The business community is no stranger to change. Many industries have experienced explosive transition in recent years with changing government regulations, economic challenges, increased pressure to reduce costs and rapid technological advances. Even the nation’s workforce has changed. Today’s employees are more diverse demographically, better educated and more interested in making their own benefits decisions.
Times are changing and businesses are changing, too. One solution to address changing needs is adding voluntary benefits to your benefits program. Voluntary benefits can give you a way to control costs and meet employee needs. Although these may seem like contradictory goals, voluntary benefits help you achieve both. These types of benefits are offered to employees at the worksite along with the benefits you provide. You can pay all or some of the premiums or your employees can pay all the premiums for the products they choose.
Voluntary benefits can help
Voluntary benefits allow businesses to offer an enhanced benefits package and give employees the flexibility they want. In addition, voluntary benefits offer many advantages to employers, including a more attractive benefits package that can help you recruit and retain qualified, professional employees. When combined with the convenience of payroll-deducted premiums, voluntary benefits make an exciting addition to an employee’s existing benefits package.
Voluntary benefits can also help employees who may have coverage gaps. For example, if your company-provided group health insurance has a high deductible, you may want to offer employees a voluntary hospital confinement indemnity plan that would pay benefits for an inpatient hospital stay. The employee could use the benefits to cover the deductible and other out-of-pocket medical expenses. Or if you provide a flat amount of group life insurance, you could offer voluntary life insurance for employees who may need more coverage. Most voluntary benefits plans pay benefits directly to the insured. Then, the insured can use the benefits to pay for expenses not covered by group benefits or for other nonmedical expenses, such as the mortgage, electricity bills, home health care, rehabilitation, travel to treatment centers, groceries and more.
Benefits communication is critical
A good benefits package is critical to helping retain and attract quality employees. But the benefits you provide are meaningless unless employees understand them. With reductions in human resources staffs during the past few years, this important element of a successful benefits plan has often been left undone. Get the most value out of your benefits investment by making sure your employees understand and appreciate the benefits you provide.
Choose a voluntary benefits provider carefully
When choosing a voluntary benefits partner to help you develop a benefits program strategy, you should consider the following:
- Expertise in voluntary benefits.
- A broad portfolio of insurance plans to help employees insure any coverage gaps.
- A financially stable company.
- Payroll deduction of premiums.
- The ability to communicate your existing benefits, highlight any changes and communicate the new voluntary benefits.
- Multi-facility enrollment capabilities (if applicable).
- Prompt claims-paying record.
- Excellent service reputation.
Advantages of Voluntary Benefits
Voluntary benefits — personal insurance offered at the worksite and paid for and selected by employees — offer employers many advantages.
- A more comprehensive and competitive benefits program.
- Reduced pressure to increase employer-paid benefits.
- Strategies for better managing your benefits program budget.
- A benefits program that meets the individual needs of employees.
- Improved employee morale.
- A more attractive benefits package that helps employers recruit and retain quality, professional employees.
About the author
Matt Hickman is a Broker Development Partner and Benefits Advisor for The Meehan Agency.
The Meehan Agency is a market leader in providing benefits communication and enrollment solutions for group health brokers and their clients. The agency’s employee benefits services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support thousands of businesses and organizations, representing tens of thousands of America’s workers and their families.
For more information contact The Meehan Agency at +1.866.ENROLL.0, visit themeehanagency.com or connect with the agency at www.facebook.com/makebenefitscount/ or www.linkedin.com/company/make-benefits-count/.