by WEX Health
The pre-tax benefits your employer offers their employees are a huge perk, allowing you to save money to cover a variety of everyday expenses. Two keys to maximizing your savings potential are understanding which plans are right for you and learning how to best use the benefits once you’ve enrolled. Here’s the scoop on five benefits savings tips you may want to take advantage of to improve your finances:
Leverage your preventive care
Determine what your preventive care benefits are and use them. Your health plan probably covers the full cost of important preventive care benefits such as annual physicals, screenings, and immunizations for you, your spouse and any dependents. By taking advantage of these, you’re more likely to prevent or detect health problems early, when they’re easier to treat — and before related hospital bills add up.
Participate in an HSA
Sign up for a health savings account (HSA), if eligible. If you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) through your employer, you can participate and contribute to an HSA. Every dollar you contribute from your paycheck to your HSA is a tax-free dollar, and every HSA dollar you spend on qualified medical expenses is a tax-free payment. Further, any interest earned on your HSA is tax-free. These triple tax benefits can save you a significant amount of money over time. Note that, as of last year, even if you have a chronic condition, some of your medicines and services may be considered HSA-eligible if they’re deemed as preventive care.
Don’t miss out on employer matches
Take advantage of any matches or reimbursements your employer provides. That’s free cash from your employer. While we’re all pretty familiar with employers matching 401(k) contributions, this trend also extends to healthcare accounts. Many employers match contributions into an HSA or flexible spending account (FSA) up to a certain limit. For FSAs, employers can contribute up to $500. Your employer may also offer a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), whereby they set aside a monthly allowance of tax-free money to reimburse you for out-of-pocket medical expenses and personal health insurance premiums.
Sign up for commuter benefits
If your company offers commuter benefits in the form of transit or parking accounts, you may be able to save 40 percent or more on your monthly commuting costs by setting aside pre-tax dollars for expenses including commuting to and from work for mass transit, vanpooling, and expenses such as transit passes, tokens, fare cards, vouchers, and parking passes.
Ask about a prescription discount card
If your insurer doesn’t cover a certain medication or you’re in a HDHP, you may benefit from using a prescription drug discount card. One such card is from Inside Rx, a health solution provider for WEX that provides a web-based pharmacy prescription discount solution designed to help you save money on prescription drugs. These cards can’t be combined with insurance benefits, copay cards or any other secondary payer. However, even if you have insurance, you may be able to save up to 70 percent on brand and generic prescription medications by paying 100 percent out of pocket with a discount card. Those savings are nothing to sneeze at, especially for times when insurance only partially covers prescriptions, requires a high deductible, or doesn’t cover a prescription at all.
Shop for hundreds of HSA-eligible and FSA-eligible expenses by going to Health Shopper today!