Tips to Save Money When Buying Employee Benefits

Make Your Employee Benefit Dollars Go Further

Save Money Employee Benefits
© Maridav - Fotolia.com

When it comes right down to it, choosing employee benefits can be overwhelming, especially for those who are concerned about the rising costs for health care coverage. The Affordable Care Act has made it mandatory for all Americans to purchase their own health insurance, which means less of the budget is available for other needs. Individuals need to educate themselves on the best ways to choose their benefits, especially when it comes to saving money.

Use the following tips to help meet the minimum health insurance requirements, while saving money on your annual plan costs.

Be sure to also check out our special article 21 Ways to Get More from Your Employee Benefits

Shop Around on the Health Care Marketplace

With the Affordable Care Act in place, you can now shop around for multiple quotes on the US healthcare marketplace during certain open enrollment periods. This will help you figure out how much money you could be saving if you switched from benefits being offered by an employer to those offered on the marketplace.

Depending on your family situation, you might be able to save a ton of money by using the marketplace, or at least by getting a quote before evaluating other types of benefits. It might be easier to save money if you have children by selecting benefits provided by the employer. You may also be eligible to have a large portion of your benefits paid by a special government subsidy, depending on income and family size.

Use Health Savings Plans Wisely 

An excellent way to save money when choosing employee benefits is by using a Health Savings Arrangement (HSA) with the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) as offered by your employer. But use this carefully. Your HDHP plan must have an annual out of pocket deductible of $2,000 per year per person in order to qualify.

You must enroll in a qualified HDHP through an employer and then enroll in the HSA, which are administered by two separate companies.

Your health savings account is self-funded using your pre-tax dollars, so be sure to put as much as you can in that account each year The Internal Revenue service posts the HSA limits each year, so you can take full advantage of this program. Use your health savings account to pay for any out of pocket medical costs, medical equipment, and deductibles for other insurance coverage that doesn't pay 100 percent of your health and wellness needs. Remember, an HSA is portable so it's your money as long as you maintain your account. 

Check Out Your Spouse’s Insurance Options

If you are legally married, it might in your best interest to check the insurance offered by your spouse’s employer. Can you select specific benefits from the spouse’s plan that might be cheaper than the ones offered at your company? If so, consider putting together a piece-meal benefit plan from both employers could help you save money in the long run.

You may want to put your dependents on your spousal insurance plan and yourself on your employer’s plan if it works out to save you money. Be sure to compare these plans to make sure all health care needs are covered, such as medical, hospital and prescriptions.

Avoid Overpriced Dental and Vision Plans

Try to avoid signing up for dental and vision plans through your employer’s benefits package. This can save you a good amount of money each year. Instead, pay for visits to the dentist and eye doctor using your HSA or having the doctors submit the claims through your regular health insurance coverage. Some doctors can do this because they list the eye appointment under allergies, which would be related to health issues.

When you have to get prescription eyewear, go to discount websites to order cheaper frames and lenses. There are also lower cost dental and vision combined savings plans that cost pennies to maintain all year long.

Choose More Voluntary Benefit Options

If your employer offers voluntary benefit options, consider using more of these because they can help keep your wallet thicker. Voluntary benefit options allow employees the opportunity to choose the benefits they need for themselves and/or their family instead of paying for a host of benefits they do not need. Soe voluntary plans also offer coverage for non-traditional wellness services like massage therapy, chiropractic care, and more. 

Choosing employee benefits is just as important signing up for a retirement plan and other compensation options at the office. You need to make sure that you choose the right benefits for your situation and that you are not spending too much money each pay period on those benefits.

Image Credit: © Maridav - Fotolia.com

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