Advice for Employers on Implementing Voluntary Benefits
Employees have different situations and needs, and want the ability to customize their benefits based on these personal needs. As such, employers are increasingly utilizing the strategy of offering a menu of choices in voluntary benefits for employees to achieve lifestyle protection. The employer commitment requirement involves premium deductions and remittance, support of and cooperation with the program, allowing professional communication, relevant individual meetings on company time, and ongoing administration. This can include billing, life event changes, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requirements
Worksite marketers offering these products can provide more complete employee education during the decision-making process. Many employees like having a face-to-face opportunity to have their questions answered immediately—open enrollment meetings provide this opportunity. Communicating benefit options with employees is essential. With this in mind, we recommend that employers consider the following communication methods:
- Employee meetings
- Group meetings
- One-on-one meetings
- Online enrollment options
For employee meetings, bring in specialists, or use your human resources (HR) staff to communicate benefits and supplemental insurance options that are available to all employees. Be knowledgeable about core and supplemental benefits in case questions arise and maintain a consistent message and state all of the requirements for participation. We recommend setting up a system for ongoing service and communication.
Beforehand, create communication pieces to give to employees. During these meetings, use a consultative approach to educate employees on their benefits and supplemental insurance options. Use this meeting as an opportunity to instruct employees on how and when to enroll.
During one-on-one meetings, a specialist comes to the worksite and consults employees about the benefits available. The specialist is able to use salary illustrations so that the employee knows exactly how their paycheck will be affected. From there, a date is scheduled for specialists to come back for those who need additional time to make decisions.
Online enrollment options
Online enrollment allows for easier and more consistent communication, especially if multiple sites are involved. Also, electronic data transmission creates greater accuracy and a quicker customer response time. According to Anthem’s 2018 National Health Benefits Statistics & Trends Report, a single platform is preferred by 60 percent of employers as it provides a simpler, streamlined experience for employees and less administration for employers.
The information provided in this article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of an insurance professional. If you are interested in learning more about voluntary or supplemental benefits, please contact our Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) here or by calling (800) 242-4433.