There are many ways companies try to be competitive when looking for highly skilled employees, and offering health benefits seems to be the first effort. However, with the passing of the Affordable Care Act and other federal/state regulations, benefits are sometimes expected by employees and don’t seem to be perks of a job. Though there are requirements in place that mandate certain healthcare provisions, employees are in favor of quality plans with low premiums. While a benefits package is the direct choice of an employer, it is up to employees to know how to make them worthwhile. You can help them realize the benefits of their plan with a little bit of education.
Some employees won’t give an employer package a second thought since they may already have insurance through the healthcare exchange. A healthcare plan will be the biggest attraction for an employee but only if the price and the services are right. According to the regulation, any employee who rejects health coverage that is offered by an employer is not eligible to get a subsidy on the healthcare exchange. This is one motivation for selecting an employer plan, but often the cost of the exchange plans motivates individuals to look elsewhere. However, if there is an employee where both spouses are working, one of the plans may be better than the other. Look at the tiered premiums schedules and the difference between deductibles and limits. You should also check on what physicians are included in a network. Some plans have requirements that each eligible spouse carry their own policy if there is eligibility through an employer. This may influence the type of healthcare plan selected.
With the rising costs of healthcare, it makes sense that employers looking to limit their costs are choosing from group health plans that only offer a high deductible plan. Though there may be other plans to choose from, cost savings are usually found in the tax-deductible contribution to a health savings account (HSA). In this account, your money is allowed to grow tax-free and it can be withdrawn for out-of-pocket medical expenses without being taxed. There are contribution limits to these plans, but these are often much higher than your deductible costs. With an HSA, you are able to keep your funds and let the balance rollover.
Some employees may not be interested in an HSA, and if not, there is an alternative. An employee can open a healthcare flexible spending account (FSA) without having to enroll in an insurance plan. Once again, pre-tax dollars can be contributed to the FSA and the balance used for out-of-pocket medical expenses. There are lower contribution limits than are generally found with an HSA, but there is another key difference. An FSA will only allow you to carry over $500 to the next year, and whatever else hasn’t been used, is lost. One thing many employees don’t realize about the FSA is what expenses can be covered. It isn’t just limited to deductible costs, copays for prescription medications. You can use the funds to buy staple over-the-counter medications or medical supplies, prescription sunglasses, skin treatments, birth control and even condoms. There is a lot of flexibility with FSA purchases if you get to the end of the year and haven’t used all your money.
This is a required investment for most companies across the United States, and it is designed to cover the costs of accidents or injuries that occur while on the job. The federal and state levels of government determine the extent of the coverage, but the intent of these plans is to reduce the litigation and hiring of accident lawyers for additional compensation when an injury takes place at work. With these benefits, the costs of the medical care for treatment and rehabilitation of an injury is taken care of, and in some cases, death and dismemberment benefits are paid out. These plans generally come with an approved network of treatment centers and physicians, but there are times when employees may be allowed to have a specific provider included. This helps alleviate costs for health problems that may have occurred through no fault of the employees, and short and long-term disability benefits often subsidize lost wages.
You will want to have a competitive health benefits plan if you are going to attract top-notch employees. Some companies are expanding benefits plans to include reduced gym memberships, virtual doctor appointments and mental health screenings or treatment. Health and wellness aren’t limited to just an insurance plan with dental and vision. Some plans allow for dependent care FSAs, where the funds can be used to pay for childcare expenses. Retirement plans are also highly sought after benefit options. Make sure your employees know the advantages of the benefits when they go through onboarding.
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