Make Sense of Benefits Alphabet Soup
Sometimes benefits documents seem to be nothing but acronyms. To help you swim through this alphabet soup, we’re sharing a few of the most common benefits abbreviations, along with a quick explanation of each.
- COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act): The law that allows you to continue your health insurance after you leave a job.
- DME (Durable Medical Equipment): Things like wheelchairs, crutches, oxygen tanks, etc.
- EAP (Employee Assistance Program): A program many employers offer to help workers address work-life challenges, get professional services and more.
- EOB (Explanation of Benefits): The document you receive after a covered healthcare service. It shows the original cost of the service, your cost after insurance, deductibles and co-payments, etc.
- FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act): The law that ensures that employees are protected from losing their job if they need to take time off due to serious illness or to care for a family member or newborn.
- FSA (Flexible Spending Account): A pre-tax account used to pay for expenses such as healthcare, parking, education and childcare.
- HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan): A health plan that keeps premiums low by setting deductibles high.
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act): The rule that protects your personal medical information.
- HRA (Health Reimbursement Account): A savings account your employer might offer to help manage certain medical expenses.
- HSA (Health Savings Account): An account you use to set aside pre-tax dollars for health needs.
- LTD (Long-Term Disability): Insurance that provides an employee with a percentage of their income in the event they are unable to work for an extended period of time.
- PCP (Primary Care Physician/Provider): Your doctor, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, etc.
- PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): A group of physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers that contract with an insurer to provide services at a reduced cost.
- QLE (Qualifying Life Event): A life event (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth of a child, change in employment) that qualifies you to make changes to benefits coverage outside the open enrollment period.
- STD (Short-Term Disability): Insurance that provides an employee with a percentage of their income in the event they are unable to work for a defined amount of time (often about six months).