3 Tips to Start Your Employee Benefits Plan Year Right

November 29, 2018

As consumer-driven health plans grow in popularity as an employee benefits offering, more and more American workers are diminishing the impact taxes have on their lives and are experiencing the savings that come from enrolling in pre-tax benefits. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are all smart tools for saving money on eligible expenses.

The combined number of HSAs, FSAs and HRAs is expected to increase 23 percent from 2017 to 2019. Whether you’re a new accountholder who just wrapped up open enrollment, or you simply re-enrolled and want to take a better approach to your plans in 2019, we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started in your new plan year.

Getting started with pre-tax benefits 

Get to know documentation and substantiation

Substantiation is one of the key distinctions to know. Let’s start by taking a closer look at two key terms, substantiation and documentation.

  • Substantiation is the process in which you submit documentation to prove that an expense you used plan funds on is an eligible expense.
  • Documentation is the physical proof of an expense’s eligibility. The IRS requires your documentation have certain information, including the name of the provider, date of service, type of service and dollar amount. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is a commonly accepted type of documentation.

FSA and HRA participants are required to substantiate their purchases when filing a claim, while HSA participants are not. We do recommend that HSA participants hold on to their documentation for purchases in case they’re ever the subject of an IRS audit.  

For a faster way to have eligible expenses approved, use your Discovery Benefits debit card anywhere that offers an Inventory Information Approval System (IIAS). Simply swipe your card and it will automatically approve anything that’s an eligible expense.

Download the mobile app

More than three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone, so the mobile experience matters when you enroll in pre-tax benefits. The Benefits Mobile App by Discovery Benefits offers much of the same capability you’ll find through your online account, including the ability to check balances, monitor account activity, file claims and make HSA transactions.

You can also use your phone’s camera to scan the bar code of an expense to determine its eligibility or to submit documentation for a claim. Download our app today for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets!

Learn more to maximize your pre-tax benefits

Staying educated throughout the plan year helps you get the most out of your plans. We offer a number of easy ways for you to learn more about your plans, including:

  • Our blog, which offers tips, updates and trends within the industry to help you maximize your participation.
  • Discovery Answers™, which puts information about your plans at your fingertips directly within your online account.
  • Our Employee Resource Center, which includes insightful videos, helpful tools and educational materials.

Check out other blog posts on our website to learn more about employee benefits and how to make them work for you.

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