Voluntary Benefits for Employees

Voluntary benefits allows an employee to expand coverage options without increasing costs to the employer.  Today’s economy is making this an even more attractive option for many companies.

Why?  These programs can supplement their basic insurance package, increasing both employee satisfaction and retention through a variety of custom benefits.  This can include both basic packages, such as dental or vision coverage, or additional coverage to existing policies, such as orthodontics, cancer protection or additional life/disability insurance.  Less traditional offerings, such as identity theft and pet insurance, may also be offered in a voluntary plan.  Employees gain care custom-tailored to their needs at a fraction of what it would cost for an individual policy.

However, communication is a huge key to the success of these programs.  Employees need help understanding benefits and how to make good decisions.  This may be done by email and group meetings – beyond handing out a simple flyer.  Information may also be sent to their homes so spouses and families can review information as well.

If the company already has a health savings plan (HSA or HRA) in place, employees can use it to pay for additional premiums.  Besides gaining the additional protection that the insurance provides, s/he also gains some tax savings.

From Benefits and Compensation Digest, August 2009 issue, pp. 30-32.  Also from Employee Benefit News, June 1, 2009 issue, pp. 29 and 33.