I am pretty lucky. I’m going to state that right up front. I am already wildly rich, by global standards, I have the good fortunate to live in a country with a public health care system, and on top of all that, I have a very good benefits package from my employer. Chances are, yours is pretty good too.
Have you ever looked into the details?
It’s one thing to set out to get the most out of your benefits, which can require a bit of effort. It’s another thing to be missing out on some awesome opportunities, or, much worse, be paying out of pocket for things you could be getting for free! (Or have subsidized.)
A few roles ago at my current company, I sat not too far from a photocopier/fax machine. I got to chat with a bunch of my friends and coworkers when they were in the area. One guy, let’s call him Ben, was making some copies in order to submit some extended health benefits claims. Due to my role and because I was interested in it, I had (and still have) a fairly good handle on our benefits. Lots of people ask me questions about it, still.
It turns out that Ben was going to submit some acupuncture receipts to this portion of our benefits that we call an HSA. This is NOT the American HSA tax shelter for healthcare expenses. At my company, it’s a personal slush fund that can be spent on qualifying medical expenses (as thusly deemed by the CRA). We can use this money to pay for the 20% of prescriptions that aren’t covered, or the annual $100 deductible, or the extra that glasses cost over the bi-annual allotment. I digress.
He was going to “spend” money he didn’t have to!
We get 80/20 (80% is covered, 20% is not) coverage of up to $500 per year paid out for acupuncture. I told Ben all about it, and saved him $500 in the process!
Other practitioners for whom we get the same style coverage? Properly registered massage therapists, physiotherapy, naturopaths, chiropodists (I don’t even know where I could find one!), chiropractors, osteopaths, podiatrists, speech therapists, and podiatrist surgeries. Wow. Some people get unlimited massage therapy covered through their benefits. Sometimes it requires a doctor’s note, many times it does not. Can you imagine missing out on a free (or nearly free) massage, all because you didn’t look into your medical benefits at all?
On that note, I need to make a massage appointment!
Adding up all of those service types with a $500 cap per year (one $500 per practitioner for me and another $500 per practitioner for my spouse, by the way), I could spend up to $5000 in a year, for a cost to me of only $1000, and even less if I covered part with my HSA account. If you are able to cover the remaining 20% via your partner’s benefits, you’re off to the races.
$5000 of services, for free, just for knowing the details. Of note, no, I won’t be making use of a speech therapist and I don’t even know where to find any of the foot-people on the list.
This is after-tax money, too. I would need to make an extra $6500 or so to pay for these services out of my own pocket. Utilizing benefits like these is a great way to live like the Joneses, without the pay cheque!
Do your benefits cover anything awesome like massages?