FSA Friday - 12/7/18 - Change is on the horizon for benefits in 2019

If you go back into the FSA Friday archives, there's one word that seems to appear in headlines more than most -- change. And why wouldn't it? After all, tax-free healthcare accounts changed consumer health. Plus, FSAs certainly change the way people approach their budgeting and planning.

And on a larger scale, the employee benefit landscape always seems to be looking forward, hoping for challenges to become accomplishments, and positive trends to become realities. This week's headlines cover some more trends and predictions for the coming year.

Part-timers are gaining ground in employee benefits - Valerie Bolden-Barrett, HRDive

According to the article, employers are shifting toward extending benefits to part-time workers. The Flexible Work Arrangements: 2017 Survey Report found that 78% of organizations employ part-time workers, and 90% of those organizations define part-time work as fewer than 30 hours a week.

Of the benefits discussed, the most favorable were (unsurprisingly) healthcare coverage (54%), prescription drug coverage (53%), dental and vision care (52%), flexible spending accounts (47%) and health savings accounts (33%).

Plus, paid leave benefits offered to part-time employees included holidays, bereavement leave, sick pay, short-term disability, maternity leave, parental/family leave and personal leave.

This is a growing trend in this burgeoning "gig economy" -- and we don't see that changing anytime soon.

Top 10 HR challenges of 2019 - Nick Otto, Employee Benefit News

This time of year always brings out the "prediction" and "reflection" articles -- culling wisdom from the year that was, and applying it to the year to come. These pieces might be speculation, but they offer some good insights into the state of different industries. Especially when it comes to attracting and retaining quality workers.

According to this article, this challenge is going to persist into 2019, and will continue to be difficult to administer as employers enforce compliance with laws like the ACA, ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA and GINA. As benefit managers reevaluate benefit strategies, the report also suggests benefits be tailored according to the needs and interest of multiple generations.

Staying on top of the news cycle is a great first step, but you should also be mindful of what to look for. News alerts are a great way to start, and EBN predicts action on joint employment, overtime exemptions, GINA and wellness benefits and of course, further action on the Affordable Care Act. Or you can just follow this column, we'll have you covered.

FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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