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Employee Benefits Plan:

While the type and range of employee benefits vary by company, even the smallest organizations may offer plans that can mean significant tax breaks and savings for workers. Familiarizing yourself with programs and taking full advantage of available options can help you lay the groundwork for a solid financial future. Some major categories of benefits are described below.

Health Plans:
Foremost among benefits is group medical insurance, through which employers offer a range of health insurance options for employees and their families. In most cases, employees pay a percentage of the cost of premiums, which vary according to the type and extent of coverage selected. Some of the common medical plan types include:
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) - Members' health care is provided by doctors and hospitals within a defined network and coordinated by a primary care physician.
  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) - PPOs give members access to several networks of doctors and hospitals and allow them to visit out-of-network physicians for a higher fee.
  • Points of Service (POS) - These plans offer a high degree of flexibility by combining features of both HMOs and PPOs.
  • Indemnity - Subscribers choose their physicians without restriction and are reimbursed for medical expenses after the fact.
  • Cafeteria or "flexible benefit" plans, which allow employees to choose between a set amount of cash and a benefit package of equal value. Employees may assemble the package themselves from a menu of options, usually consisting of core benefits and elective, secondary programs.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow employees to reduce taxes on money spent for uninsured health care or dependent care. Employees estimate the amount they will spend on related services and products for a given year; a percentage of the total is deducted before taxes from every paycheck. As expenses are incurred, the employee files receipts, and reimbursements are made for qualified purchases. Money remaining in the account at the end of the year is forfeit.

Group Life Insurance Plans:

It is often provided at no charge to employees. In general, policies provide coverage equal to one year's salary. Depending on the plan, the policy may encompass accidental death and dismemberment. The employer may give employees the option of purchasing supplemental coverage for him/her as well as for eligible family members.

Group Disability Insurance Plans:
It provides income in case of non-work related illness or injury. While specific provisions vary by plan and company, most disability plans provide at least 60 percent of an employee's base pay. Some employers provide disability coverage at no charge, and others offer it to employees willing to pay the cost. There are two basic types of coverage:

  • Short-Term Disability applies when an employee is unable to work for eight days to six months.
  • Long-Term Disability applies when an employee is totally disabled and unable to work for more than six months.
Employee Stock Options:
Many corporations offer stock option plans, which allow employees to purchase prescribed blocks of company stock at a specific price within a given timeframe.
Employee Stock Plans:
Employees in many companies have the opportunity to purchase shares of the company's stock at a discounted price during a specified period of time. Such programs are called Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs). Under the terms of an ESPP, an employee may receive a discount of as much as 15 percent. Plans also provide favorable tax treatment if they meet legal standards. The "offering period," during which discounted stock may be purchased, may be as short as three months, but usually lasts between six and 24 months. Employees must use their own cash to buy stock through an ESPP, and they are subject to financial loss if the value of the stock declines.

Deferred Compensation Plans:

Deferred compensation plans enable an employee to defer the payment of earned wages until a given date in the future. In many cases, the money is invested in cash value life insurance in the employee's name. The accrued funds are usually made available to the employee upon retirement. If the insured dies before retirement, the policy pays the beneficiary. Two types of deferred compensation plan includes:


  • Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans provide tax benefits for both employers and employees. Employers can deduct the amount contributed to the plan, while employees pay no tax on the funds until they are distributed. Further, distributed money from a qualified plan is usually eligible for rollover to an IRA or other qualified plan. Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans must be made available to all employees, and the amount of employer contributions is limited.
  • Nonqualified Deferred Compensation (NQDC) plans lack many of the tax benefits of qualified plans, but they allow employers to contribute an unlimited amount to the plan and to designate specific employees - usually top executives - as participants. For that reason, large corporations generally use the plans as incentives for executives.

To ensure that you get the maximum advantages from employer benefits available to you, take the following steps: Read all benefits-related material as it is provided. Consult your human resources representative or benefits office with questions about benefits plans. Discuss options with your family, and select the most relevant coverage offered. Periodically review your active benefits selections to guarantee that they suit your current circumstances.

We will work together to design a financial roadmap to help you as you strive to reach your financial goals and objectives. By assisting you in developing and implementing your personal financial plan, true control will take place in your financial life as you get closer and closer to reaching your ultimate financial goals.
To learn more about how we can partner together in achieving your financial goals, please complete the Registration Form below or Please Call (732) 521-3040 or e-mail: info@horizoncoast.com to setup a confidential consultation.
 
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