Beating the Internal Revenue Service to the punch, consulting firm Mercer has released a new report projecting 2012 Internal Revenue Code limits for health savings account contributions and the out-of-pocket maximum for high-deductible health plans.
The predicted change for HSA contributions is 1.6 percent for both individuals ($3,100 in 2012 vs. $3,050 in 2011) and family coverage ($6,250 in 2012 vs. $6,150 in 2011). For high-deductible health plans, Mercer anticipates the out-of-pocket maximum will jump 1.7 percent for both individuals ($6,050 in 2012 vs. $5,950 in 2011) and family coverage ($12,100 in 2012 vs. $11,900 in 2011).
Mercer is also projecting that the high-deductible health plan minimum annual deductibles will remain at $1,200 because of the code’s rounding rules. The HSA catch-up contributions have remained at $1,000 since 2009 and won’t change because of a statute.
“Knowing these projected numbers will help employers to plan ahead and evaluate whether or not they need to make changes,” said Heidi Rackley, a partner with Mercer who co-produced the report.
Unlike traditional policies, high-deductible health plans have lower premiums and will pay out for basic preventive care, but all other costs are paid for by the policyholder until the minimum annual deductible is reached. People who hold high-deductible policies are entitled to maintain HSA accounts, which are tax-exempt trusts. Money that is deposited into these accounts can be withdrawn and used to help offset the high out-of-pocket expense of the high-deductible health plan deductible.
The IRS is expected to publish the 2012 limits by June 1.
James Walsh is Workforce Management’s editorial intern. To comment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.