Benefits Fairs and 2019 Open Enrollment Around the Corner

Benefits Fairs and 2019 Open Enrollment Around the Corner

This is your annual opportunity to revisit and refresh your benefits elections.   During this time, you may add or drop coverage for eligible dependents and/or make changes to the following benefits elections:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Life Insurance – supplemental life in increments of $10,000
  • Spending Accounts – including Health Savings Account (HSA) and Dependent Day Care
  • Add voluntary benefits including Cancer, Accident, Critical Illness and Whole Life (Evidence of Insurability required).
  • Increase your 403(b)/Roth ARHS Retirement Savings Plan

Don’t miss the Benefits Fair change in times at Cannon and FCCR.  Mark your calendar today for these important dates and times!

Open Enrollment

10/15/2018 – 11/4/2018

Benefits Fairs (Take advantage of benefit enrollers, on-site at each Fair to help you with benefit enrollment)

WMC – 10/17/2018  – 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Cannon – 10/18/2018 –  11:30 – 2:00 p.m.

FCCR – 10/18/2018 – 5:30 – 7:00

College savings 101: Tips for all ages from Principal

College savings 101: Tips for all ages from Principal

College Savings

A college education can be one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime—whether for your kids, your grandkids, or yourself. But no matter what your age or income, it’s possible to set back savings without breaking the bank.

While your specific savings priorities might vary depending on your timeline, you can establish a solid foundation with a few easy tips.


Get specific

Save for college can feel like a daunting task, so it can help to quantify your goal. For parents, some experts recommend multiplying your child’s age by 2,000 to give you an idea of how much you should have saved. This calculator can help you crunch the numbers.


Think “early and often”

It’s never too early to start saving, and consistency is key. Even a small amount can add up over time if you stick to it. Check out these tips for automating your finances to make it effortless.


Consider purpose-built college savings accounts

Instead of socking away tuition funds in a traditional savings account, consider accounts specifically built for higher education savings, such as 529 plans or Coverdells. Tax-advantaged savings vehicles like Roth IRAs and trusts can also offer benefits for education savings.  Check out our overview of college savings vehicles, then talk to an advisor about what might be the right choice for you.


Bonus tip

Some employers allow you to contribute to certain savings plans through an automatic payroll deduction. Talk to your HR or payroll department to find out whether this benefit is available.


Make an educated gift

Looking to contribute to your grandchildren’s education? This article helps debunk common myths around contributing to college costs for your loved ones, so your gift goes further.


Explore your options

Continuing your education as an adult? You can still minimize your debt. Scholarships, grants, tuition reimbursement programs, and 529 savings plans may go a long way to help you pay. Here are some ideas to help you map out the possibilities.


Make it a family affair

Get your kids involved in saving by helping them divide up their allowance—or their paychecks—into weekly expenses (like lunch money), short-term goals (like that new backpack or bike), and long-term goals (like college). Consider these tips for more ways to help teach savvy savings habits.


Keep your eye on the future.

A college education can mean greater earning potential and more job opportunities for years to come. With every dollar you save, you’re investing in the possibility of a brighter future—way beyond the diploma.

What’s new for 2018 employee benefits

What’s new for 2018 employee benefits

IMPORTANT: Benefit-eligible employees must take action. Failure to make an election in Lawson during open enrollment will result in auto-enrollment into the Consumer Driven Health Plan.

Following the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act, each employee must make a health insurance election or waive coverage. If you do not wish to be covered by a health plan, YOU MUST go to Lawson Employee Self Service and select the Waive” Option.

Important: All employees should update addresses before benefits enrollment
HR needs correct addresses on file for your W-2, 1095-C, Principal Retirement, and all other benefits. If you have had an address change within the last year and have not updated your address with HR, please complete the Employee Information Form and return it to HR.

Download the Employee Information Form ▶︎

Automatic submit does not work, download and fill the form, then email or send by inter-office. 

One Single Health Plan.

Over 70% of you have already chosen the CDHP health option. Therefore, effective January 1, ARHS will offer the Consumer Driven Health Plan as the only health plan for full-time employees. Deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance will remain the same on the CDHP for 2018.

New Telemedicine Benefit.

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new convenience service to our health plan. Effective January 1st, employees and family members covered under the ARHS Health Plan can now utilize a telemedicine service for a flat fee through RelyMD. Some benefits of this telemedicine service:

  • Avoid costly visits to the Emergency Room for non-emergent care.
  • Access board certified physicians to address unanticipated care needs that occur after hours.
  • Connect to a M.D. through your smart phone, mobile devices, computers or telephone when it is convenient for you, and without leaving the comfort of your home.
  • Pay $50 per consult with your Health Savings Account benefit credit/debit card.
  • If follow-up care is needed, RelyMD will fax your consult information to your primary care provider or a specialist in our area that can care for you.

Benefit Fair Dates:

  • Watauga Medical Center: Wednesday, October 18, 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Cannon Memorial Hospital: Thursday, October 19, 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Foley Center: Friday, October 20, 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Save Your Money- Stay “Home” for Care!

Compare health prices and save time and money when you don’t travel off the mountain for care. You will pay less for care when you stay within the ARHS network of physicians and hospitals. You save two ways: 1) ARHS Health Plan members receive a 10% employee discount on out-of-pocket expenses; 2) Once your deductible has been met, your health plan pays 90% of the cost of care for inpatient, outpatient & diagnostic services at an ARHS facility and you pay the remaining 10%. We want you to stay home for quality healthcare!

Premium Increase.

ARHS experienced more than a $700,000 increase in health care costs during the last year, and we are anticipating further increases in 2018. While ARHS absorbed the majority of that increase, most employees will experience a premium increase in January, 2018. If you are currently on the Traditional Plan your premium will go down when you transfer to the CDHP. View all 2018 health insurance premiums. 

Health Savings Accounts (HSA).

Employees with a CDHP are eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA) and employer contributions for 2018 will remain the same (see below). Because of our health plan change to full CDHP, we will no longer be offering Medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA) as part of our benefit plan. All employees not enrolled in Medicare should take advantage of tax-free savings into the HSA. Money you save in the HSA rolls over from year-to-year and can be used for out-of-pocket expenses before you meet your deductible such as prescription drugs, telemedicine consults, doctor’s visits, vision and dental expenses. View all HSA contribution information. 

New Retirement Features.

ARHS will be adding some additional payment options for your to consider when you retire. Currently, you can take a lump sum distribution from Principal when you decide to retire. ARHS is adding other payment options to allow you to consider installment payments over several years, or an annuity that pays a set amount each month for the remainder of your life.

In addition, ARHS is adding a Roth IRA to your investment options later in 2017. A Roth IRA is an investment option that allows you to set aside AFTER-TAX income for retirement savings (you cannot deduct your contributions on your income taxes). All future withdrawals from the Roth IRA will be tax-free.

Why would you invest in a Roth? If you expect your tax bracket to be less now than later in life, Roth IRA allows you to avoid higher income taxes by setting aside savings now.