The employer can contract with providers, or a particular provider network, that will best meet the needs of its employees.
  • The employer will typically work with a third-party administrator (TPA), which assumes claims administration duties.
  • Self-insured health plans are not subject to state health laws, but rather federal laws. These plans are not subject to state health insurance premium taxes.


  • Level funding models are sometimes thought of as a hybrid of fully insured and self-insured payment models.
  • In this type of model, the employer pays a set amount each month to a carrier, and the carrier then pays employees’ claims throughout the year.
  • If the employer’s monthly payments exceeded the amount of claims filed, the employer will receive a refund from the excess they paid in monthly claim allotments. If the employer’s monthly payments did not exceed the amount of claims filed, stop-loss insurance will typically cover the overage amount, if allowed by state law.
  • Typically, an employer will be assisted or advised by a TPA on the previous two bullet points.
  • Companies with smaller numbers of employees may benefit differently than those with larger numbers.

New Rules for Disability Benefit Claims May Be Delayed

New Rules for Disability Benefit Claims May Be Delayed

By GBS Team

On Dec. 16, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule to strengthen the claims and appeals
requirements for plans that provide disability benefits and are subject to the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (ERISA). The final rule is currently scheduled to apply to claims that are filed on or after Jan. 1, 2018. However, on Oct. 10, 2017, the DOL proposed to delay the final rule for 90 days—until April 1, 2018.

The DOL will review the final rule to determine whether it is unnecessary, ineffective or imposes costs that exceed its benefits, consistent with President Donald Trump’s executive order on reducing regulatory burdens.