HSA Headlines - 8/24/18 - Rising costs … and a possible debt solution?

As working professionals nationwide dive into their benefits packages this fall, we're keeping our eyes on developments in Washington and elsewhere that could have a tangible effect on your healthcare spending in the coming year!

This week, we're tackling the ever-soaring cost of healthcare in the U.S., as well as a new IRS-sponsored regulation utilizing 401(k) plans that could help reduce the over $1 trillion in student loan debt owed nationwide. Let's dive in and see what's happening in the world of employee benefits.

Cost of Employer Health Coverage to Rise 5% in 2019 - Kimberly Lankford, Kiplinger

For the sixth year running, the overall cost of medical and drug benefits sponsored by employers is expected to rise by 5%, according to the annual healthcare survey from the National Business Group on Health. While employers cover about 70% of the total cost of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, the total cost per employee (and their dependents) is $14,800 per year.

With the cost of healthcare rising every year, it's no wonder that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) with HSA options have become more popular. In the same survey, 53% of employers reported that HDHPs had the highest enrollment numbers of all health plans offered, and more consumers are discovering that by rolling over their HSA funds each year, they'll have more flexibility to compensate for changes down the line.

IRS Clears the Way for Student Loan Benefit Tied to 401(k) - Kathryn Mayer, Employee Benefit News.

We know that student loan debt is still one of the biggest financial issues in America. While some employers have built their own supplemental student loan assistance programs, an IRS-approved plan may be in the works that could totally revamp our thinking around 401(k)s and retirement plans.

In a private letter ruling, the IRS approved an employer's plan to tie 401(k) contributions to student loan repayment contributions, maybe signaling the start of a larger benefits trend. According to the letter, the employer would make a contribution to their 401(k) if workers pay at least 2% of their salaries toward student loan payments.

If this trend catches on, it could be one of the most important new developments for 401(k)s in recent decades, offering additional benefits flexibility for working professionals.

HSA Headlines is a weekly roundup of the latest, most relevant news and conversations about your health savings. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the HSA Learning Center. And for more about your physical and financial well-being, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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