- Product specialists are warning employers that offering too many voluntary benefits can confuse workers, reports Employee Benefit Adviser (EBA). An Aflac study found that 79% of employees see voluntary benefits as necessary because they're assuming a greater share of healthcare costs, but product experts say that rolling out offerings all at once can overwhelm employees.
- Voluntary benefits aren't widely offered, according to EBA. A 2016 Employee Benefit Research Institute study showed that while 58% of workers said their employers offered short-term disability, just 33% offered long-term care insurance, 28% accident insurance, 19% critical illness coverage and 16% cancer insurance.
- At a conference in Utah, sponsored by HR technology firm PlanSource, voluntary benefits experts recommended that employers roll out a few products at a time to avoid overwhelming workers.
A new BenefitsPro survey found that 83% of workers covered by healthcare insurance would enroll in and pay for a voluntary benefits program. Some employees wouldn't even consider working for a company that didn't offer them. The desire itself for voluntary benefits is overwhelming. But given the complexity of some offerings and their overall volume, introducing them over a time period can be less taxing for employees.
While introducing voluntary benefits slowly is wise, employers also need to make sure that workers are aware of all offerings. Many employers offer supplemental insurance to help workers pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs and other medical expenses, such as hospitalization and coverage for serious illnesses and accidental injuries. But a recent Securian Financial Group poll showed that as many as 44% of employees don't know their employer offers supplemental insurance. Employers need to communicate all benefits consistently and not just during open enrollment.