5 Top Questions On Employees Health Benefits

You’ve held lunch and learns, presented at team meetings and sent email blasts, but there are still a slew of questions coming in your inbox. When it comes to health benefits, employees will always need assistance sorting through the details of their plans. As an employer, you can be equipped with the right answers by knowing common questions ahead of time.

Benefit News shared a list of top questions employees ask about their health benefits:

What are my costs when I receive care or fill a prescription?

People want to know what they will end up spending during the year on medical costs when comparing different coverage options. To arrive at an estimate, out-of-pocket costs should be calculated for their medical usage throughout the year. Considering how many primary care or specialists visits they’ll have or if they’re planning on having any procedures done will help them find a realistic picture of their expenses.

When am I eligible to enroll?

Giving employees clear expectations on when they can participate in a plan will help alleviate questions. Many companies have a mandatory waiting period–such as 90 days–before new employees can enroll. Other workplaces have eligibility criteria that employees must meet before participating. When onboarding new employees it’s important that they understand when they can enroll and how to get started. It’s also crucial to have a clear communication strategy to help existing employees understand when the open enrollment period is for them to be able to make changes to their plans.

What’s the difference between a HRA, HSA and a FSA?

More employers are shifting to consumer-driven, account-based accounts like Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). If your company has these offerings available, employees will want to know how they work. HRAs, HSAs and FSAs are all account-based health plans that offer tax-free reimbursement for qualified health expenses.

According to healthcare.gov, HRAs are employer-funded group health plans where employees are reimbursed tax-free for qualified medical expenses. An 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. A FSA is a special account employees can put money into to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs.

What happens if I leave the company?

It’s common for employees to think about what will happen to their health benefits if their employment comes to an end. In many cases, if an employee purchased coverage on their own, and the company’s benefit program reimburses them for coverage, then they can keep that coverage even if they decide to change jobs. If the employee purchased employer-provided coverage, then they would likely lose coverage if they change jobs. Different scenarios exist if the employee was laid-off or terminated so it’s important to respond to these type of questions on a case-by-case basis.

What is the process for filling out claim, appeal or reimbursement?

Some plans may require proof of payment or coverage before reimbursement. Other plans will allow a provider to submit claims on an employee’s behalf directly. It’s important that employees understand the process for these scenarios so they can know what to expect.

Making sure to stay well-versed on the information specific to your employers’ offerings will allow you to serve as a reliable source of knowledge for employees as they select their coverage. Sharing FAQ documents and other helpful resources will allow your workforce to find accurate and relevant information to empower them to make the best decisions for their health care.

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