What is it?
The benchmark is a plan and or program that the employer uses to determine how much taxable wages to provide to each employee. Typically, the benchmark is similar to the group insurance plan the employer has in place today. The benchmark is used to help the employer feel comfortable with the taxable wages they provide to their employees.
Do employees have to choose the benchmark?
No. Employees do not have to choose the benchmark plan or program, nor do they have to use the funds for insurance at all. The benchmark is only used to help the employer determine how much taxable wages to provide to each employee. The employees are not required to use the wage increase for health insurance.
The employer in this situation benchmarked to a Kaiser Bronze 60 HDHP on the individual ACA Marketplace. The benefits are comparable and each employees wage increase will be arrived at by quoting the benchmark plan.