TIP OF THE WEEK
Your cable bill, entertainment expenses, grocery extras — these often top the list when people sit down to discuss where they can save money.
One expense you should consider in 2018 is your health care costs. Since autumn marks the beginning of the annual open enrollment period for employees, now is the ideal time to sign up for a new health benefit plan or make adjustments to your current plan.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are two options for people looking to save money pre-tax in the New Year. An FSA, which is provided by your employer, allows you to save funds for eligible healthcare expenses. An HSA — which you can obtain on your own or through your employer — is a tax-advantaged savings account that allows you to set aside money to cover medical expenses throughout your lifetime.
Both accounts have the major advantage that the full amount of your pre-tax dollars may be used toward care that you or your family may need. Employees who enroll in an FSA can contribute a portion of their salary pre-tax to pay for qualified medical care expenses within the plan year, while an HSA provides people with qualifying high-deductible health plans the ability to rollover balances and pay for current and future medical expenses.
Awareness and interest in HSAs has increased this year, with the highest levels of interest stemming from Millennials and Gen Xers, according to the 2017 Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account Consumer Research study commissioned by Visa and conducted by C+R Research. This nationwide online research was conducted in March 2017, with the FSA survey conducted among 1,306 consumers and the HSA survey conducted among 1,090 consumers.
Key features of HSAs that are most appealing to consumers include the ability to roll over unused dollars from year to year, pre-tax contributions, and having money available to pay for healthcare services.
The study indicates that 91 percent of FSA users agree that saving money, since contributions are pre-tax, tops their list of reasons for having an FSA. Sixty-four percent of FSA users believe that FSAs help them be more prepared and plan for healthcare expenses. In fact, 22 percent of their healthcare purchases (most notably routine doctor visits and vision expenses) on average would not be made if they didn’t have an FSA.
According to Forbes, the National Football League’s top 10 highest-paid players are:
1. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($52.5 million)
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panters ($34.7 million)
3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts ($30 million)
4. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($27.2 million)
5. Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers ($26.1 million)
6. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints ($26 million)
7. Josh Norman, Washington Redskins ($25.7 million)
8. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins ($25.4 million)
9. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans ($25 million)
10. Stephen Gilmore, New England Patriots ($23.2 million)
NUMBER TO KNOW
500,000: Fiat Chrysler recently recalled almost 500,000 RAM 2500 and 2550 pickup trucks due to a possible fire risk.
Ride-sharing rickshaw service wins $1M prize
Rutgers University undergraduate business students Fia Farooqi, Hasan Usamni, Moneeb Mian and Hanaa Lakhani were recently a $1 million in funding after beating out 50,000 startup entries to the Hult Prize competition. The four students created a rickshaw transportation network in Pakistan where passengers can take rickshaws on preset routes and passengers pay using pre-loaded cards. Rosin Rides, as the service is known, estimated there are as many last 2 million underutilized rickshaw taxis in Pakistan. The four students plant to use the prize money to grow its fleet to 1,200 rickshaws and create 1,600 local jobs.
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