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Help Employees Understand Benefits to Kick Start Money-Saving, Health-Boosting Goals

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, saving money and getting healthy often top the list. Research shows, however, that many people abandon those resolutions by January or February. As a business owner, you can help your employees stick to their goals by sharing (often free) resources and tools in your company benefits package—and by communicating how they can capitalize on their choices made during annual benefits open enrollment.

The following are five money-saving, health-boosting recommendations to help your employees maximize their benefits offering this year.

#1: Healthcare Insurance Cost-Cutters and “Freebies”

Medical and prescription drug costs have increased in the past year—due primarily to inflation and a labor shortage in the healthcare industry. To help counter these increases, educate your employees on lower-cost care alternatives or “freebies” offered in your company’s healthcare plan.

Common Recommendations

  • Free Annual Wellness Checkups
  • Many healthcare plans offer free annual wellness checkups. At these visits, a healthcare professional will review a patient’s medical history, conduct routine examinations and screenings, discuss health and lifestyle choices, and more.
  • · Wellness Incentives
  • Encourage employees to take advantage of incentives, such as free or discounted gym memberships, stress-mitigation tools, and access to online mental health apps.
  • Telehealth Services
  • Where employees go to receive care impacts costs for both the patient and the employer. You can educate your employees on the differences in costs and when it’s appropriate to utilize each level of service. For example, virtual healthcare visits are often the cheapest option for most healthcare needs and are significantly cheaper than visiting urgent care or the emergency room. Telehealth also reduces travel, time off from work, and the need for childcare.
  • Reevaluate Coverage Annually

In advance of benefits open or special enrollment periods, provide information to help employees evaluate and, if needed, select lower-cost plans that support their needs and lifestyle.

#2: Tap into Triple-Tax Benefits of a Health Savings Account (HSA)

HSA accounts provide triple-tax benefits to contributors, including tax-deductible contributions, tax-free growth of investments, and tax-free spending (at the federal level) on qualified medical expenses now and throughout retirement. *

Common Recommendations

  • Use Pre-Tax HSA Funds for Qualified Medical Expenses
  • Employees can use pre-tax HSA funds to pay for routine and unexpected medical costs—including copays, prescriptions, doctor and dentist visits, emergency care, and thermometers. And unused HSA funds roll over from one year to the next.
  • Invest HSA Funds
  • Some plans pay interest or allow participants to invest in mutual funds and other investment vehicles. In fact, over 2.4 million HSAs have at least a portion of their HSA dollars invested, according to the 2022 Midyear Devenir HSA Market Survey.
  • Consider Additional HSA Savings

In 2023, employees can contribute $3,850 for an individual (up $200 from 2022) and $7,750 per family (up $400 from 2022) to an HSA. Employers may also contribute funds to these accounts within the prescribed limit. **

#3: Maximize Retirement Plan Contributions

If you offer a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), your employees can participate through automatic payroll deductions—and you can add value by matching a portion (or all) of their contributions.

Tilisha Conley, retirement plan manager for G&A Partners, said an increasing number of employees depend on their employer’s retirement plan to fund their retirement, so maximizing plan contributions is vital in 2023 – and beyond.

Common Recommendations

  • Max Out Retirement Plan Contributions
  • In 2023, employees can contribute up to $22,500 to 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans. Money contributed through employee (and employer) contributions can grow through investments in stocks, mutual funds, money market funds, savings accounts, and other investment vehicles.
  • “Catch-up” On Contributions
  • Employees over 50 can contribute an additional $7,500 in “catch-up” contributions to 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans in 2023.
  • New Types of Contributions

Congress’ 2023 Omnibus Budget Bill includes significant changes to retirement savings legislation. For example, beginning in 2024, an employer can make a matching contribution to an employee’s retirement plan for certain student loan payments.

#4: Explore Free Services Provided by an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Employees experiencing personal or financial difficulties may feel they have nowhere to turn. But if your benefits offering includes help through an Employee Assistance Program, they have confidential access to outside counselors, resources, and referrals—helping them to address personal and work-related issues that may be affecting their job performance or mental health and well-being.

Common Recommendations

  • Participate in Free Financial Education Courses or Webinars
  • Classes offered through EAPs focus on various subjects, including debt relief, retirement savings, and emergency funds. They give employees the tools to take financial matters into their own hands.
  • Seek Help from Financial Experts
  • Some EAPs provide access to professionals who offer free tax preparation, investment planning, or estate and will preparation services.
  • Find a Treatment Provider

EAPs provide referrals (free of charge) for treatment of alcohol or substance abuse issues, confidential mental health support by trained clinicians, and stress management.

#5: Take a “Time Out” When You Need It

Employees should demonstrate commitment to your company and their colleagues, but it’s equally essential to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Employers that include paid leave in their benefits package provide an avenue for workers to recuperate when sick, attend to their family’s needs, or take a breather when needed.

Common Recommendations

  • Use Paid Time Off
  • Encourage your employees to take advantage of vacation, sick, and general PTO options available to them – it’s important to maintaining their physical and mental health. Consider offering non-traditional PTO options as well, such as “bonus” paid time off in the form of birthday PTO, shorter workdays before holidays, reduced summer workweeks, and PTO for off-site volunteering at a qualified charitable organization.
  • Educate Employees on Parental Leave Benefits

Whether required by law or as an optional benefit, many companies are adding parental leave to their benefits package. If available to them, educate your team on how they can utilize these benefits to care for a sick child, deal with pregnancy-related health conditions, or to bond with their child.

*According to Investors Business Daily’s HSA Contributions Grew This Year Despite Rising Prices, Tough Investment Markets by Marie Beerens.

**A participant must be enrolled in a qualified High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which has a higher annual deductible than traditional plans, to take advantage of HSA savings.

How G&A Can Help

G&A Partners offers access to HR experts with years of experience helping businesses develop their employees, improve their workplace cultures, implement new HR processes and procedures, and more. Schedule a consultation with one of our trusted business advisors to learn more.