Voluntary Benefits Menu Is Bigger and Better Than Ever
It turns out that there is life beyond major medical. This is important for employers to take to heart because some of the other forms of employer benefits will soon take on increased importance in the medical insurance landscape in workers eyes. The reason: Once the employer mandates for the Affordable Care Act become effective, almost every good-sized employer will have to offer a major medical plan. Even where they don’t, workers with health concerns will be able to buy them off of federal or state exchanges (assuming they will be fully functional by then!)
At that point, your voluntary benefits package will take on much greater importance in the eyes of your work force. To recruit and retain the very best, most profitable employees, you should consider offering one of the very best, most robust menus of employee benefits – including employee-paid voluntary benefits, which you can provide at no cost to you, the employer.
Why offer voluntary benefits?
According to the 2013 MetLife Survey of Trends in Employee Benefits, 65 percent of employees report that their group life, dental and disability insurance plans (short-term and long-term) were important reasons to stay with the company. Furthermore, over six in ten – 62 percent – report that these benefit packages were important reasons they chose to join those firms in the first place.
Carriers and brokers offer online calculators and decision-making tools – designed to help minimize the need for day-to-day handholding on the part of your human resources staff.
Almost everyone knows to ask about health insurance now. But there is a wide array of less well-known benefits that have proven to be enormously popular, where offered, and are proven contributors to employee recruiting and retention. You can offer many of these benefits with little or no incremental costs simply by tacking them onto your existing benefits administrative systems.
- College savings plans
- Identity theft protection
- Fitness club memberships
- Ticket discount programs
- Legal services insurance
- Critical illness insurance
- Supplemental medical insurance, such as accident, hospital indemnity and cancer insurance
- Limited medical plans
- Tuition assistance plans
- Disability insurance
- Smoking cessation and weight loss programs
- Voluntary term life insurance
- Voluntary whole life insurance or universal life insurance (with cash values)
- Computer purchase and financing programs
- Auto financing programs
- Pet insurance
And much more.
Carriers are adding innovative solutions all the time. In the end, you can be confident that each of your employees will find a close match with their own interests and desires. For example, more and more employers are learning that lenders are willing to extend credit on better terms to employed individuals paying by payroll deduction rather than via more traditional means. This is beginning to make itself felt in increasingly common computer purchase programs and programs for auto and home insurance.
The right mix for you depends on your employee demographic, income and education levels. If it’s been a while since you’ve explored the voluntary benefits and cafeteria/Section 125 options available to you, chances are you will find there has been a lot of innovation and development since then.
If you are looking for new ideas to enhance employee loyalty and help retain the best talent possible, voluntary benefit programs, available at little or no cost to the employer, are better and more powerful than ever.