The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, has announced enhancements that strengthen its voluntary disability product lineup, Disability Choice, while lowering the cost for coverage. These changes were designed to make enrollment easier and the plans more accessible at a time when employees have more responsibility for their benefit choices. Voluntary benefits are sponsored by the employer, but fully or predominantly paid by the employee.

Disability Choice, one of the company’s voluntary long-term disability (LTD) and short-term disability (STD) programs, is different from traditional disability income plans because it provides benefits based on increments or flat amounts as opposed to a percentage of employees’ salaries. This approach eliminates the need for an employee census and leads to a simplified enrollment process.

This also allows Guardian’s disability insurance to be sold seamlessly with coverage such as dental that also doesn’t require an employee census.

In addition to the simplified enrollment and lower premiums, Guardian has increased maximums for both STD and LTD Disability Choice plans. Previously, the maximum STD benefit was $750 and is now available up to $1,500. The maximum LTD benefit has been raised from $2,500 to up to $10,000. The amount, however, cannot exceed 60% of salary.

Another important feature of Disability Choice is that employees are able to increase coverage each year through the annual step-up option. The option allows employees to adjust their insurance amount as their needs and salary change. This feature is unique to these plans and also helps distinguish it from traditional voluntary disability offerings.

For more information, visit www.guardianlife.com.