Voluntary benefits, no matter what is offered need to be well designed and integrated.
It is interesting the seeming cyclical nature of voluntary and wellness benefits. I remember back in the 80s when my step mother, who was a VP of Human Resources in a large local company, devised a wellness plan for their employees. It was ‘new’ and hopefully going to help with premiums. It didn’t seem to last long even though top management were supportive.
In come the 90s and the 00’s and although still around and available the voluntary benefits didn’t seem as powerful. We are now half way through the teens, six years into the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare and all other acronyms) and the hot topic for 2017 are again voluntary benefits and wellness.
Deductibles and out of pocket maximums are painfully high for most small employers and individuals. Voluntary benefits like accident coverage, critical illness and cancer plans have become ‘hot’ because they provide money to the insured to use for said high deductibles or for everyday expenses. In addition, employers are adding wellness but not like wellness plans of the 80s.
Wellness today is not only focusing on activity and weight loss, but financial and legal well being too. Included in financial wellness can be fiscal education, employee purchase plans, parental leave when taking care of elderly parents or sick children and even retirement planning (different than offering retirement plans like 401k or a SIMPLE IRA). Telemedicine, although related to the medical plan, can also be another aspect of voluntary benefits. Being able to see a doctor for a minor concern via skype or phone can get employees back to work while getting them comfort more quickly.
So, no matter what is offered it needs to be well designed and integrated. “Understanding how the different solutions work together is critical, especially if paired with a high deductible health plan,” says Paul Goedde, Executive Vice President of the Voluntary Employee Benefits board and product management lead for Cigna. This understanding assists with retention of great employees as well as manage the bottom line with more satisfied employees.
Footnote: This utilizes details from an article by Alan Goforth in volume 15 No 1 January edition of Benefits Pro
A little more about us:
The Business Warrior group has some of the industry’s top experts in all the areas your business needs to be successful. Amongst the contributors is Janis VanAhn, owner of Health Insurance Advisor, LLC. For 19 years Janis has worked in and around the health insurance industry initially providing service to agents and employers related to employee benefits, individual healthcare and Medicare, while more recently becoming appointed as an individual agent with various quality carriers to provide this service to individuals through her own business.
Four years ago Janis was ‘blessed’ with being let go from her job at an insurance ageny. Staying within insurance was her path…but in what capacity. 2010 was the year Janis began her career as an independent insurance agent specializing in health insurance. Finding quality, cost-effective healthcare for individuals and families under age 65 as well as working with those who are Medicare eligible truly was her passion. She has made this a true specialty and positioned herself as someone to work with whether it is a financial professional or property & casualty agent with a client that needs assistance, to a group of seniors turning 65 and they keep receiving Medicare information and are confused about what to do.
Janis enjoys the one on one contact with clients as well as looking forward to speaking to groups about healthcare. Her excitement for this industry is what drives her to stay in tune with Healthcare Reform and what is currently happening and what will happen with coverage from now to past 2014.
‘Educating individual and Medicare consumers to make informed choices’ is her mission because if people are educated and understand, they will make informed choices that they are comfortable with.