In the last couple of years, maximizing health care spending and wellness accounts have been vital for employers’ health and wellness initiatives.
The public health crisis has taken a toll on physical and mental health. Employers are maximizing offerings by increasing the dollar amount allotted to health and wellness accounts. They are also broadening the eligible services covered under wellness accounts to help employees endure the prolonged health crisis.
HSAs (Health Spending Accounts) are limited to items that fall under the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of eligible medical expenses because the Income Tax Act governs them. WSAs (Wellness Spending Accounts) are different in that the CRA does not govern them. Eligible expenses can be reimbursed on a non-taxable basis — except for Quebec, where they’re subject to the provincial sales tax.
HSA vs WSA
A HSA provides a non-taxable alternative or supplementation to a traditional benefits plan. HSA eligible expenses are vast, ranging from dental, vision, professional services, & hospital bills.
A WSA is an opportunity for employers to support their employee’s wellness by distributing benefit dollars (taxable) for non-medical wellness expenses. Employees will be more likely to live healthier if they have a WSA account which makes gym memberships, holistic medicine, and personal development courses more affordable.
Maximizing Health Care Spending through a HSA
Some employers are leveraging their HSAs by topping up the maximum so some or all of employees’ medical or dental-care costs can run through the account.
While traditional benefits packages offer no refunds and hold great uncertainty of total benefit amounts and yearly increases or decreases, HSAs benefit amounts are fixed with refund (rollover) options. Employers can then set the appropriate maximum because of the transparency of employee health and wellness spending.
According to The Sanofi Healthcare Survey January 2020, 82% of traditional health care members wanted access to HSAs. These Employees are seeing their current benefits, especially for cases where their health or dental plan health does not cover the wellness services or procedures, or there’s an excess balance not covered. They want an HSA that has more flexibility and can still cover the excess balance.
Wellness accounts allow employers to be creative with employee support tools and illustrate company values and culture. They can also be used as an incentive tool.
Read: Six Lesser-Known Flexible Wellness Spending Account Options for Your Employees
A flexible wellness WSA can include vastly different expenses for wellness-related activities and services tailored to employees. Examples include music equipment, Smoking cessation programs, certified instruction like personal training or swimming lessons, holistic health services like natural supplements, child/family care, and work seminars like professional development.
A WSA plan for employees can boost engagement and, as a result, productivity. It can provide a proactive de-stressor to employees as they allocate funds for whatever they want/need from a wellness perspective. Employees using a WSA use the funds to help break a potentially stress-fueled lifestyle that’s draining their energy, hurting their productivity, and depleting their well-being.
However, employees may need help coming up with ideas for wellness and health. Let’s say you installed a fancy new coffee machine in the employee lounge without telling anyone. Likely, not many will know how to use it. What good is a benefit that employees never use correctly or at all? We are not saying a coffee machine is on the same level as your employee’s health care benefits, but it is only a perk if used. As an employer, ensuring employees understand and benefit from compensation elements means they can reap maximum HSA and WSA benefits.
When employees feel appreciated and actively achieve their personal goals, morale, productivity, and motivation rise. Employers’ role in helping their employees achieve this is through maximizing health care spending. Does your employee benefits plan include a predictable yet flexible solution attractive to you and your team? Not sure? Contact the team at HSA Easy Pay Ltd. for a free consultation or to request a demo. We provide an HSA Prepaid Mastercard solution for businesses of any size to ease the stresses for your entire team!
Healthcare is stressful enough. Paying for it shouldn’t be.