Filling in Your Benefits Gaps: Using Voluntary Benefits as a "Plug"

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Are you looking for ways to enhance your company’s benefits package, but don’t want to take on the cost burden associated with doing so? Consider offering voluntary benefits. These are the benefits that many of your employees will find value in, will be able to access at discounted rates due to your companies partnerships that they won’t find anywhere else, and your employees will be thankful for the additional coverage, all at little or no cost to you. 

The Value of Voluntary Benefits

More-so now than ever, employers are considering voluntary benefits as an important benefits strategy. Offering such benefits is a way to address the complex and differing needs of employee groups without investing money into a program that won’t get full participation. Voluntary benefits afford employees the ability to customize their benefits package to meet their personal needs and unique lifestyles in a more cost-efficient way. With voluntary benefits employers are able to offer a more robust benefits package at little to no additional cost to themselves, and their employees can secure enhanced coverage at a reduced group rate. Even if as an employer you provide core insurance offerings, employees can choose to increase their coverage by adding voluntary benefits that act as an additional financial safety net to help with expenses that may not be covered by their core plans.

Voluntary benefits can give employees peace of mind when those scary questions arise. For example, many worry about what will happen if they die unexpectedly or are unable to work because of injury or illness. For those worries, Life Insurance or AD&D exist. For those with furry friends, vet bills can be thousands of dollars for procedures and medications, but offering voluntary pet insurance can ease some of the financial hardship. Offering additional lines of coverage can make employees feel at ease. Another bonus? Voluntary benefits vendors do most of the heavy lifting. They want to drive participation so they work with HR to develop communication strategies and voluntary benefits usually are paid for by the employee (or may be cost a cost-sharing benefit) through payroll deductions. 

In a Willis Towers Watson’s 2018 Emerging Trends: Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey, it was found that only 5% of responding employers felt that voluntary benefits would have little to no value if offered to employees. Five years ago, 41% of employers felt this way, which shows that employers are seeing the importance that voluntary benefits play in a benefit strategy. In that same survey, more than two-thirds (69%) of employers reported believing that voluntary benefits will be a very important, or at least a more-important, component of their total rewards strategy in three to five years.

Examples of voluntary benefits our clients are implementing:

  1. Pet Insurance
  2. Home and Auto Insurance
  3. Pre-Paid Legal 
  4. Short/Long Term Disability 
  5. Life
  6. Accidental Death & Dismemberment 
  7. Identity Theft Protection 
  8. Financial Counseling
  9. Hospital Indemnity 
  10. Critical Illness
  11. Tuition Assistance, and so much more

Reasons to Consider Offering Voluntary Benefits

A competitive voluntary benefits package has many benefits by helping your company save money, compete for top talent, and boost employee engagement.

  • Improve your companies overall benefits package: Voluntary benefits fill the gaps in coverage that primary health insurance or retirement savings plans leave open. They also fill in the gaps where coverage may not exist at all, or where it could be improved.
  • Boost your recruiting: Offering voluntary benefits where employees can pick and choose coverage that is important to them appeals and caters to a more diverse workforce, promotes inclusion and can be a differentiator for your company. It shows candidates that you care about their wellbeing beyond that of the typical core insurance plans like medical, dental and vision. 
  • Increase Retention: Employers that offer cost-efficient and flexible coverage are viewed more favorably than employers who do not. As pointed out in our recently published white-paper, Behind the Benefits, when faced with the choice to stay in one position or accept an offer from another company with access to more robust benefits, today’s workforce will happily move on.

Certain insurance coverage can be out of reach for many employees, but when they’re able to buy into it through their employer, it can give them peace of mind. Offering additional coverage through a voluntary benefits package can show employees that you care about their well-being and support their desire to make good decisions for their financial futures.

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