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Millennials need education about voluntary benefits

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Employers are increasingly offering voluntary benefits packages as a cost-saving measure. Educating employees — especially those in the Millennial generation — of these benefits should be a priority for brokers and employers, however.

That’s according to The Standard (the marketing arm of Standard Insurance Company). According to the organization’s new white paper on the topic, “Educate and Engage: Connecting with Millennials About the Importance of Disability Protection,” a negative side effect of shifting traditionally employer-paid benefits, including long-term disability insurance, to employees as a voluntary offering is that employees can choose not to elect coverage and work through a disabling illness or injury. This can translate into lost productivity and increased health care costs. 

This is true moreso for the Millennial generation, many of whom feel they are invincible to injury or illness. As the report states, these “invincibles” are prone to the same types of serious injuries and illnesses as their Generation X and Baby Boomer colleagues. Some of the top claims among this group include:

  • Mental health diagnoses;
  • Cancer; and
  • Musculoskeletal disorders.

“Voluntary coverage is playing a larger role in employer benefits offerings,” said Alison Daily, second vice president of clinical and vocational services at The Standard and author of the white paperMillennial employees may think they are invincible to a disabling condition, and therefore many of them may not understand the need for disability coverage — especially coverage they need to pay for out of pocket,” Daily said. “A long-term disability can negatively impact not only their personal finances, but their employers’ bottom line as well.”

The white paper encourages employers to adopt a fresh, engaging educational campaign that harnesses the Millennials’ demand for instant information and educational training. The strongest campaigns include:

  • Online education modules that emphasize the need for coverage and encourage enrollment, including tools to help employees understand the financial impact of a disabling illness or injury; and
  • Paperless enrollment using customized modules that serve as an ongoing benefits resource.

“Implementing online benefits education can encourage employees to enroll in benefits that can protect them from the financial risks that come with serious illness or injury,” said Daily.