Taking Advantage of Employee Health Benefit Plans and More

September 14, 2023
  • Private Banking
Relationship Manager Elizabeth Madden reviews some of the benefits included in employee health insurance plans that go beyond your typical retirement and insurance elections.

When open enrollment period rolls around, there is a lot to consider before making decisions about your health insurance. Many of us tend to be on autopilot when it comes to enrolling in our health insurance plans and making our retirement plan elections.

While this can work if your medical plan and/or personal situation do not change much from year to year, it is always a good idea to assess your personal situation annually to ensure you are enrolling in the best plan for you. Major life events, such as marriage or expecting a child, are a good time to reassess your elections as well.

Beyond the typical retirement and insurance elections, many employers have a variety of other benefits available to their employees that often get overlooked because they do not require an “active” election.

In fact, 71% of human resources decision-makers believe that their employees are underutilizing the benefits made available to them. Being aware of all the benefits available to you through your plan is crucial, as you could be leaving resources (and money!) on the table. Here, we review some of the more common benefits included in most employee plans to be on the lookout for.

Employee Assistance Programs

Over the past few years, mental health and wellness benefits have become increasingly popular within healthcare plans. In a 2019 survey in the Harvard Business Review, 50% of respondents had left their roles for mental health reasons. As a response to this, many employers have invested significantly in employee assistance programs (EAP) and mental health benefits for their employees, ranging from wellness apps to online therapy offerings. EAPs are entirely confidential services, so concerns about information being released should not prevent you from taking advantage of these health plan offerings.

Fitness Benefits

More and more companies are incorporating fitness perks into their benefits programs. These benefits can come in the form of discounted gym memberships, waived joining fees, reimbursement, or fitness allowances.

Various employee wellness programs also may offer free classes at local studios or even virtual fitness classes, so make sure to keep an eye out! It can be difficult to find motivation to adopt an exercise routine, but these fitness benefits can be a great incentive to do so.

Commuter Benefits

Pretax commuter benefits are common in employee benefit plans, and in some cities – including New York – companies with 20 or more employees are required to offer these benefits. Whether it be your subway fare, parking costs, or bus passes, paying through your workplace plan with pretax dollars can help you save on an annual basis.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently limits pretax commuter benefits to $300 per month for a combination of transit passes and highway vehicle transportation and $300 per month for qualified parking.

Employee Discounts

Make sure to check out your employer’s benefits portal, as there may be some great discounts available to you as an employee. Whether it be a discount at a hotel or a local restaurant, it never hurts to know what additional perks are available.

Depending on your employer-specific plan, there could be a number of other benefits available for you or an eligible dependent to take advantage of. Open enrollment is the perfect time for you to learn everything your employee benefit plan has to offer.     

Understanding Your Employee Health Benefits and More

If you are ready to make your financial, mental, and physical well-being a priority, our Next Generation Experience team is happy to review and discuss your employee benefit plans with you.

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