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Inside Workers' Brains

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Employees seem to place a higher value on benefits than on cash.

Marketers at the Wellesley Hills, Mass-based U.S. benefits division of Sun Life Financial Inc., Toronto, have published that finding in a summary of results from a Web-based survey of 3,000 U.S. workers conducted by JHA, Portland, Maine. All of the participants were ages 25 or older, all helped make benefits decisions for their families, and all worked for employers with more than 25 employees.

JHA asked the survey participants to assume they had all of the medical insurance that they needed, and then to allocate a total of 100 rating points across 7 other benefits. The list of benefits suggested included 401(k)/retirement plans, dental insurance, vision insurance, long-term disability insurance, short-term disability insurance, long term care insurance, and an unspecified amount of cash.

About 33% assigned a value greater than 0 to cash, and only 5% assigned cash a value greater than 30. That made cash the least utilized category, according to Sun Life.

However, more than 70% of participants assigned a value greater than 0 to the other 6 benefits. Of all the supplemental benefits, dental insurance, 401(k)/retirement plans, vision insurance and group life insurance were rated as the most valuable, Sun Life says.