HSAs and Medicare – Like Oil and Water

Oil bubbles with water

I see more and more employers offering high deductible health plans (HDHPs) every year. This type of plan can be tricky, but it’s increasingly popular in the quest to keep premium spend down as healthcare costs rise. We come across our fair share of questions and issues with HDHPs and health savings accounts (HSAs) at… [Read More]

Emergency Room Claims – Self-Diagnose or Pay the Price?

An emergency department sign.

While most of us know that emergency room (ER) care is more expensive that non-emergent care, you may not have realized just how much more. In some cases, you could be responsible for the entire cost of your hospital ER visit. We’re hearing an increasing number of stories from patients who are being billed for the… [Read More]

Do Your Commuter Benefits Cut the Mustard?

One person completely stationary among the swarm of people buzzing about the train station during rush hour.

I was a little nervous to see what changes would come in the wake of the recent tax law overhaul (a.k.a. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) signed in late December of 2017. It ends up there are some notable changes to the tax treatment of transportation benefits being offered by employers for the year 2018…. [Read More]

Get on Top of Nondiscrimination Testing

Woman hiding behind an object just showing eyes and hands

It’s that time of year… No, not Halloween, but even scarier – nondiscrimination testing time! While there are different schools of thought on when to test your cafeteria plans, the bottom line is the IRS requires that your plans have passed all testing by the last day of the plan year. Many employers wait until final… [Read More]

The Frustration of Out-of-Network Billing

The Frustration of Out-of-Network Billing

Do your employees understand all of the implications of receiving out-of-network treatment? Even when a plan provides out-of-network coverage, your employees may find themselves paying out-of-pocket for a lot more than they anticipated. As supervisor of our Benefits Help Desk service one of the most common inquiries or complaints I hear is from upset employees who’ve… [Read More]

Employer-Based vs. Individual Coverage – What Employees Should Know

Employer-Based vs. Individual Coverage – What Employees Should Know

At the Benefits Help Desk we often hear from employees who are unclear on the difference between their employer-sponsored health plans and the coverage they can purchase outside of work, like those available from the individual marketplace. We all know how difficult healthcare can be to navigate. It’s no surprise that it may not be… [Read More]

Health Savings Accounts – the Tax Advantage Triple Threat

Health Savings Accounts – the Tax Advantage Triple Threat

As Tax Day comes and goes every year, it makes me think of the money I owe Uncle Sam and if I did everything I could to reduce my taxable income, like take advantage of any pre-tax benefit options available to me through my employer-sponsored programs. Did you know that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) can… [Read More]

The Advantages of an HDHP/HSA – Truly Understood or Not?

The Advantages of an HDHPHSA – Truly Understood or Not

In an effort to drive down the cost of health plan offerings, employers are pairing High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) with Health Savings Accounts (HSA). It makes financial sense for employers since premiums are generally much lower than that of an HMO/EPO plan or a POS/PPO plan. This is partly due to the reduced financial… [Read More]

It’s That Time of Year – Use It or Lose It!

It s That Time of Year - Use It or Lose It

5 scary words for FSA participants – “use it or lose it.” Are your employees scrambling for some last-minute ideas on how to spend their FSA money? Fortunately, for plan sponsors who have implemented either the 2½-month grace period or the $500 rollover features, these 5 words are a bit less intimidating than they used to… [Read More]

Open Enrollment Riddles: Decoding the Process for Employees


The Frenkel Help Desk is bracing for the annual flood of calls which comes along each open enrollment season. Healthcare is confusing for many employees, and we expect similar questions each year. Questions are inevitable – and that’s what we’re here for. But it’s up to employers to arm employees up front with clear communications…. [Read More]