The big story in 2014 for employee benefits — after health care reform — is the substantial role that voluntary benefits plays for employers and their employees. Both traditional and nontraditional voluntary benefits are making their way to the forefront of the benefits package that employers will offer next year.
1. Voluntary benefits will be indispensable.
Today’s benefits landscape is still shaping up as health care reform plays out over the next year. But whether employers choose to offer compliant group health insurance or send their employees to the health care exchanges, voluntary benefits will be taking a role, coming to the forefront as a solution to helping round-out the employee benefits package.
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As a result, a wider array of traditional voluntary benefits will be included in the employee benefits package starting in 2014. Among the traditional voluntary benefits employers will add are gap coverage, short-term disability, cancer, critical illness, prescription, dental, life insurance and hospital supplemental policies.
2. Employees want an array of voluntary benefits that meet their diverse needs. Employee benefits remain an important driver of employee satisfaction. Well-designed benefits plans based on desires and needs of employees can enable companies to strengthen their ability to attract and retain workers. More than three-quarters of employees responding to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s “2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey” say the benefits package an employer offers prospective employees is extremely or very important in their decision to take the job.
Employees already started speaking out in favor of voluntary benefits this year and will do even more so in 2014 with the impact of health care reform and to meet their diverse personal needs. A TNS Omnibus survey reported that 86 percent of employees say it is important to be able to customize all of their benefits to fit their individual lifestyle.
With voluntary benefits, employees can customize their benefits package and choose what suits their individual needs. They can build a financial safety net by adding on traditional voluntary insurance products as well as nontraditional voluntary benefits such as employee purchase programs, financial education, pet insurance, legal plans and identity theft policies.
3. Nontraditional voluntary benefits will become more mainstream.