Voluntary benefits are insurance products that enhance the total benefits package offered to employees. Also known as supplemental insurance, employees can elect to buy voluntary benefits to help fill the gaps left by the core benefits they may receive. Voluntary benefits are a win-win for employees and employers. Here’s how.
WIN: Voluntary benefits help employees protect what matters
There are many types of voluntary benefits available to employees, each of which helps protect employees from certain health and financial risks. Here’s a list of some common types of voluntary benefits:
- Cancer insurance: Pays benefits when cancer is diagnosed, plus benefits for treatments, hospitalizations, transportation, lodging and more.
- Heart / stroke insurance: Pays benefits for heart- or stroke-related hospitalization, heart transplant, surgery, nursing care and medications.
- Critical illness insurance: Offers more complete protection against common diseases like cancer, heart attack, stroke and end-stage renal failure.
- Hospital indemnity insurance: Helps pay for hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) stays.
- Accident insurance: Helps cover the out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred due to injuries such as broken bones, burns, lacerations and more.
- Short-term disability: Helps cover expenses when employee is unable to work due to illness or injury.
- GAP: Provides benefits for coinsurance, copays and other gaps left by high-deductible medical plans.
- Life insurance: Pays cash benefits to help cover final expenses, lost income, debt, education expenses, retirement and more.
What makes voluntary benefits such as these unique is that when benefits are paid, the money is paid directly to employees, not doctors or hospitals. Employees can use cash benefits for any purpose. They may be used for covering deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, non-covered treatments and everyday living expenses. At a time when only 39% of Americans have enough money to cover a $1,000 setback using their savings, cash benefits can mean keeping bills paid, food on the table, and the lights on.1 This financial buffer has led 71% of workers to say they worry less about unexpected health and financial issues thanks to their benefits.2
Perhaps even more valuable than financial protection, voluntary benefits can also help employees protect their health. According to a recent study, 44% of Americans have skipped a recommended medical test or treatment in the last 12 months due to cost. Another 32% were unable to fill a prescription or took less of a medication because of the cost.3 And when it comes to cancer, the high cost of cancer care in the U.S. has led more than one-quarter of patients to cut back on some part of their treatment.4 But with cash benefits from supplemental insurance, employees are more likely to receive the care they need, when they need it, knowing that their benefits will help fill the gaps.
In addition, some supplemental health insurance products feature wellness benefits. Wellness benefits are payable for preventive health screenings, which can help employees discover new and developing health risks. With screening results, employees can work with their doctor to develop a wellness plan to reduce their risk and improve or maintain their health.
WIN: Voluntary benefits help employers attract and retain talent
Over the past several years, the benefits landscape has evolved greatly. Today’s workers expect more from employers when it comes to benefits. According to Glassdoor, around 60% of people report that benefits are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer.5 In addition, 78% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefits program.6
Cutting-edge companies are constantly looking for new benefits to attract and retain the best talent. Onsite personal care, nap pods and fur-ternity leave are examples of modern workplace benefits that companies offer to set themselves apart from the crowd.
Small- to midsized businesses may feel like they can’t keep up with benefits trends such as these, but they shouldn’t underestimate how attractive supplemental insurance is to workers. Products such as cancer insurance, hospital insurance and life insurance may not be flashy, but they provide practical and necessary financial protection.
And this financial protection comes at an affordable price. Premiums for supplemental insurance typically cost just dollars a paycheck, and can be paid via flexible funding options:
» 100% employer paid—Employers can help bridge the gap left by an entry-level health care offering.
» 100% employee paid—Employees can purchase benefits that best suit their needs.
» A combination of both—Employees can enhance their coverage while employers manage their bottom line.
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1Bankrate, Most Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $1k emergency, https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-0118/, January 18, 2018.
2Lifecare, The Secrets to Better Benefits Utilization & ROI, https://www.lifecare.com/2019/01/the-secrets-to-better-benefits-utilization-roi/, January 2019.
3Forbes, Poll: 44% of Americans Skip Doctor Visits Because of Cost, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2018/03/26/poll-44-of-americans-skip-doctor-visits-due-to-cost/#67cb9a286f57, March 26, 2018.
4WebMD, Many Cancer Patients Skip Treatments Due to Cost, https://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20171024/many-cancer-patients-skip-treatments-due-to-cost#1, October 24, 2017.
5Glassdoor via Blue Signal, Benefits & Incentives Job Seekers Actually Care About, https://bluesignal.com/2021/03/18/benefits-and-incentives/, 2021.
6Willis Towers Watson, Employees are more likely to stay with their employers when offered a group benefit marketplace, https://www. willistowerswatson.com/en-US/insights/2018/08/ employee-and-employer-satisfaction-with-group-benefit-marketplaces-survey-results, August 2018.
This material provides general information about the described insurance product(s) for educational purposes only. This is not intended as investment advice or to recommend the insurance product(s).