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How to Get the Most Out of Your Benefits All Year Long

How to Get the Most Out of Your Benefits All Year Long

Most people think of benefits once a year during open enrollment when they chose which medical, dental, or vision plans they wish to enroll in. And the burning question on most employees’ minds is: How much will premiums be this year?!

While price is important, by taking a moment to look past benefit premiums, often a person will find some surprising programs and savings to their benefits which a person can enjoy all year long. Here are some tips and tricks that might help you get the most out of your benefits.

1) Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

EAPs usually have a plethora of resources available to an employee throughout the whole year. They offer anything from financial advice, to legal resources, to three free call-in sessions with a therapist. Also, often EAPs have a free will and trust maker, which many employees overlook. as well.

If you are not sure if your company has an EAP, reach out to your HR department or your benefits specialist. Ask them if your company offers an EAP and what resources are part of it.

[Related: Don’t Wait for Your Company to Help With Work-Life Balance]

2) Another item to consider is your actual benefit coverage.

Often your benefit coverage through your carrier offers not only your health insurance itself, but programs that are free for you to use. Ask what is offered - often there can be resources such as new mom programs to help expecting mothers with anything from lactation consulting, to postpartum depression, to 24/7 nurse help lines for when you are sick. You might also find smoking cessation and diet programs.

Again, these services are through your carrier such as Anthem, Cigna, Kaiser, etc., and it can be useful to determine what programs they provide.

[Related: Expert Strategies to Maximize Your Employee Benefits While Keeping Costs Down]

3) Looking to save on your taxes?!

Besides donating to charities, there are other ways you can save, one of which is through your benefits. Next time you are preparing for open enrollment and selecting benefits, ask or see if your company offers any pre-tax benefit offerings where you can set aside pre-tax dollars to save for benefit expenses and in the process lower your taxable income.

There are numerous different offerings, such as HCFSAs aka FSAs, DCFSAs aka dependent care FSAs, HSAs aka Health Savings Accounts, and LCFSAs aka limited care FSAs, to name a few options.

Fun facts:

  • DCFSAs can be used for children or seniors, such as if you are caring for an aging parent. Additionally with DCFSAs, you can enroll in them and other tax savings benefits such as regular a FSA and HSA. Normally enrolling in multiple tax savings options is not possible, however DCFSAs allow a little more flexibility.
  • With HSAs you must be enrolled in a HDHP medical plan in order to enroll in a HSA.
  • LCFSA Limited Care FSAs are like a regular FSAs, but can only be used for specific items, hence why they are called limited. They are normally restricted for dental and vision expenses only.

Hopefully the above three tips help you get the most out of your benefits. There is more to benefits than just enrolling once a year during open enrollment - knowing what to look for or what to ask about can make a difference. If you take a moment to learn what your company offers, you might be surprised at all the benefit services that are available to you.

[Related: Five Expert Tips on Building Your Fixed-Income Portfolio]

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As an HR professional, Stephanie Raso's passion for HR stems from the belief that a company’s strongest asset is their employees. She thrives on knowing that she can make an impact.


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