5 Things All Employees Need to Understand About Benefits

Keeping track of what your company’s employee benefits cover and how they can work for you can be a challenge, but it is vitally important. Your employer provides benefits as part of your compensation, and if you’re not taking advantage of them, you can miss out on some important savings and coverage. Here are five things all employees need to understand about their benefits. 1. Your Health Insurance Costs You need to understand what your health insurance costs are, including how much of the premium you pay each month, any co-pay and the annual deductible, says PJ Wallin, CPA and CFP at W Financial. “Employees should know what their benefit options are, as well as for their family and who pays the costs for each. Many employers may cover a larger portion of an individual, but then subsidize less of their family.” If your employer offers a choice of different …

CONTINUE READING

How to Re-Evaluate Your Benefits Elections When Welcoming a New Baby

If you’re preparing to add a new member to your family, congratulations! You’re in for years of laughter and love with your new son or daughter. You’re also in for some worry about his or her health and safety — and one of the best ways to alleviate those concerns is with smart employee benefits choices. Adding someone to your family is often seen as a “qualifying life event,” which is the term used to define events that may require changes to your health coverage and other benefits. Employees who have qualifying events are allowed to make changes to their coverage choices without having to wait for their employer’s open enrollment period. Making sure your child has health insurance and your family’s financial security is protected will take some of the worries away. So how can you do that? Re-examine your benefits now. Add Your New Son or Daughter to …

CONTINUE READING

You Can’t Help Employees Achieve Wellness Without Talking About Money

A basic truth that wellness committees can embrace: People evaluate their well-being in financial terms before they do so in health terms. If they feel pain in the pocketbook, then the seemingly priceless details in your conventional wellness communication might be worthless to them. Money issues are dominating your employees’ brainwaves, so including simple financial perspective into wellness communication should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, timely financial tips and messages about preventing financial stress are left out of most messages employees receive. Throughout your organization, workers feel worried about their bank accounts, credit card statements, and retirement plans. Many of them lack basic knowledge about savings, spending, debt, and investments. “A basic truth about finances is that everyone has concern, not just people who are struggling,” says Bill Russo, a certified financial planner and the principal of Concord Financial Planners in Solon, Ohio. “Those issues can begin to take on a …

CONTINUE READING

How to Read Your Health Insurance Explanation of Benefits Statement

People generally know less than they think they do when it comes to understanding their health benefits — which can lead to problems down the road. According to the American Institutes for Research, 3 out of 4 people said they felt confident that they knew how to use their health insurance. But only 1 out of 5 could accurately calculate their out-of-pocket costs. This lack of knowledge can hurt when the explanation of benefits (EOB) shows up in the mail. The EOB is a form that identifies the treatment or services you were provided and what amount your insurance will pay, says Erin Singleton, chief of mission delivery at the Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit that provides professional case management services to people with chronic, life-threatening and debilitating illnesses. The EOB often says “This is not a bill” in large letters, and then has a chart or balance sheet detailing …

CONTINUE READING

What You Need to Know About Your EAP

There are all sorts of issues that can slow you down that don’t have anything to do with your physical health. Grief, marital issues, depression and substance abuse are just a few things you might be facing that aren’t necessarily covered by your health insurance. And when you bring those issues with you to work, it can affect your productivity and work quality. Chances are you have an employee assistance Program that can help. Unfortunately, many EAP resources go unused because employees don’t know about them, says Stephen Elliott-Buckley of E-B Strategy, an organizational consulting agency. “There are significant long-term benefits of EAPs for workers to pull their lives together, not only for the workplace but for people’s quality of life. So employees need to seek out information about workplace EAPs more proactively,” he says. Here’s what you need to know about this helpful but often overlooked benefit. What Does …

CONTINUE READING