Employee Health Benefits: Crash Course

December 10, 2019

If you work for a company that provides health benefits, it’s likely you could use some help really understanding then nitty-gritty of your perks. If you haven’t seen our health insurance 101 guide, start there. We’re here to talk about making the most of your benefits. According to a survey from Fractl, job hunters really care about health insurance, flexible hours, and vacation time. When work provides you with benefits that help you manage your physical and mental wellbeing, you feel valued. This leads to a happier, healthier and more productive work environment.

Some common company benefits that could help you navigate your work-life balance include: HSA & FSA accounts, time off, gym/wellness stipends and parental leave policies. We’ll give you a crash course in what each of these benefits really means.

Health Spending Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) benefits explained

Both of these are tax-advantaged spending accounts. The money comes out of your paycheck before taxes, so you save by putting it away automatically if you have this option. You can contribute towards health expenses ranging from contact lenses and diabetic equipment, to medical procedures and co-pays. Check with your company to see if you have these options. Here are the key differences:

HSA: In order to qualify for a health spending account, you must have a High Deductible Health Plan. HSAs have a higher contribution limit, so you can put away more money pre-tax, and save for things like prescriptions and medical services. Any unused funds roll over to the next year.

FSA: If you’re on the market for a flexible spending account, hold on. Your employer must provide this option for you. Flexible spending accounts don’t allow you to roll over your funds. They also have lower contribution limits and are generally less flexible than HSAs.

Time off

Spending time away from work makes employees more productive, and healthier. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of providing employees access to not only sick days but mental health and personal days. Have you ever gone into work while sick, in the name of not losing a precious day off?

Lifestyle stipends

Does your workplace reimburse your gym and fitness expenses? Some do. To be sure you are taking advantage of these, make sure to ask questions of your HR team. Most larger companies have a team member who is solely dedicated to employee benefits. 

Parental leave policies

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 17% of workers in the US have access to paid family leave. This is a big one. Though we most definitely aren’t caught up to the parental leave policies of Estonia, where parents may receive up to 85 weeks of fully-paid leave, new laws in the New York area have required at least ten weeks of partially paid leave to new parents. Whether you’re interviewing now or have been at your workplace for some time, it’s important to critically analyze your plan and take into account any family planning concerns. 

Wellness in the workplace is healthy for both employees and employers. In 2020, we hope to see lots more innovation and changes in the workplace health and wellness realm. In the meantime, be sure to check your policies to see what your company offers and make sure you aren’t missing out.

Looking for a primary care doctor in NYC? These are a few of our top-recommended practitioners. 

Lily Dulberg

Lily is a Copywriter and Data Analyst. She works with startups, nonprofits and businesses across the board to ignite engagement and develop captivating campaigns. She works closely with the Voro team on social media and newsletter communications to keep the Voro community up to date on the latest in health and wellness. Lily is based in Brooklyn, NY.

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