Voluntary Benefits are coming at employees at a significant pace these days as employer-paid benefits become increasingly difficult to maintain. The COVID pandemic, increasing medical deductibles, and desires to retain a strong benefits package are contributing factors to why employers consider these products.
It appears voluntary benefits are going to be dominating the landscapes of the market for years to come. The question, however, remains:
What is the best approach for employers to provide these benefits to employees?
Voluntary Benefits plans have generally been distributed by specialized insurance companies like AFLAC, Colonial, Guardian, etc. For years, employers have analyzed this approach but, far too often, turned it down. The major negatives I have heard are too much time “off the line” with employees, more administrative responsibilities, and “salesy” representatives pushing product instead of actual need.
Benefits brokers knew a different approach had to be developed for employee access to these important benefits. The ones that really looked hard at the reason’s employers were nixing voluntary plans understood that addressing these major concerns would be essential to continuing this discussion with their clients.
Introducing the web-enabled marketplace for voluntary benefits. This experience lands directly at the employee’s feet with 24/7 at-home access to all the products and services, including detailed explanations and videos of each benefit. The employee creates their own account for future buying decisions with an Amazon-style shopping cart experience. There is no employer involvement and no pressure situations – Ever!
- The Marketplace includes an entirely new line of lifestyle benefits such as Pet Insurance, Legal Assistance, and ID Theft Protection – improving affordability and accessibility.
- Traditional Specialty Benefits such as Dental and Vision benefits are offered through the Marketplace. Most small employers rescind these benefits due to cost, time, and/or effort. Part-time employees typically do not have access to these benefits, at all.
- Protections such as Life Insurance and GAP Insurance, that younger generations never paid attention to, are now taking center stage due to the pandemic. Ability to earn a living, death of a family member, and/or financial exposures to higher deductibles, are issues all employees want addressed.
- Employees who were let go suddenly discovered the importance of benefits that could be transported. Before the pandemic, employees felt their next job could replace these protections. When the next job was not there, they had no other options. These Voluntary Benefits provide employees with the opportunity to keep plans if the premiums are paid.
- Employers are seeking out as many opportunities as possible to reduce overall costs, making Voluntary Benefits the only way to enhance benefits plans without increasing their costs.
At Strategic Employer Planning, we have decided to enter this arena alongside of the traditional approach of implementing voluntary benefits. We are now able to offer all of these exciting coverages with our marketplace site – as we look to enhance our clients current benefit packages, not increase their costs, and do this without adding to the burdens of administration. Please feel free to reach out to discuss offering our web-enabled marketplace for your employees!