Voluntary Benefits – A growing benefits trend

April 12, 2018

Many businesses and organizations of all sizes, from public and private sectors, offer Voluntary Benefits to their employees, but what exactly are they, and how do they benefit the employer and employee?  Here we discuss two types of Voluntary Benefits – health care related and non-health care related.

Health Care Related Voluntary Benefits 

These Voluntary Benefits augment the core health care benefits package at little or no cost to the employer.  They are designed to pay cash benefits directly to the policyholder- not the doctors or the hospitals- in the event of a medical event.  The money received by the policyholder can be used towards out-of-pocket medical expenses that are incurred, but is not required to be used in that way.  Policyholders can decide they would like/need to use it for rent, mortgage payments, credit card debit, or grocery bills.  The money, once paid out, is theirs and can be used as they see fit.

The most commonly offered health care related voluntary benefits are:

  • Accident Insurance
  • Cancer Insurance
  • Critical Care Insurance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Dental Insurance

Voluntary Benefits that are more than just Health Care

Keep in mind, there is a growing trend in the voluntary benefits marketplace being offered that are not just health care related.  Student Loan Repayment, Legal Services, Pet Insurance, Identity Theft Protection and College Savings programs are some voluntary benefits that are gaining momentum with businesses and organizations.  Employees of different ages will have diverse needs at various stages in their lives.  However, with voluntary benefit offerings, employees can “customize a package” that suits their current lifestyle by choosing what works for them, and changing them as the need arises.

Advantage for Employers

  • After selecting your organization’s health insurance carrier and plans, adding voluntary benefits to your employee’s benefit options creates a more robust total benefits package with little or no cost to you as the employer.
  • Voluntary Benefit plans can help attract and retain top talent in today’s increasingly competitive job market.
  • Most Voluntary Benefit plans can be offered on a pre-tax basis which will help reduce the company’s overall tax obligation and can, additionally, lower the company’s Worker’s Comp costs as well.
  • By offering the benefits through payroll deduction, your employees will receive a group discount on the premium, making it less expensive than if they were trying to purchase the plans on an individual basis.

Advantage for Employees

  • They pick the plans that are right for their current lifestyle and situation. Voluntary benefits are offered cafeteria style, so they can choose options that are relevant at that point in time and change them as them family and health situations change.
  • Plans are offered at group rates, but are still individual policies. In most cases, policyholders can continue their policies, at the same group rate, even if they leave your current employment.
  • Ease of use with convenient pre-tax, payroll deductions.
  • Unlike health insurance, the health care related plans pay cash directly to the policyholder to help protect them and their family financially in the event of unexpected illness, accident, death, or another event.

As the employer, understanding your employees’ needs can help determine the best course of action to take, and which benefits to offer.  Survey employees about their wants and needs, and be mindful that your benefits align with your business’ culture.  Offering benefits that employees can participate in throughout their career, and as their lifestyles change will be a great benefit to everyone.

For more information regarding Voluntary Benefits as a part of your organization’s Employee Benefits program, contact Billy MacNair, Vice President at Brown & Brown Benefit Advisors, bmacnair@advisorsbb.com.


Brown & Brown Benefit Advisors