Options. Everyone seems to value having lots of options available to them.
And it’s the same with employee benefits.
As an employer, you know how different each of your employees is.
You might have a young man just starting a family, a middle-aged woman caring for her elderly parents, a young woman right out of college, and a sixty-three-year-old man looking forward to retirement all on your payroll.
The needs, wants, and life situation can vary widely among the people on your team.
And each of your employees probably wants different options in their benefits package.
One way to create a robust employee benefits package that includes something for everyone is by offering voluntary benefits.
Voluntary benefits are benefits offered in addition to your group health insurance. An insurance company will present these benefits to your employees. Your employees can then choose to purchase or pass over the voluntary benefits.
In general, voluntary benefits add no additional cost to you, the employer. They are paid for solely by your employees.
Voluntary benefits provide an opportunity for your employees to customize their employee benefits package. And in today’s insurance market, insurance companies offer loads of voluntary benefit options.
By reading this article, you will better understand these 11 voluntary benefit options available today. By clearly defining these voluntary insurance products, you can make informed choices about your employee benefits package.
In this article, we discuss:
- Accident Insurance
- Critical Illness Insurance
- Dental Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Hospital Indemnity Insurance
- Identity Theft Insurance
- Legal Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Pet Insurance
- Travel Insurance
- Vision Insurance
1. Accident Insurance
Accident insurance provides coverage for medical expenses incurred from a qualifying accident. A qualifying accident may include broken bones, loss of a limb, burns, lacerations, or paralysis.
And in the case of accidental death, accident insurance will pay out money to your designated beneficiary.
This insurance is best used in conjunction with your primary medical insurance. Accident insurance will give additional coverage to emergency medical treatment, hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, and other medical procedures associated with an accident. It can even provide coverage for lodging and transportation related to medical treatment due to an accident.
2. Critical Illness Insurance
Critical Illness insurance provides additional coverage for the following medical emergencies:
- Heart attack
- Organ transplants
- Coronary bypass
These medical emergencies can create insurmountable medical bills and expenses. Critical illness insurance can help cover costs that your traditional medical insurance does not cover and protect you from financial ruin.
This insurance product can cover non-medical expenses like childcare or transportation needed due to a medical emergency. It can also provide resources for medical services and treatments not covered by a traditional health insurance policy.
You might use these resources for daily living expenses, transportation, and even vacation get-aways for terminally ill patients who need time to rest with their loved ones.
Typically, the insurance company will pay out a sum of money that you can use toward those expenses.
Sometimes this product is referred to as catastrophic illness insurance.
3. Dental Insurance
Dental insurance is a very common voluntary benefit that employers add to their employee benefits package.
Dental insurance can contribute to dental expenses like preventative care, including cleanings, basic procedures like fillings, and sometimes major procedures like crowns and even dentures.
Dental policies differ from one another, so the amount that your insurance will contribute toward dental expenses will vary depending on the policy.
Often with dental insurance, you will have to pay a copay or a deductible for your procedures.
4. Disability Insurance
Disability insurance is a type of insurance that protects against loss of income due to a disability. If the policyholder can’t work due to the onset of a disability, this coverage will provide them with much-needed income.
For instance, let’s say that last year you earned $75,000. Then, at the start of the new year, you were injured, and now you can no longer work. Your disability insurance would pay a portion of your lost income.
If you are a significant contributor to your household income, you may want to consider disability insurance.
5. Hospital Indemnity Insurance
Hospital indemnity insurance is a product that supplements your health insurance policy. With indemnity insurance, you will receive emergency funds from your insurance provider that you can apply toward costs associated with a hospital stay.
These costs can include copays, deductibles, procedure costs, childcare costs while you are in the hospital, and living expenses as you recover.
Often these plans are based on the number of days you are hospitalized.
6. Identity Theft Insurance
In this cyber age, identity theft has become a huge problem! And the costs associated with your identity theft can be extensive.
Identity theft insurance coverage can help pay for expenses that you incur after your identity has been stolen. These expenses can include copies of credit reports, notary fees, legal fees, and credit monitoring services, to name a few.
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing identity theft insurance is that policies can differ widely from one another. Carefully reading the policy’s fine print will help you understand exactly what you can expect to be covered if you should need to file a claim on your policy.
7. Legal Insurance
Legal insurance policies cover legal advice and services for personal legal matters. Sometimes this insurance also gives you access to a library of DIY legal documents and other online resources.
Many legal insurance plans cost as little as $15 to $20 per month while giving the policyholder access to dozens of lawyers that practice many different areas of law. These lawyers can write legal letters on your behalf, represent you in court, and create and review documents for you.
Legal insurance is very underused in the area of voluntary benefits.
8. Life Insurance
Life insurance provides a cash benefit to your chosen beneficiary in the case of your death. Typically life insurance policies sold as a voluntary benefit cost less than a life policy sold outright to an individual.
Both whole life and term life insurance products are sold as voluntary benefits. Voluntary whole life protects the policyholder for their entire life as long as they continue to pay their premiums. It is sold to the policyholder at the same rate for their “whole” life.
Term life insurance is sold to the policyholder for a specified time–typically five, ten, or twenty years. After the term is up, the policyholder must renegotiate with the insurance company.
9. Pet Insurance
A relatively young voluntary product, pet insurance is taking off among voluntary benefits. Pet insurance helps to cover the cost of veterinary care for your pets. Your policy can cover a single pet or multiple pets.
Depending on the type of plan, pet insurance can cover check-ups, vaccinations, and routine care. It can also cover treatments needed due to accidents or illnesses.
The pricing for pet insurance is dependent on several factors, including the size of your pet, its breed and age, your location, and common indoor and outdoor risks related to your location.
If you are insuring multiple pets, often you will receive a discount for each additional pet.
10. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance provides additional coverage for travel abroad. Usually, this includes coverage for emergency medical needs and legal fees.
This benefit is especially helpful to employees who often travel for their work.
11. Vision Insurance
Vision insurance is a common voluntary benefits product. This insurance helps to reduce eye care expenses. Often these plans will include coverage to reduce the cost of:
- Preventative care, including exams and tests
- Eyeglass lenses
- Contact lenses
- Eyeglass frames
- Scratch-resistant lens coating for eyeglass lenses
Vision insurance does not cover medical expenses related to your eyes. So, if your optometrist discovers a medical issue with your eyes, he or she will refer you to your medical doctor. Your health insurance would need to cover those costs.
Please don’t think that this list is exhaustive. While these are the primary benefits being offered today as voluntary benefits, this industry is ever-growing and increasing. And, insurance companies introduce niche benefit products all the time. Your voluntary benefits provider will have a complete list of all the products they offer to their clients.
Are you interested in adding voluntary benefits to your employee benefits package?
Now that you’ve had a thorough look at the voluntary benefits, are you curious about adding these products to your offerings?
When I meet with businesses for the first time, many have never considered this option before. Their employee benefits advisor has never suggested voluntary benefits as a creative solution to create a more robust employee benefits package.
Here are just a few of the reasons my clients have found value in adding these options to their employee benefits program:
- Voluntary benefits can entice new talent and keep their current team satisfied.
- Voluntary benefits usually add very little or no extra cost to the employer.
- Employees appreciate having the option to purchase the added protection these products provide at a lower cost.
- Employees also like having more say over their benefits.
If you are interested in learning more about how your company could profit from adding voluntary benefits, I recently wrote a guide to understand voluntary benefits. This guide further explains what value voluntary products offer to both you, the employer, and your employees.
We can start the journey with a short meeting that you can schedule here.
I’m looking forward to talking with you!