When it comes down to it, it is up to your employer to establish a benefits package for you. It is up to you to figure out what is offered and take full advantage of it. Below are 10 things you really should know about you employee benefits:
1. Compare your Employer Plan v. Healthcare Exchanges.
One of the biggest purchases that an individual will make in life is their healthcare plan, the last thing you want to do to keep renewing your old healthcare plan without looking at all your options. If your employer offers to cover your healthcare plan and you decline it, you are not eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchange. If one of the options offered is a high deductible plan, you may need to consider the potential to build up a health savings account. In the end, making sure to research your healthcare plan with your employers at all angles is important.
2. Open a health saving account.
Nowadays, more and more employers are offering the choice for their employees a high deductible healthcare plan. This also means that you are able to set up a health saving account (money that you can contribute is tax-deductible). The best feature of having a health saving account is that it is your and has the opportunity to grow to a $150,000-plus health savings account.
3. Open a healthcare FSA.
When looking at having a flexible spending account for dependent care expenses, many forget that you don’t have to enroll in your employer’s health plan. You can contribute pre-tax dollars to the FSA and use it for out-of-pocket expenses.
4. If you have a child under 13, fund a dependent care FSA.
Ensure that you have no confusion about the rules for healthcare FSAs with a dependent care FSA, this is used to help pay for child care expenses. It’s safer to underestimate FSA care because you can always take the dependent care tax credit on your income tax return.
5. Seek out wellness incentives.
When you take advantage of your employer’s wellness incentives, you can cut personal costs or even bring in cash. There are many opportunities to cut costs such as: quitting smoking, having health screenings, participating in health coaching, having discounts on gym memberships etc.
6. Review your retirement plan elections.
Your retirement plan may seem too far in the future to consider, however, the earlier you start to save, the more likely you’ll have financial security for your retirement. If your employer offers a 401(K), make sure that you’re contributing at least enough to grab any free employer matching money. If you cannot establish a retirement plan at work, make sure you’re saving through an Individual Retirement Account.
7. If you commute, transit benefits put cash in your pocket.
If you are someone who pays to park or use some source of mass transit to get to work most large employers will offer to pay for your transit through payroll.
8. Look at employee stock purchase plans.
In the right scenario, having an employee stock purchase plans can be a perk with a guaranteed return of 15%. When doing this, make sure that you have a full understanding of the tax rules.
9. Have a look to see if you are covered with disability/life insurance.
Your employer may give you a certain level of coverage when it comes to disability/life insurance. Ask your employers if you can make salary deferrals to increase your coverage (the extra premiums can be fairly cheap).
10. Do you need all of the “deals” that come with employee benefits?
There are many employers out there that offer employees voluntary benefits provided by a third party, these many include: pet, auto, pre-paid legal services, etc. However, just because it is offered, it doesn’t mean it's the best deal for you. Ensure that you know all the options before committing to one.
Have questions about Employee Benefits? Contact a Trout Insurance agent today to have those questions answered.
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