Are your benefits keeping pace with your employees’ expectations? If not, additional health benefits may help to level up your benefits package.
Small Business Series on Employee Benefits Part 4: From understanding the types of health plans and calculating costs to putting together an employee benefits package, this ongoing small business series explores a wide range of topics related to employee health insurance and benefits. The most recent posts include 01_Understanding the Different Types of Health Plans for Small Businesses, 02_Health Insurance and Employer Responsibilities, and 03_HowToSelectEmployeeBenefits
Offering Additional Health Benefits
In addition to traditional medical benefits, there are a few popular options in health benefits that you can add on. From saving money to boosting wellness, these add-on health benefits offer many advantages to workers in all stages.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a type of savings account that allows employees to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses such as contact lenses, visits to a chiropractor, lab fees, and certain over-the-counter medication.
Contributions are made with pre-tax payroll deductions up to the maximum set by the IRS. Note that HSA tax advantages are at the federal IRS level. Some states do tax HSA funds.
Contributions can be changed or stopped throughout the year. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), HSA balances roll over from year to year. Contributions to your employees’ HSAs are also tax-free and can be deducted as a business expense. While HSA contributions are only allowed when employees are covered under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), employees can use the HSA funds at any time to pay for expenses not covered under their HDHP until deductibles are met.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
A health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) helps employees pay for medical expenses and services with pre-tax dollars. Employees make an annual contribution, up to the maximum limit set by the IRS, through payroll deduction. The contribution is not subject to employment or federal income taxes. FSA dollars can be used to pay for qualified services and out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as medical, pharmacy, dental and vision deductibles, copays, and other health care costs.
FSA plans are not interchangeable, and funds must be applied to expenses incurred during the current plan year. Different types of FSAs, which include:
- Health Care FSA. With a healthcare FSA, employees set aside money from their paycheck before taxes to use for certain eligible expenses, such as copays and deductibles for health, vision, dental and prescription plans.
- Dependent Care FSA. A dependent care FSA lets employees save pre-tax dollars for qualified dependent care expenses, such as costs for daycare for children under 13, disabled children of any age, dependent adults, nursery school, and daytime summer camp.
Pre-tax applies to all federal taxes but not all state taxes.
Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)
A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) gives employers the flexibility to help their employees with out-of-pocket medical expenses. Employers fund the HRA account and determine which expenses, within the IRS guidelines, are eligible. Under an HRA, employees submit receipts and are then reimbursed by the employer without having to pay taxes on the reimbursements. To participate, a traditional HRA must be offered along with a group health insurance policy.
Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA)
Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) is an option forbusinesses that are unable to offer group health insurance but want to help employees pay for medical and insurance expenses.
Under a QSEHRA, small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are eligible to provide non-taxed reimbursement of certain healthcare expenses, such as health insurance premiums, to employees with qualifying health insurance coverage.
With a QSEHRA, small employers are allowed to determine the amount they will contribute to their employees’ health care costs, up to an annual maximum set by the IRS.
Dental and Vision Insurance
Dental and vision benefits can be purchased and offered as an add-on to a group plan. While you’re not required to offer dental and vision insurance, it can provide a major benefit to your employees, and it can be an attractive benefit to your overall benefits package.
A new benefit that’s gaining popularity is wellness programs. This includes a wide range of options, including health assessments, screenings to identify potential health issues, or giving employees a stipend for a gym membership or other wellness-related activities to encourage physical and mental health and well-being.
Employee Assistance Program and Mental Health Benefits
As mental health issues continue to rise, employer's costs are also increasing -- resulting in higher healthcare costs and lower productivity. One way to help employees is by providing mental health benefits through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP provides services to help employees, their family members, and dependents cope with personal issues that may affect their health, mental and emotional well-being, as well as their job performance.
While an EAP is not health insurance, it is usually offered in conjunction with an employer’s health insurance plan. All services are confidential, and in most cases, are free. Services include mental health services, professional counseling and referrals, personal and family support, and guidance on financial wellness.
Exploring More Options in Health Benefits?
From tax breaks, cost-savings to a healthier and happier workforce, the advantages of enhancing your benefits package with additional health benefits go beyond a traditional health insurance plan. If you need help finding options that are right for your small business, just give us a call (800) 446-6567.
PLEASE NOTE: This information is for general reference purposes only. Please check with the appropriate organizations or government agencies for the latest information and consult your employment attorney and/or benefits advisor regarding your responsibilities. In addition, your company may be exempt from certain requirements and/or be subject to different requirements under the laws of your state. (Updated August 24, 2022)
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