Voluntary Employee Benefits Become More Customized

More Organizations Turn to Customized Employee Benefits

Voluntary Benefits
Voluntary Benefits. Depositphotos.com

In past articles, we’ve highlighted how voluntary employee benefits are on the rise among younger workers who want coverage for certain types of needs. This is due, in part, to employees being committed to saving money on health care costs, the increase in the use of high deductible health care plans, and the improvements in the types of voluntary benefit options available in the insurance market.

Gone are the days of “one-size-fits-all” employee benefits programs and here come newly designed and fully customized voluntary benefits. Voluntary benefits are no longer looked at as just a few “extras”, and are now becoming part of a comprehensive benefits package. Let’s take a look at how voluntary benefits have become more customized to meet the requirements of a more particular health care consumer.

Voluntary Benefits Bolster Recruitment and Retention Efforts

Many more companies have begun to see the value of offering voluntary benefits to their workers. In fact, it gives employees a chance to select extras that the standard health care plan doesn’t offer, which can be highly attractive to today’s consumers. Employers can also use voluntary benefits to round out their health care plans with a menu of items that cover everything from family vision care to pet insurance. This helps companies to address the specific health and financial needs of candidates, to help the stretch their future paychecks even further.

The Advantages of Offering Voluntary Employee Benefits

In terms of being adaptable to the needs of employees, there are very few benefits that are like voluntary plans. Voluntary plans cover many of the gaps that traditional health benefits do not cover. For example, a health care plan may require dental services for minors, but not for adults.

The voluntary dental program can cover things like routine cleanings and other preventative measures that help support good oral health.

Voluntary benefits are also shown to encourage employees to stay with their companies for longer periods of time. Consider as the lifestyle of employees change, as they get married, have children, kids grow up, and they near retirement – the voluntary benefits can be used to adapt to all of these situations. The choice of what plans to take is up to employees, with little interference or administrative burden by the company, and this puts employees in the driver’s seat.

Lastly, there is very little cost incurred by the company to offer voluntary benefit programs. While it’s up to the company to contract with a reputable benefit vendor and get employees to participate to take advantage of group rates, the rest is handled by a relationship between the employees and the vendor. Claims, forms, insurance cards, and customer service is managed by the vendor and the premiums are paid out of employee paychecks on a pre-tax basis.

Customizing Voluntary Benefit Plans

There are several areas where voluntary benefit plans exceed the customization options of other types of wellness and financial benefits.

This is a continual trend that we will see more of.

Financial wellness benefits can include budgeting software, company matched savings plans, employee purchase programs, discount cards, credit union access, and even short term financing to help employees who otherwise cannot get credit to purchase things they need. Some companies offer support for buying or leasing vehicles, pay off college loans, arrange for special discounts and deals on home rentals and purchases, and even provide access to tuition for college expenses.

Voluntary plans that are designed for certain lifestyle needs are also leading the way in terms of customization. When employees need to balance their work lives with their personal lives, voluntary perks like onsite daycare, subsidized eldercare, automobile and home insurance, cyber security, legal support, and even adoption and parental leave benefits make all the difference.

Programs that support mental well-being, such as employee assistance programs and mental health coverage, can also help employees who are dealing with tough personal and career matters.