Group and workplace benefits are an integral part of the insurance industry and play an important role in attracting the best employees. Benefit packages can be complicated to administer and require extensive resources and time when done manually. This process becomes more complex when one employee has multiple benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, multiple supplemental insurance and retirement products. Additionally, the company often needs to collect the employees’ contributions towards each product. Recently, there has be an upsurge in the popularity in the popularity of voluntary benefits.
Voluntary benefits are insurance products offered through an employer that are paid for partially or solely by the employees through payroll deferrals. The most common voluntary benefit products are life, disability, critical-illness and accident insurance, pet coverage, identity theft protection, legal services, and financial counseling. Based on research done by One Source Medical Group, Willis Tower Watson, BenefitsPro, Benefits Advisor, and Aflac, there are multiple reasons for this growing popularity. Some of the reasons voluntary benefits are gaining popularity are as follows:
The expectations within a changing workplace: There are 75.4 million millennials in the workforce today. With more millennials becoming parents, there is a greater concern about the gaps they have in medical coverage due to employer-sponsored high-deductible health plans. Millennials are addressing these gaps by purchasing voluntary insurance.
Personal, on-demand preferences: Voluntary benefits provide more personalized choices in this “on-demand” world that we’ve all gotten used to. Employees prefer to have more control when it comes to deciding which options are useful for them.
Cut backs: Many employers have been forced to cutback or eliminate their group health and welfare plans. Voluntary benefits help employees fill gaps in their coverage.
Support for physical and financial wellness: The national push for physical and financial wellness initiatives among employees has led to increased demand for voluntary benefits that improve the physical, emotional and mental well-being of employees. Employee stress from dealing with medical, legal, and financial issues costs American businesses more than $300 billion a year.
Technology: The availability of streamlined technology makes voluntary benefits easier to implement and administer for employers and brokers. Online enrollment, automated processing of administrative tasks, and the ability for employees to “self-serve” make the voluntary benefits enrollment process more attractive. Employees are more likely to participate if they have access to a technology platform that offers ease of enrollment and flexibility.
If your company is concerned that administering voluntary benefits will intrude on your regular business priorities, there is the option to outsource this process. VUE Software offers a robust and automated tools engine—VUE Health & Benefits Billing—that allows insurers and third-party administrators to deliver online billing efficiently. This tool automates the billing and enrollment process to increase accuracy and reduce the frequency of manual interventions. Companies can receive employer census information electronically—up to 834 file feeds—to eliminate re-keying and ensure accurate and prompt information transfer. VUE Software’s advanced automation capabilities greatly reduce the administrative and operational costs of managing the compensation payout process, and can be used as the common repository of critical sales measures with the proper audit trails.