Four Tools for Better Benefits Usage

better benefits usage

Many of you enroll in plans for the first time during open enrollment. “Firsts” are often overwhelming, and once the benefit year begins, you may need help knowing how or where to begin. To make things easier, your employer or benefits administrator might offer four tools for better benefits usage to help you use your benefits better and be happier with them.

Benefits education

No matter what benefits program or educational resources your employer offers, you might still need more information to understand all the rules and regulations that come with them. A good place to start is a list of important words and what they mean. SHRM offers a helpful resource that explains terminology such as:

  • Co-insurance. A percentage of a health care cost — such as 20 percent — that the covered employee pays after meeting the deductible.
  • Co-payment. The fixed dollar amount — such as $25 for each doctor visit — that the covered employee pays for medical services.
  • Deductible. A fixed dollar amount that the covered employee must pay out of pocket each calendar year before the plan will begin reimbursing for non-preventive health expenses. Plans usually require separate limits per person and per family.

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Payment methods

Benefits are easiest to use when you can get to them right away. You can do this by using debit cards, digital wallets, or direct withdrawals. These payment methods make it easier for you to get your money. They can also help people who administer your benefits by making their job easier. That makes it a win-win.

Mobile apps

If your employer offers one or many benefits, you will want to see all your account information right away and in one place. You can do this by using an easy-to-use mobile app. This app lets you see all your accounts and balances, annual elections, contributions, expenses (approved and denied), and account provisions (grace periods, rollover, carryover) on your phone from wherever you are.


The more participants your company has in its benefits program, the more resources you’ll have – the other participants! People who have used the program before can answer questions that you and your coworkers ask. Your employer might set up a company website, a private social media group, or a private messaging group. People who use their benefits well can help you and others who are still learning.

The bottom line

We all want to spend less, get the most out of our spending, and save money. Your benefits administrator has tools for better benefits usage that can help you and your employer do this. If you don’t have these tools, maximizing your benefits can be like trying to hit a home run without a bat. These four tools can make it easier to use your benefits and make you happier with them!