Choosing Better Benefits

In Andrea Davis’ recent Employee Benefit News article, the author noted that with looming changes from health care reform on the horizon and increased cost shifting to employees, voluntary benefits can provide a much-needed boost to benefit offerings and as such are emerging as a bigger player in the benefit programs of the future.

In fact, according to a Colonial Life survey, employers are taking three concrete actions to deal with this and are clearly validating the important function that voluntary benefits play in today’s benefit programs. Results showed:

  • 51% are increasing their health insurance premiums
  • 48% are increasing employees’ health insurance deductibles or co-pays
  • 49% are adding voluntary benefits

Another primary change expected in 2012 is the move to greater electronic communication and multilingual communication efforts. That’s important to voluntary benefits because how well benefits are communicated will determine how employees will participate in the plan. Employees need to understand what’s included in voluntary benefit offerings and to make the best choices, communications – in any language – must be clear and informative.

Communicating to different demographics is also an emerging trend. It’s important for brokers to keep their employer-clients up-to-date on the needs of an evolving workforce. With a diverse workforce come diverse needs.

For brokers, this means keeping your employer clients up-to-date on product offerings and assisting these customers with meeting the needs of their diverse workforce.

Purchasing Power is a voluntary benefit that appeals to a segment of an employer’s workforce and helps fulfill a need for those employees. As you look for ways to expand your customer base, keep in mind the average yearly participation rates that Purchasing Power saw last year:

Accommodation and Food Services 9.88%
Finance And Insurance 9.37%
Healthcare 10.88%
Retail 9.80%
State Government 9.56%
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