With traditional voluntary benefits becoming almost a standard inclusion in the employee benefits package, non-traditional voluntary benefits are the new trend as the variety of offerings continue to evolve and rise in popularity.
Especially due to the impact of increased health care costs and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers are relying more on voluntary benefits to build the robust employee benefits programs that help them recruit and retain employees. Even though they have to pay for most or all of the premium, voluntary benefits are popular with employees because they can customize their benefits package.
Employees can select traditional voluntary benefits such as gap coverage, short-term disability, cancer, critical illness, dental insurance and hospital supplemental policies to help round out their health care coverage needs. But it’s the non-traditional voluntary benefits that will give employees perhaps the most leverage to truly customize their employee benefits preferences in the year ahead.
Here are four predictions for non-traditional voluntary benefits in 2015.
1. Non-traditional voluntary benefits will experience continued customization
Non-traditional voluntary benefits in the marketplace today include a variety of options depending on employees’ diverse needs. For example, workers with pets may be interested in pet insurance through payroll deduction; and those with children under 18, might choose cyber security insurance.
But watch for continued customization as non-traditional voluntary benefits take on a more generational and life-stage focus. Today’s diverse workforce spans three generations (millennials, Generation X and baby boomers) who look at work, life, money and finances in totally different ways and thus have varying benefits needs and preferences. The ability to choose benefits that meet their life-stage needs is something employees want.
2. Count on more innovation in non-traditional voluntary benefits products
Several non-traditional voluntary benefits have been available for many years such as group legal plans, pet insurance and employee purchase programs. This past year has seen some very specialized, out-of-the-box employee benefits appear — such as egg harvesting. Count on seeing more innovation in non-traditional voluntary benefits as well in 2015.