Voluntary benefit plans are not a fad that will quietly go away. They are here to stay. And more employers are realizing they offer a win-win opportunity for both them and their employees.
Here are four reasons why a growing number of employers are instituting Voluntary Benefits plans for their employees:
1. Voluntary benefits offer employers a solution for beefing up their benefit package without adding cost to the bottom line.
Rising health care costs and a difficult economy have driven employers to re-evaluate the way they provide and fund benefits to their employees. As with the retirement market, where defined-benefit pension plans have given way to employee-funded retirement accounts, responsibility for benefits decisions and funding is shifting to employees.
Voluntary benefits give employees options for additional coverage beyond a group offering without impacting an employer’s bottom line. And to show how impactful this trend has been, despite a tough economy, sales of voluntary benefits industry-wide grew 3.3 percent between 2008 and 2009, with some insurers reporting 14 to 34 percent increases.
2. Voluntary benefits allow employees to choose coverage that suits their needs.
Today’s workforce is a diverse group of widely varying ages that has redefined family, brought an array of cultural backgrounds to the workplace and ended the era of the “one-size-fits-all” benefits package. Offering a broad, flexible range of benefits is critical to meeting the needs of this workforce and maintaining a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Voluntary products allow employees to customize their benefits packages to create this flexibility. For example, they allow younger employees to select accident insurance, and expectant mother to access more life insurance, and a mid-career or older employee to pick critical illness coverage. Supplemental health plans offer employees an affordable way to help protect their finances from the high cost of an illness or injury.
3. With voluntary benefits, employers can offer an integrated approach to a suite of products.
As cost-shifting has accelerated, many employers who are looking for ways to share benefits costs with employees have been hesitant from trying worksite products because of the perceived complexity. Broad Reach Benefits can help by utilizing an integrated approach to group and voluntary benefits that helps to address this perception. Instead of “selling” benefits to employees, we educate your employees to understand the benefits and the needs that these products can fill. Then, your employees can make an informed decision about their families particular needs.
We can put a suite of products on a single platform that helps with simplicity by combining common benefits enrollment, education, billing and life changes across all products. But it also provides a blend of funding options that gives employers even greater flexibility in controlling and predicting costs.
Broad Reach Benefits can provide more than just a list of carrier and product options. In an environment where employees may be making their own benefits decisions, employers not only need product recommendations, but also need help identifying the carriers that have the right education, technology and service infrastructure in place.
4. Employers like the value-added benefits of voluntary products.
An additional benefit of the voluntary solution is the value added by quality benefits education. Education is a simple and truly effective way employers can show employees that they value the energy and effort they give their work, and adding voluntary products is another opportunity to communicate to employees about benefits. In addition, research shows that employees who feel valued by their employer also feel loyal, have positive perceptions of their company and have higher levels of workplace satisfaction and productivity.
Please let us know if you’d like to explore how employer sponsored, yet employee funded voluntary benefits offerings can improve the safety net for your employees without adding to the your company’s benefit costs.