It's no secret that most employees do not fully understand all of their health insurance benefits, which can lead to worse health outcomes and them spending more money than they need to for some medical procedures.
A recent survey of 226 executives by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services concluded that employees and employers could enjoy better outcomes if it were easier for employees to find, understand and use the benefits available to them.
The Department of Health and Human Services has issued some new "frequently asked questions" for its Affordable Care Act pages, and new guidelines that require group health plans to expand what they are required to cover with no cost-sharing.
The new FAQ section expands the age group for which insurers must cover colonoscopies and adds some women's services that must also be covered with no out-of-pocket costs on the part of the insured patient.
One way you can give your staff more choice in the employee benefits they receive is to offer them a cafeteria plan, which allows them to put together a benefits package that works best for them.
Employers fund these flexible benefit plans with funds that are deducted from their employees' salaries on a pre-tax basis. Since the salary reductions are not received by the employee, they are not considered wages for income tax purposes.