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Voluntary Benefits

Why Employers Care

To attract and retain employees, employers may offer non-medical and voluntary benefits with little or no additional cost. According to MetLife's 2011 Study of Employee Benefit Trends, 58% of employers with 10,000 or more employees say that voluntary benefits (such as long-term care, critical illness, optional life and optional disability) are a significant part of their company's benefits strategy; an increase from 52% in 2010. Twenty-three percent of employers of all sizes indicated that they would be increasing the number of voluntary benefits they offered in 2011. The most popular non-medical and voluntary benefits include: dental insurance, 401(k)/403(b)/457 plans, employee term life insurance and disability insurance.

While many of these benefits can be provided fairly inexpensively and cost effectively by most employers, the growing costs of voluntary benefits are a concern; especially as the number of voluntary benefits being offered increases.

What Can Employers Do?

With the importance of voluntary benefits continuing to rise, employers are facing the challenge of managing employee expectations and the purchasing process, enrollment and administration of voluntary benefits.

When offering voluntary benefits, employers should consider an array of success factors, such as:

  • Estimated participation rates and cost-effectiveness of different benefits (e.g. adoption assistance)
  • Personalized total rewards statements for employees
  • Simplified enrollment process
  • Clear communication timing
  • Benefits administration (e.g. timing, TPA)

Page last updated: September 6, 2012

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