Building your Benepass benefits program is an exciting time for you and your employees! During this stage of program implementation, this is where you are able to build a program that you have complete control over, while also showing your employees you care about the perks and benefits being offered to them- in a way that meets their needs individually, creatively, and flexibly. In this article, we will go over the main pillars of building out your program, but remember, the sky is the limit here!
What kinds of benefit programs can we build with Benepass?
When it comes to benefits that Benepass offers at this time, there are two main buckets: pre-tax and perks. Pre-tax benefits are benefits that are regulated by the IRS, include certain eligibility and enrollment criteria, and have limits on election amounts and election timelines. The current pre-tax benefits offered by Benepass at this time are:
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
- Health Reimbursement Account
- Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts (HCFSA)
- Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Accounts (LPFSA)
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSA)
- Commuter Parking &
- Commuter Transit
For our perks bucket, this is where you and your administrative team can really get creative! Everything from the perk name, eligibility criteria, contribution/expiration amount and cadence, and what subset of employees you want to offer it to. You can find a few examples below of what some of our current clients offer to their employees under our perks categories:
- Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA)
- Mental Health & Wellbeing
- Work From Home Office Stipend
- Weekly or Monthly Lunch Stipend
- Professional Development & Continued Learning
- Cell Phone & Internet
- Birthday Benefit
- Parental Support & so much more!!
Benefit design: determining eligibility
When it comes to eligibility, this is usually decided upon on more of an overall service or category level, and not so much a particular item or merchant. Using a Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA) as an example here, many of our clients choose to allow services and items to employees under this benefit that enhance the lifestyle of everyone as they deem fit for themself. What this means is, that one individual on your team may find that a gym membership is how they wish to spend their monthly LSA funds, but someone else may find that being able to use their LSA funds on an airline ticket for a weekend getaway is just as fulfilling to them where they are individually at that time. With that, we can open up card spending and reimbursement eligibility to allow for all purchases under airlines and gyms. From there, say you didn't want food or grocery allowed under the LSA, we can just as easily close off food/grocery spending under that perk based on our card ruling system.
If you decide to offer a card spending benefits program, then the teams at Benepass set up those card rules based on the eligibility guidelines created by your teams on a Merchant Category Level. It's important to note here that we cannot set up card rules based on items purchased, and can only go as granular as the Merchant Category or (MCC) in which the merchant has been set up under the Visa spending system. More on spending rules and customization below in the spending category!
Making updates to your benefits program
When it comes to making adjustments or updates to your benefits program- it's just as easy as it was setting them up! We do ask however, that if there are updates made internally such as a new name or eligibility category, you reach out to your Customer Success Manager as soon as possible so we can make the necessary updates on our end. We are happy to make any changes or updates as your benefits program continues to evolve, and keeping Benepass and your CSM in the loop with those decisions will make for the best overall employee experience!
Deciding on the type(s) of spending you want to offer
Generally, there are two main forms of spending with Benepass, direct card spending on a Benepass-provided card, and submitting expenses for reimbursement. When choosing between these methods when setting up your benefits packages- it's important to keep an open mind on what these options mean for your employees.
When it comes to card spending, this is one of the easier ways for employees to access their benefit funds right away. Because card spending happens directly from their pre-loaded benefit balances and their Benepass provided card, this means that there is no paying up front for the employee along with needing to link a personal bank account or, for our international users, waiting for their next paycheck to be reimbursed.
With time on everyone's mind, quickly swiping a Benepass card, and not needing to worry about submitting an expense for reimbursement later, is one of the most beneficial ways for employees to access their perks in a flexible way.
During the onboarding and implementation process, you will talk with your Customer Success Manager in depth about what you want your program eligibility to look like, and we take care of those spending guardrails on our end once they have been decided on.
For example, if you want to offer card spending and reimbursement option for a Wellness perk, but don't want your employees shopping at big box stores such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc for the possibility of ineligible spending- we can make sure that is exactly how card spending is set up! What this means is if your employee tried to swipe their Benepass card at Amazon, it would simply decline and provide the decline reason why on their account. Then, if your employee still wishes to purchase say some yoga equipment from Amazon, they can still use their benefits by purchasing with a personal payment method and then submitting for reimbursement.
With this type of spending rule in place, it gives your employees the flexibility and freedom to use their benefits as they wish, and it gives you the trust that they are spending within the configured benefit guidelines!
If you wish to have a reimbursement-only perks program, we can set that up with you as well during onboarding and implementation. A reimbursement-only option means that your employees will not be given physical or virtual cards and, our US-based users will be instructed to link a personal bank account during their initial account set-up. For our users based outside of the US, the reimbursement process happens via their payroll- on a cadence determined by you. All reimbursements that are submitted through our platform are reviewed by human eyes to ensure what has been submitted falls within program guidelines, and that receipts match the amount requested for reimbursement.
Reimbursement-only programs still offer ways for employees to access their benefits while keeping the account setup a little differently from card-spending programs.
Most of our current clients have chosen to offer both card spending and reimbursement to their employees with Benepass accounts. With the option for both- this is the best way for your employees to access and utilize their benefits in the way that meets their needs in the best way possible.
Another option is to allow card spending for some of your benefits and reimbursement only for others. These are all options your CSM will walk you through during the benefit design stage.
Questions? We are happy to help! Please reach out to the Benepass Admin Support Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.