Voluntary Benefits: A Guide for Employers

Employees have come to expect a certain foundation of benefits, expecting a plan to help pay for their medical expenses and trusting that a disability plan will provide them with income if they become injured or sick on the job. However, employer-provided health care comes at a cost, and the Affordable Care Act has led to mandatory coverages with prices that have significantly increased for both employers and employees. Voluntary benefits insurance came about to help employees manage the costs of high deductible health plans.

Voluntary benefits are typically paid by employees and are cost-effective due to the plans’ group structure. The flexibility that voluntary benefits offer is greatly valued by employers as they can take payroll deductions, or the benefits can be directly paid via credit cards or bank accounts. For the most part, employers try to stick to just the core benefits, which include medical, dental, life insurance, and disability benefits. Employers that have the means can incorporate a benefits program with a wider range of benefits that appeals to a diverse workforce, allowing employees to choose what enhances their current coverage at costs that won’t break the bank.

Here are the main voluntary benefits to be aware of:

Group auto and homeowner’s insurance

This protection provides employee discounts associated with tenure, multi-policies, and paying via payroll deduction because participation is not strictly adhering to an annual enrollment period.  Employees are able to pick and choose the best deals throughout the year.

Voluntary identity theft protection programs

This is an attractive protection to those employees who are dependent on online banking and e-commerce. These programs keep track of the participant’s identity in all disciplines (i.e. financial, social media, medical).

If a breach were to occur, the sweat and tears that go into restoring the member’s identity would not be a small price to pay. In today’s world, where digital dangers are commonplace, peace of mind is well worth it.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance assists employees with the high cost of veterinary bills. By offering this coverage, members may choose to cover their fur babies for less and feel at ease knowing that a vet visit won’t strain their financials.

Group vision

This coverage is typically offered as a core benefit, but annual eye exams and eyewear will be covered by a voluntary group vision plan if it’s not already.

Group legal insurance

This protection will assist with legal preparation, traffic tickets, real estate transactions, document review, and more. It grants access to an accredited network of attorneys, so in a sense, is equipping you with lawyers on retainer at a much more affordable rate.

Student loan repayment benefits

This allows employees to meet with financial professionals who can help navigate whether or not refinancing is a viable option and can offer advice on dealing with debt. (This benefit can help with employee retention rate).

Employee purchasing plans

These plans allow employees to purchase products they need with monthly payments through payroll deduction. Those who are low on funds and have low credit scores benefit from an employee purchasing program.

It also helps them establish credit while providing access to necessary products such as computers, large appliances, etc. This is a much better way for employees to have their money reach farther than withdrawing from 401(k) plans or other savings vehicles.

If you are considering enhancing your benefit offerings by including voluntary programs, it is best to speak with an agent to fully understand how they will complement your existing offerings. An agent will be happy to help with a strategy, development, and help to communicate and implement the program that aligns your organization’s needs with the best partners in the market.

About SB One Insurance Agency

At SB One Insurance Agency, we have served the businesses and residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania for more than 60 years. We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Provident Bank, the region’s premier banking institution, and we are prepared to offer you personal, business, employee benefits, and risk management solutions. To learn more about our coverage options, contact our specialists today at (888) 990-0526.