United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Strategic Benefits Communication: Integrating Voluntary Products Into Benefit Planning – Part Three of a Five-Part Series

Posted by: Kevin D. Seeker, GBA    May 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

So far in our blog series we have discussed measuring success in communicating benefits as well as personalizing communications to employees and their needs. This month, we will look at how voluntary products have evolved to complement your overall benefit plan design.

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Topics: voluntary benefits, benefit plan design, total rewards package, employee benefit communication

Getting the Most Out of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Posted by: Nancy Cannon, LCSW, LMHP, CEAP    Apr 6, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Many employers understand the value of having an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) since the heart and soul of organizations are employees. Employees who are physically and mentally healthy, highly productive, engaged in their work, and loyal to their employer contribute positively to their employer’s bottom line. Fortunately, most employees are positive contributors, yet even the best of employees can occasionally have issues or circumstances arise that may inadvertently impact their jobs in a negative way. Having an EAP in place that can address these issues early may mitigate any negative impact to the workplace. This is a win-win for both employees and employers.

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Topics: voluntary benefits, Employee Assistance Programs, EAP

The Changing Landscape of Employee Benefits

Posted by: Pat McClelland    Mar 2, 2017 9:30:00 AM

There is no denying our industry is changing rapidly, and it’s not about to slow down. Combined with disruptive advances in technology and evolving consumer expectations, we’re seeing consumer-driven health care emerge. Take, for example, the fact that employees now spend more than nine hours a day on digital devices.

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Topics: voluntary benefits, employee benefits, VSP Vision Care, preventive screening, vision care, digital eye strain, Patrick McClelland

Strategic Benefits Communication: How Do You Measure Success?

Posted by: Kevin D. Seeker, GBA    Feb 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Last fall I had the pleasure of hosting a UBA WisdomWorkplace webinar called “Success in Voluntary through Strategic Benefits Communication.” I discussed recent Sun Life survey data regarding employee engagement and understanding of the value of voluntary benefits.

In the world of voluntary insurance carriers, success in voluntary benefits can be measured in various ways. A key metric is employee participation. For carriers, this is important because the greater the employee participation in a voluntary product, the better the spread of risk, which leads to appropriate margins and sustainable pricing.

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Topics: employee engagement, voluntary benefits, Sun Life Financial, benefits communication, Kevin D. Seeker, employee participation

EEOC Files Suit Over Wellness Program

Posted by: Linda Rowings    Sep 9, 2014 1:32:00 PM

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued an employer because the penalty it applied for not participating in its wellness program was, in the eyes of the EEOC, so high that participation was not, as a practical matter, “voluntary.” Under EEOC rules, an employer may conduct medical examinations, which includes obtaining medical histories and blood draws, only in limited situations. One of those permitted situations is a voluntary wellness program. Because the program did not qualify as “voluntary,” the questions employees were asked about their health on a health risk assessment, a blood draw, and a range of motion assessment violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the EEOC’s Complaint.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, disability management, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absence management, absenteeism, disability insurance, health risk assessment, PPACA Affordable Care Act, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, HRA

Overcoming Employee Disengagement

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 27, 2014 2:31:00 PM

By Peter Freska, CEBS, Advisor
The LBL Group 
A United Benefit Advisors Partner Firm 

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, disability management, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absence management, absenteeism, disability insurance, health risk assessment, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, HRA

The Road to Better Absence Management

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 11, 2014 4:14:00 PM

By Stephen Coffman, Group Practice Leader
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America  

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, disability management, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, UBA Partner Firm, employee benefits, hr consulting, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absence management, absenteeism, disability insurance, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans

How Long Commutes Impact Workplace Productivity

Posted by: Geoff Mukhtar    May 19, 2014 12:44:00 PM

What do all employees have in common? They all have a burning dislike for their morning commute! Let’s face it, it’s not the actual commute that most people dislike, it’s the hassle of dealing with traffic, long lines, and rude people that make the trip so despised.

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Topics: employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, voluntary benefits, employee satisfaction, employee benefits, health care reform, health care, wellness programs, absenteeism, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans

How Voluntary Benefits Are Rising to the Top

Posted by: Bill Olson    Nov 18, 2013 2:12:00 PM

Health care reform and the shift towards a defined-benefits model have moved voluntary benefits from the fringes of corporate benefit plans into the spotlight. Skyrocketing costs and ballooning compliance duties have pushed more employers to a tipping point, and companies are slashing or eliminating their medical plans. Those shrinking benefits, though, can crush a company’s ability to recruit and retain a top-notch workforce. To remain competitive, many employers are turning to ancillary (voluntary) products as a way to lighten the impact of reduced health care coverage and to broaden the overall appeal of their compensation package.

Policies like flextime, corporate and social responsibility charters and voluntary benefits may become the cornerstones of your recruitment and retention strategy. In fact, United Benefit Advisors predicts, based on results from the 2013 Ancillary Products Survey, these policies will be a greater differentiator in 2014 than ever before.

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Topics: ancillary benefits, health care costs, ACA, voluntary benefits, employee benefits, health care reform, health care

Stand Out from the Crowd with Voluntary Benefits

Posted by: Bill Olson    Sep 25, 2013 12:41:00 PM

With many employers forced to move employees to part-time schedules, send employees to exchanges, drop spouse/family coverage—or coverage altogether, and/or increase employee costs, employers can’t necessarily rely on their health benefits to attract and retain employees. With everyone trying to thread the needle on minimizing penalties, maximizing tax benefits, controlling health costs, and helping employees qualify for subsidies, let’s face it: the health plan may not be your hallmark anymore. So polices like flextime, corporate and social responsibility charters and voluntary benefits may become the cornerstones of your recruitment and retention strategy. UBA took a preliminary look at voluntary benefit trends in its Ancillary Products Survey, which indicates vast differences in voluntary benefits offered by employer size, region and industry.

Employees these days are more diverse than ever and because of this, each employee has their own unique needs. Ancillary benefits provide employers with the ability to meet these needs on a variety of levels. The first step in crafting a benefits package with voluntary or ancillary choices is knowing what others in your industry or area are offering. With comprehensive benchmarking data you can best identify cost-effective solutions that employees truly want. Auto and home insurance is a main staple in the Northeast for example. In larger companies, group term life is a must-have. Short term disability is critical in the manufacturing industry. Long term disability is most common in the retail industry and much less common in the construction/mining industry. While 2.7% of employers overall offer identity theft insurance, nearly 30% of larger employers include this in their package. Comprehensive data for your size, region and industry are the key to smart decisions.

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Topics: ancillary benefits, health care costs, health insurance, health insurance exchanges, voluntary benefits, employee benefits, health care reform