It’s always nice to find out you have free money, especially when you didn’t have to do anything crazy to get it. Last summer, I was able to get a lot of free money, just by taking advantage of my new employers health related programs.
With my new company, I was subject to some lucrative benefits for signing up with the new company’s “get fit” program. While at times it can seem intrusive, there are perks as well. One of which was that I got $250 put into my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) simply from signing up. It was really simple. I just went online, created an account and input basic data; height, weight, activity level, blood pressure (if you know it), etc… and then I got my “Fitness Age”. The company doesn’t have access to my specific info, rather they just know how many employees are using the programs.
BUT, by creating that account and answering a couple questions, it was a free $250. As an added bonus, when I linked my fit-bit pedometer to the program, I earn points just for my normal day to day activity. I was even able to earn more points by clicking through online questionnaires and “learning modules” about eating healthy, exercise, alcohol use, weight loss, stress management, etc… Seriously, this is all sponsored and promoted through work. I mean, they don’t mind that you do these things at work, as long as you’re not behind. They also sponsor on-site health fairs, blood panel screenings, and other “get fit” programs a couple of times throughout the year, but the best part is that you can convert the points into cash in an online shopping mall. They even have Amazon gift cards!
The best part about those points is you earn levels, and they make your points to cash ratio better! Between June and December of last year, I managed to work up to $75 worth of points. And, because I’d done enough modules, I was in the Platinum group. Yeah, Platinum!! That got me another free $50 totaling $125. Along with the $250 in my FSA, I had gotten $375 just for participating in my company’s health focus initiative program.
Unfortunately, I’d forgotten all about the $250 in the FSA until I got a nice reminder email earlier this month. It read, “This is a reminder that all submissions for re-imbursement through your FSA are due by the end of March. If not used, this money will be retained by your provider. Our records indicate you have an outstanding balance in your account.”
I went online, got some forms and then emailed Mrs. SSC, so she could do the hard work of slogging through months of receipts and bills to see if we had anything we could use that for. Of course we did, as the medical spending last year was pretty high with a lot out of pocket expense. After some perusing of past statements, receipts, and more, Mrs. SSC found $250 worth of reimbursable charges, and it got mailed off. Hooray, free money!
Overall, it is really nice to have a company that will give you those incentives to stay healthy. I totally understand it saves them money in the long run, but listening to my retired Father-in-Law talk about his work environment, lack of work life balance, and the downright dictatorship of his company during his career makes me really appreciate what we have now. I’ve dealt with poor benefits, no benefits, horrible bosses, and horrible work environments, so I am grateful to have these programs through this company. It boggles my mind though why more people don’t take advantage of it though. I showed a new co-worker, Melissa, how it is super easy to go online, sign up, link your fit-bit (which she uses), and crank out 300 points by clicking through some modules. Her reaction, “Meh, it seems like a lot of work…” Yep, I thought, a whole lot of work… *
Everyone has their price point though, right? What seems like no work to me evidently is too much drudgery for Melissa to earn that “small” of a reward. Like me and pennies. I will pass by a penny on the street and think, “Oh, a penny!” and then keep walking and not pick it up. However, a nickel, dime, or quarter, I’d stoop down and grab it! Maybe you would pick up the penny though and think I’m an idiot for passing it by. We all have our price point.
* – It’s only April and I’m already at Silver level and have $65 earned!!
Have you experienced free money for little to no work?
Have you forgotten about a balance in your FSA and had to scramble to not lose it?
Would you use these programs or do you see them as too intrusive?