Employee benefits can be quite confusing, especially for your team members. They’ll likely have a lot of questions about how insurance works in general and the specifics of the policies you provide.
It’s best for you, and them, to be proactive about answering their questions. The numbers provide good reasons too, as 77 percent of employees who understand their benefits say they plan to stay at their current company for the foreseeable future.
No matter how simple a question may seem to you, the answers likely aren’t obvious to your employees, and they’ll need help to understand their benefits. Here’s our list of top employee benefits FAQs.
What Is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment is the period when people can enroll in or drop out of a health insurance plan or make changes to their existing plan. In general, there are specific times of the year when you can make these changes. Some plans have exceptions that are triggered by qualifying events such as having or adopting a child, getting married or getting a new job.
What Is Enrollment Year-Round?
Health and other insurance programs don’t always have limitations on when you can join, leave or make changes. These plans have year-round enrollment. If there are restrictions to the changes that can be made, explain these to the employee as clearly as possible.
What’s An FSA? Can I Enroll in One?
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a specific type of account you put money and can use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. You won’t pay taxes on the money you set aside, so you are also essentially saving the same amount of money as the taxes you would have paid.
When your employee comes to you to ask about enrolling in an FSA, you can explain the offering but cannot pick for them or always give specific advice based on their situation or need. We provide employee decision support tools that can help your employees make a more educated choice on their own based on what you offer and their family.
Am I Eligible to Enroll in an HSA?
A health savings account (HSA) allows you to pay or be reimbursed for certain qualified medical expenses and it is a triple-tax advantaged account that (as defined by the IRS). That means:
- Contributions are tax-deductible, reducing federal income taxes owed.
- Assets in your HSA grow tax-free at the federal level.
- Funds can be withdrawn without being taxed if used for qualified medical expenses.
In many cases, employees can create an HSA in conjunction with high-deductible plans. Take time to explain this to them so they understand how the HSA can cover out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, coinsurance and other concerns. When possible, share documentation covering this so they can better retain the information and make the best use of employee benefits.
Can I Pick My Doctor, Dentist Or Other Care Provider When I Enroll?
Your health care providers must be “in-network” to be covered.
An in-network provider has their own contract with your health insurance plan, allowing them to deliver services at pre-negotiated rates. Typically, in-network providers are much less expensive for you than out-of-network providers. While they may not cover your costs, your insurer can’t prevent you from seeing an out-of-network provider.
Is ____ Covered?
Once you are a few questions into a discussion about employee benefits, you should expect more specific questions that you’ll need to review the policy to answer. If these conversations are occurring during your open enrollment period, you may have more employees than time or staff to discuss every single instance.
Proactively answering common benefits questions, and offering decision support tools to help employees make the best choices for their families at the time of enrollment, can be a game-changer for employees’ satisfaction with their benefits.