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R&R Insurance Blog

7 Reasons to Add Voluntary Group Products to Your Benefits Strategy

Posted by Stephanie Riesch-Knapp

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 03:36 AM

ThinkTwiceVoluntary benefits enable employers to offer their employees the ability to choose from a menu of benefits that meet the employee’s needs, even if the employees pay the full cost of those benefits. Offering voluntary benefits for your employees through a group purchase platform can be better for both you and the employee.

Here are 7 great reasons to add voluntary products to your benefits strategy:

  1. Voluntary benefits are not just for large accounts.
    Today carriers are much more eager to offer opportunities to smaller or medium sized businesses, and third party administrators can be used to relieve any burden on the employer’s human resources department. (Historically, carriers were only interested in selling these plans to large employers, and only big employers had the resources to administer multiple benefit streams.)
  2. Voluntary benefits work well for both fully funded and self-insured clients.
    In either scenario, voluntary benefits are a way to fill in the coverage gaps for employees who want supplemental benefits that are not provided within the plan. Voluntary benefits can also help in the negotiation process utilizing the voluntary products that reinsurers offer. Sometimes bundling can help seal the deal or sweeten the offer for your plan negotiations.
  3. Voluntary benefits are ideal for clients moving to defined contribution plans.
    In a defined contribution model, employees receive a set amount of funding to purchase the benefits that best fit their needs. For this approach to succeed, employers need to offer a wide variety of voluntary benefits that extend beyond the primary health care coverage. These could include dental plans, vision coverage, life insurance, accident insurance, critical illness insurance and even lifestyle products such as pet insurance, gym membership, ID theft protection or legal advice. These options will make the transition from full health care coverage to defined contribution benefits much easier for employees.
  4. Voluntary Benefits can offer higher guarantee issue limits.
    A guaranteed issue limit is the maximum amount for which an insurance company will insure an individual without receiving information concerning their insurability, i.e. a medical exam. Any time you can get higher limits without proving insurability - that's a good thing!
  5. Voluntary benefits offer fewer underwriting hassles.
    Guaranteed issue limits which don't require proof of insurability reduces the paperwork and underwriting headaches associated with processing applications that require underwriting scrutiny. Therefore - faster enrollment and quicker turn-around for HR administration. With everything else on the HR plate - less is certainly more!
  6. Voluntary benefits usually offer lower premiums than can be obtained through individual policies.
    Voluntary benefits purchased in bulk - or in group packages will offer group discounts or often times better products from which employees can choose. If employees where to purchase, for instance, dental coverage on their own, the pricing for an individual policy would be prohibitive. Offering affordable voluntary benefits for employees that won't break their budget, but yet give them the coverage they need, is a terrific benefit for employers to consider.
  7. BONUS: many of these benefits can be paid with pre-tax dollars, which is a plus for both the employee and the employer.

Change always brings opportunities, and smart companies are adapting by using different strategies to continue to improve their benefit plans, and attract and retain the talent they need to succeed. Voluntary benefits are one more tool that can help them succeed.

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Voluntary Benefits to the Rescue

 

Topics: Employee Benefits, Life Insurance, Health Reform, Voluntary Benefits, voluntary group products, critical illness insurance, dental plans, accident insurance, vision coverage, guarantee issue limit, stephanie riesch-knapp

Ease Pain of Reform for Employees: Offer Generationally Attractive Voluntary Benefits

Posted by Stephanie Riesch-Knapp

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 02:55 AM

family with babyThere is no doubt that voluntary benefits have moved into the benefits mainstream. Today, voluntary benefits are rightly regarded as a high value benefit strategy by both employers and their employees. Voluntary benefits satisfy employee preference for more benefits choice without adding to a company’s benefits budget.

The biggest challenge with voluntary benefits is choosing the right products that will drive employee participation and satisfaction during this time of extreme workforce diversity – one that is multigenerational, at different life stages and experiencing different economic circumstances, and at a time of immense changes in benefits offerings. There are now four generations in the workforce with a variety of personal needs, as well as fundamental differences in attitudes and expectations that will shape the future of voluntary benefits.

How should voluntary benefits be mixed and matched to provide a flexible product suite with broad appeal? What features will drive positive participation? Psychological, emotional and economic issues come into play in any purchase decision and the decision to open one’s wallet to buy a voluntary benefit is no exception.

A voluntary benefit must offer a solution to a real-life problem that could be experienced by the employee. It is important to offer a broad and rich portfolio of voluntary benefit products to enable individuals to identify “benefits that work for me” in the available mix. Voluntary benefit options that seem more personally relevant can contribute to an employee feeling more valued by the employer and more loyal to the organization.

Insurance needs change with life transitions – a new baby, a teen driver, or divorce. Help employees navigate this by connecting their new needs with a suggested suite of relevant benefit solutions to consider as changes occur - a generational approach.

Examples of generationally appropriate features could include guaranteed issue with no eligibility restrictions for pre-existing conditions, which might be more important for an older workforce. Whereas portability of the benefits may appeal more to younger workers who expect to change jobs more often.

In the end, designing the optimal voluntary benefit strategy is not only good for your employees; it also has advantages for the business. It contributes to a robust and competitive benefits program to attract and retain talent without adding to benefit costs. And it generates goodwill towards the company which can translate into increased employee loyalty and productivity.

For more information about voluntary benefits and their increasing role within today's benefits landscape, contact knowledgebroker Stephanie Riesch-Knapp.

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Voluntary Benefits to the Rescue!

Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Reform, Voluntary Benefits, generational approach, stephanie riesch-knapp, Business Insurance