How to Get Started with StretchDollar (Employee)

Guide for Employees

StretchDollar offers a new way for small employers and their people to access health insurance that provides more flexibility for everyone. 

First, some basics: how StretchDollar works

With StretchDollar, your employer provides you pre-tax dollars every month to reimburse you for the premiums you pay for a health insurance plan you choose from the marketplace. StretchDollar offers these pre-tax benefits through an ICHRA or individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement. Learn all the nitty gritty details about ICHRAs in our Not-So-Boring Guide to ICHRA.

StretchDollar also helps employees find the perfect health plan if they need assistance. (We've got you covered.)

Getting started with StretchDollar

You should have received two emails from StretchDollar. You’ll need these emails to access your account and get started. These include:

  • Your Benefits Portal account verification and access. (This is what you’ll use to access the portal to submit reimbursement requests for your premium costs.)
  • Your Welcome email that includes a link to start shopping for health plans on the marketplace.

IMPORTANT!  You cannot accept your employer’s StretchDollar health benefit dollars AND receive a premium tax credit. Not sure if you’re eligible for a premium tax credit? Find out before you enroll with this calculator.

What’s a premium tax credit? It's a discount to help individuals and families afford health insurance. The tax credit is provided by the government to help people pay for premiums of health insurance plans purchased on the marketplace. Click here to learn more.

Set up your Benefits Portal in 5 steps

#1 Sign in and set a password! You should have received an email inviting you to join your company in the StretchDollar Benefits Portal. Can’t find your invite? Check your spam folder!

You’ll need to click the link and immediately set your own password. (If you don’t set up a password and try to do it later, you may be unable to log in.)

Note: Your invitation to the StretchDollar Benefits Portal expires within 72 hours. It’s important that you click the email and set up your password and account as soon as you receive the email. 

If you’re unable to login (for example, because your invitation link expired or because you didn’t set up your password right away), reach out to your company’s admin and ask them to resend the invite to you. Or, email us at This is what the email will look like.

#2 Once you’ve set up your account, you'll be asked if you wish to accept or waive your StretchDollar benefits. (Don't worry, you have 60 days to change your mind.)

Some things you may want to consider when deciding whether to accept or waive your StretchDollar benefits are: 

  • The amount of StretchDollar benefits you are being offered and whether they are considered affordable;
  • Whether you are eligible for government premium tax credits and if so, how much; and
  • Whether you want to be covered under your own health insurance policy using StretchDollar benefits or stay on a spouse’s group policy. (Consider switching from your spouse’s policy? Read this.)

If you have any additional questions or need help understanding your options, feel free to reach out to and we can help!

If you select “waive,” you’re all done. No further action is needed!

Waive or enroll screen

If you accept your StretchDollar benefits, continue with the following steps to complete your account setup.

#3 Link your bank account. This is the bank account where your health benefit dollars will be deposited once you request reimbursement from your employer. 

  1. Click "Account".
  2. Click  the “Connect Bank” button and follow the directions. (Note: If your bank is not listed, follow these instructions for a manual setup.)

You’ll also receive an email that confirms your bank account was successfully added.

#4 Shop and enroll in  a health plan on the marketplace within 60 days of your StretchDollar benefits start date. (Already have a health plan purchased from the individual marketplace? Skip this step and move to #5.)

Click the link in your Welcome Email to taken to your state’s health insurance marketplace to start shopping. Need help? Contact

Remember, your health benefit dollars will not be included in the health plan premium cost you see while shopping. You’ll have to do a little bit of math to figure out your total out-of-pocket cost each month. (For simplicity, that math is: monthly premium MINUS your StretchDollar benefit dollars = total monthly cost to you.)

What to expect when shopping on the marketplace

  • Enter personal details. You’ll need to include age, social security number and zip code for yourself and anyone else you’ll be covering under your plan. 
  • Household income question. This is to see if you qualify for a premium tax credit. Want to check beforehand if you qualify for a premium tax credit? Use this calculator. Reminder: If you do qualify, you cannot accept your employer’s health benefit and your StretchDollar benefits. You’ll need to choose one or the other. See more helpful info here.
  • Question about tobacco use. 
  • Proof of qualifying life event. When you are newly eligible for StretchDollar ICHRA benefits, you are able to enroll in health coverage through something called a “qualifying life event”. This is a fancy term that means that you qualify to enroll in health coverage outside of open enrollment.  If you get asked for proof of that qualifying life event, the Employee Notice is that proof, which can be found in the Document Center of your Benefits Portal. 
    • Note: you’ll also need some of the information on your Employee Notice to fill out this section of the enrollment form such as the ICHRA start date and date of the employee notice.

Once you’ve enrolled in a health plan, make sure to pay your first month’s premium amount to your health insurance carrier.

#5 Enroll in Auto-Reimbursements. Follow the steps below to have your health benefit dollars sent to your bank account around the first business day of every month. You must have your health plan invoice to complete this step.

  1. Click Auto-Reimbursement (#1)
  2. Select "Set up Auto-Reimbursement" (#2)
  3. Complete the information in the form and upload your invoice.

Note: Funds are drawn from the business bank account on the 25th of the month for distributions around the 1st. If you enroll after the 25th, your automatic reimbursements will start on the 1st of the second following month (around 35 days later). For example, if you enroll on Feb 26, you'll need to submit a manual reimbursement for March, as your automatic reimbursements will start April 1. 

What happens next? 

Your admin will get an email alert to review the enrollment application. Once approved, employees and admins can kick back and relax - the benefit dollars will be deposited into employees' bank accounts around the first business day of each month, like clockwork.

Have questions? Contact your StretchDollar team at

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