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Save the Date: Open Enrollment Nov 1st-14th

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Benefits open enrollment is being conducted electronically again this year.  You will be receiving an e-mail (ooa Oct 31st) detailing our 2015 benefits as well as step-by-step instructions on how to enroll using BannerWeb.  Human Resources will gladly help you through the process; if you have questions please call x2320.

All benefits eligible Faculty and Staff are required to complete Open Enrollment between November 1st & 14th.

Flexible Spending Accounts – it’s not too early to start calculating your 2015 annual election.  Per federal law, this year’s annual limit is $2,500 (plus you may roll up to $500 of unused 2014 Health Care FSA funds into your 2015 account).  If you will have large medical expenses next year (orthodontist work, laser eye surgery, etc.) you should make sure you know how much your out of pocket cost will be for these services before Open Enrollment starts.

For additional information on Flexible Spending Accounts, including a Planning Worksheet visit the Flex Spending webpage.

For Questions and Answers regarding the Health Care FSA rollover click here

IRS Announces 2015 Plan Contribution and Benefit Limits

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

On October 23, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015. See the chart below for further details.

2014

2015

RETIREMENT PLANS
Annual Compensation Limits For Retirement Program Purposes 260,000 265,000
Elective Deferrals 403(b) – (for under age 50) 17,500 18,000
Catch-up Contributions For 403(b) Plan Participants age 50 and over 5,500 6,000
457 (b) Elective Deferrals 17,500 18,000
457(b) Catch Up Contribution (Subject To Age And Other Restrictions) 17,500 18,000
Defined Contribution Limits On Maximum Combined Employee/Employer Contributions To Defined Contributions Plans 52,000 53,000
OTHER
Social Security Taxable Wage Base 117,000 118,500
Medicare Wage Base No Limit No Limit

All figures in US dollars.

Sources: www.tiaa-cref.orgwww.irs.gov

Follow @franklindaniel_ on Twitter for up to date information on retirement benefits.

 

What’s New with Flexible Spending Accounts

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Keeping more in your pocket…..

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are more compelling than ever now that the government has modified its “use-it or lose-it” rule.  You can now rollover up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA funds at the end of the plan year, to be used the following plan year.

Health Care FSAs have always been a great way for you to budget for out-of-pocket health care expenses.  Contributions to the Health Care FSA are deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis – reducing your taxable income and increasing your spendable income by an average of 30% of your annual contribution.  The government has modified its use-it or lose-it rule to allow up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA funds to rollover for use in the following plan year.  Now, you can maximize your tax savings by maximizing your Health Care FSA contributions up to the $2,500 annual limit.

The benefits of the new FSA rule:

  • Rollover up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA funds to the following plan year
  • The rollover amount does not affect the following year’s maximum contribution amount.  You can still contribute up to the maximum allowance of $2,500
  • Maximize your tax savings by increasing your contribution
  • The new rule does not affect the March 15th deadline to submit claims
  • Your entire annual election is still available at the beginning of the plan year

The risk of forfeiting funds has been greatly reduced.  The stress of choosing the “right” election amount has been reduced.  Increasing your contribution amount will automatically increase your tax savings.  Enroll during Open Enrollment (Nov 1st-14th) to enjoy the benefits of the new Health Care FSA rollover provision for 2015.

FSA Rollover Q&A

 

Save the Date: Open Enrollment November 1st-14th

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Benefits open enrollment is being conducted electronically again this year.  You will be receiving an e-mail (ooa Oct 31st) detailing our 2015 benefits as well as step-by-step instructions on how to enroll using BannerWeb.  Human Resources will gladly help you through the process; if you have questions please call x2320.

Flexible Spending Accounts – it’s not too early to start calculating your 2015 annual election.  Per federal law, this year’s annual limit is $2,500 (plus you may roll up to $500 of unused 2014 Health Care FSA funds into your 2015 account).  If you will have large medical expenses next year (orthodontist work, laser eye surgery, etc.) you should make sure you know how much your out of pocket cost will be for these services before Open Enrollment starts.

For additional information on Flexible Spending Accounts, including a Planning Worksheet visit the Flex Spending webpage.

For Questions and Answers regarding the Health Care FSA rollover click here

All benefits eligible Faculty and Staff are required to complete Open Enrollment between November 1st & 14th.

Reminder From HR About CTO Maximums

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The maximum amount of CTO (combined time off) that can be carried into the next fiscal year is capped at 24 days (see table below for maximum hourly equivalents). Any CTO in excess of 24 days will automatically be transferred into your SLR as of June 27, for pay period 13 (6/9/14 – 6/22/14). Please plan accordingly. In order to avoid confusion and ease planning for employees, the CTO max is now applied to the last full pay period in June.

Throughout the year each employee is responsible for managing his/her CTO amounts within the applicable limits. Remember, if you allow your balance to reach maximum during any pay period except the final one of the fiscal year, your excess accrual does not automatically transfer to SLR –instead you will stop accruing and forfeit the un-accrued CTO time. Now is a good time to check your CTO balance in BannerWeb or a recent paycheck stub and plan your CTO use for the next few days and the upcoming fiscal year accordingly.

You may also transfer your own CTO at any time. When you report your time via BannerWeb, enter the number of hours you wish to transfer on the web time sheet in the row titled “Transfer CTO to SLR.”

CTO Maximum Amounts

Date CTO Maximum in Days CTO Max. in hours for employees w/ scheduled 8 hour days CTO Max. in hours for employees w/ scheduled 7.75 hour days
As of the last full pay period of June. 24 192 186
Any other time 36 288 279

 

Important Benefits Information

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

For many years our EFAP benefit has been administered by The Wellness Corporation.  Recently, The Wellness Corporation was purchased by E4 Health, a leading provider, under the brand name Lifescope, of holistic life services and wellness solutions for organizations nationwide. The merger of The Wellness Corporation and E4 Health – two experienced and professional organizations – will mean expanded service offerings for our faculty and staff plus continuation of the high quality services and capabilities that we have been accustomed to through our long-standing relationship with The Wellness Corp.  Please take a moment to review the two brief documents attached, which give an overview of our new Lifescope resources as well as updated phone and web contact information.  Please note  -  if you are currently accessing EFAP counseling or other benefits arranged through The Wellness Corporation you will not need to do anything different to continue to see your current provider; this change will be seamless to you.

http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/business/hr/staffandfaculty/benefits/EFAP

Summary Plan Description (SPD)

SPDs are designed as brief, handy, easily understandable explanations of important benefit plan provisions.  Below please find a link to the 2014 version of the Middlebury College Health & Welfare Benefits Plan SPD which provides current information on our: medical, dental, vision, life, voluntary life, short-term disability, long-term disability, flexible spending accounts, and employee and family assistance program benefits.  All employees are eligible for the employee and family assistance program (EFAP); those employees classified as “benefits-eligible” are eligible for the full range of health and welfare benefit offerings.  You can also find this SPD by visiting the Benefits page on the Human Resources website.  If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the 2014 SPD, please let me know, or stop by the Human Resources Office, and a paper copy will be provided to you.

http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/470998/original/active_spd.pdf

Please do not hesitate to contact the benefits team with questions about the change to our EFAP provider or the 2014 Health & Welfare SPD.

Important Benefits Reminders

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Trouble-free employee benefit plan administration requires a strong partnership between employees and Human Resources.  The Human Resources Dept. works diligently each year-end to accurately process the thousands of required or requested benefit record changes, and then we check and double-check our work.  However, in the end, we also must rely on you, the employee, to do your part in managing your benefits by confirming that you are enrolled in the benefits you intended to elect.  Please carefully review your first paycheck and let us know if you have questions or if anything seems amiss.

Medical/Dental Insurance

  • If you made a change to who is covered under your medical or dental plan, new ID cards were mailed to you in December.  Please confirm that you have received your new ID card(s) if you made a change to who is covered under your medical or dental plan.  If you need additional cards (for example, for a child away at college) call the toll-free customer service number on your ID card (1-888-222-9206). 
  • As was announced in November, the employee portion of the medical & dental premiums did not increase for 2014.  However, any employee who made coverage (single/2 person/family) level changes should see a premium change in the first paycheck of 2014. 

Vision Insurance

  • As a reminder the Vision Plan is with Vision Service Plan (VSP).  No ID card is required (just tell your VSP provider the last 4 digits of your SSN and date of birth). A summary of the Plan and other helpful information is available on-line at http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/business/hr/staffandfaculty/benefits/vision.  Premium changes for Vision Insurance are effective the first paycheck of 2014. 

Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

  • Premiums changes related to a change in coverage amount or age-band changes (5 year increments) should be reflected in the first paycheck in 2014.  If you made changes or you hit a new age band in 2013, please confirm that your premium changed. 
  • Requests for new Life coverage or for increases in Life coverage over the guarantee issue amount are not effective until approved by Mutual of Omaha.  An Evidence of Insurability form must be submitted by you to Mutual of Omaha if you have requested this type of change. Mutual of Omaha will notify you directly of approval or denial.  Any premium changes will be made as of the effective date of the approved coverage. 

Flexible Spending Accounts

  • 2014 elections for the Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts should be reflected in the first paycheck of 2014.  Please review your pay stub and confirm that your contribution is correct (divide your total annual election by 26 to calculate your per pay-period election.) 
  • If you are a new Flexible Spending Account plan participant (you were not enrolled in a FSA last year) then FSA Benefits Cards were mailed to your home address in mid-December.  If you had a FSA last year you will not be issued a new card as they are valid for 3 years.  If your card is due to expire in January 2014, it is good through January 31 & a new card will be issued mid-January.The Benefits Card can be used to access funds in your Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account.  Important information about the FSA Benefits Card is available at http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/business/hr/staffandfaculty/benefits/flex . 

Retirement

  • If you submitted forms prior to the holiday break requesting changes to your Voluntary Retirement Plan or to enroll in the 457b Salary Deferral Supplemental Retirement Plan, your new elections should have been reflected in your first paycheck of 2014.  If you requested changes please confirm that your elections are as expected. 

If you have made a change to who is covered on your medical or dental plan and you have not received your new ID card(s), or if a benefit deduction doesn’t look right to you, or if you have any other questions or concerns about your benefits, please contact Human Resources as soon as possible.  Thanks for doing your part to keep our benefit plans running smoothly!

Your Benefits Team,

~Lisa Hoff, Benefits Specialist (Health/Dental/Vision/Flex Spending) x3372
~Loretta Lee, Benefits Specialist (Retirement Plans & Retiree Medical/Dental) x5468
~Franklin Daniel, Benefits Specialist (Retirement Plans & Retiree Medical/Dental) x5755
~Cheryl Mullins, Benefits & Compensation Manager x5542