By Stephen Coffman, Group Practice Leader
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Topics: health care reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, employee satisfaction, hr consulting, employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, absence management, disability management, absenteeism, UBA Partner Firm, voluntary benefits, ACA, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, disability insurance, wellness programs
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.
Topics: health care reform, employee benefits, health care, health care costs, employee satisfaction, employee engagement, wellness, ancillary benefits, absenteeism, voluntary benefits, ACA, employee health, insurance solutions, medical plan, self funded health plans, wellness programs
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.
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.