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Voluntary Benefits

How much do you know about life insurance? Take the following quiz to find out: [February 2017, 354 word article]

Accidental injuries rank as the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance can give your employees financial assistance when the unexpected happens. [February 2017, 829 word article]

Many studies have shown the positive benefits of having pets. Your employees would likely agree. If they’re like most Americans, 39 percent have at least one dog and 33 percent have at least one cat. And many Americans consider their pets as family members. [February 2017, 900 word article]

Thanks to EMV technology (the newer credit cards with an embedded microchip), experts predict we’ll see fewer fraudulent credit card transactions this year. That’s the good news. The bad news is they expect an increase in new account fraud. [February 2017, 437 word article]

A new survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found most workers give low marks to the existing healthcare system and are pessimistic about future access and affordability. [December 2016, 350 word article]

Over the last decade, average annual premiums workers have paid for family healthcare coverage have shot up 78 percent, while employer contributions rose 51 percent, a new report found. [December 2016, 741 word article]

Legal problems can lead to stress and unexpected expense. Attorneys with 11 to 15 years of experience charge an average of $312 per hour. Legal plans can help your employees cope with the stress and expense…at no cost to your organization. [December 2016, 770 word article]

Three in 10 workers entering the workforce today will become disabled before retiring. And only five percent of disabilities are work-related—meaning 95 percent of people with disabilities will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. [December 2016, 840 word article]

ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law that sets minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans in private industry. Among other things, ERISA requires individuals who manage plans (and other fiduciaries) to meet certain standards of conduct. The law also contains detailed provisions for reporting to the government and disclosure to participants. [October 2016, 335 word article]

Enrolling employees whose native language is not English in your benefit plans can present special challenges. Although the following article focuses on Spanish-speaking employees, the principles will apply to communicating with any employees who speak English as a second language. [October 2016, 564 word article]

Many of your Baby Boomer and Gen-X employees risk a retirement funding crisis. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can help. [October 2016, 693 word article]

Voluntary benefits can help even smaller employers offer a better benefits program. Several recent surveys provide valuable competitive benchmarks. Read on to find out how your voluntary benefit offerings stack up. [October 2016, 571 word article]

In June 2016, the Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published proposed regulations that could limit critical illness insurance policies. [August 2016, 273 word article]

The cost of cancer treatment has garnered more headline attention since the Food and Drug Administration approved Bristol-Myer Squibb Co.’s drugs Yervoy and Opdivo for the treatment of advanced melanoma in October 2015. The drugs work in combination to boost a patient’s immune system…and cost more than $250,000 per year. [August 2016, 783 word article]

Looking to distinguish your firm from others and increase employee productivity? Consider adding concierge benefits to your benefit portfolio. [August 2016, 548 word article]

Voluntary insurance isn’t just for life and health. You can help your employees save significantly on their auto and home insurance by offering coverage through a voluntary employer group plan. [August 2016, 468 word article]

In the U.S., benefits have long formed an important part of an employee’s overall compensation package.  And employees value their benefits. Many will go so far as to accept a position with a slightly lower salary because the employer offers a good health plan, dependent care benefits or spousal coverage, for example. [June 2016, 262 word article]

According to one matrix, “reasonable” attorney fees range from $255 per hour for an attorney with one to three years’ experience, up to $520 per hour for one with 20 years’ experience. A legal plan can help your employees control these expenses. [June 2016, 782 word article]

The move toward “consumer-driven” health care has created a fair amount of anxiety among employees. High deductibles, limited formularies and uncovered transportation costs can eat through an afflicted employee’s savings quickly. One way to provide peace of mind is critical illness insurance. [June 2016, 500 word article] 

“Unlike other forms of insurance provided through the workplace, long-term care insurance is typically funded completely by the employee, without a contribution from the employer. Even without a contribution from the employer, long-term care insurance through the workplace can give employees the advantages of group insurance over individual policies.” —U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [June 2016, 770 word article]

As the population ages and computer use increases, impaired vision is becoming a growing problem in the workplace. If you suspect a worker has a vision problem, how should you handle the situation? [April 2016, 300 word article]

In survey after survey, employees rank vision benefits with medical insurance, dental benefits and prescription drug benefits as one of their top four benefit choices. With its low cost and high return on investment, all employers should consider adding vision insurance to their menu of voluntary benefits. [April 2016, 715 word article]

Employees are feeling more confident about their finances than they were four years ago. However, four fairly common events put many employees just one step away from financial ruin. Voluntary benefits can help. [April 2016, 811 word article]

Sometimes seen as the red-headed stepchild of the benefits world, voluntary benefits are coming into their own. A recent study brings insights into how three key constituencies—employees, employers and benefits brokers—see voluntary benefits. [April 2016, 699 word article]

Although dental plans are “excepted health plans” exempt from Affordable Care Act (ACA) reforms, two provisions in the ACA affect dental plans. [February 2016, 316 word article]

Life insurance is the backbone of a family’s financial plan, but misconceptions abound. A voluntary benefit specialist who is available at enrollments can educate your employees about this important financial tool. [February 2016, 863 word article]

A disability can affect anyone, at any time. By age 45, you have a 50 percent chance of having at least one disability that lasts 90 days or more. When employees lose their ability to work, long-term disability insurance can make the difference between focusing on healing…and financial ruin. [February 2016, 479 word article]

Voluntary benefits can do two things for your retention and recruiting programs: they can give smaller employers a way to provide a variety of benefits at no cost. For other employers, they provide a way to enhance the employer-provided benefit program. [February 2016, 764 word article]

The number of critical illness policies in force continues to grow, found the annual Gen Re/National Association for Critical Illness Insurance Market Survey. Between 2012 and 2014, new business premium grew nearly 24 percent, from $308 million to nearly $381 million. During the same time, in-force premium increased to $1 billion on more than 3 million insured lives. [December 2015, 367 word article]

For years you’ve been encouraging your employees to save for retirement. But what about other savings programs? The growing popularity of 529 College Savings Plans provides employers the chance to offer employees a valuable benefit at virtually no cost. [December 2015, 767 word article]

Natural disasters and world events have affected the travel itinerary or plans of one in eight U.S. adults (12 percent) since summer 2010, according to a survey conducted for the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA). Travel insurance can help protect your employees’ investment of time and money in their vacation. [December 2015, 357 word article]

You may have heard the phrase “Buy term and invest the difference.” That works if you have the discipline for a regular investment program. But for some, a permanent life insurance policy will provide more security and better returns. It also offers tax advantages that other investments lack. [December 2015, 447 word article]

More than one-third of adults surveyed for the Surgeon General’s study on oral health (2000) had not visited a dentist in the past 12 months. Laurence R. Weissbrot, FSA, MAAA, director of actuarial and underwriting at Northeast Delta Dental in Concord, N.H., says that “75 percent or more of the people who have dental coverage see their dentists on a regular basis. Fewer than 50 percent of people without dental coverage do so.” [October 2015, 335 word article]

If you’re considering wellness programs to improve employee health and productivity, don’t overlook the importance of financial health! [October 2015, 498 word article]

Most Americans insure their homes and their cars. Yet fewer have insurance on their most valuable asset—their ability to earn a living. [October 2015, 600 word article]

An estimated 17.6 million persons, or about 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of at least one incident of identity theft in 2014, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced recently. That makes identity theft the most common property crime. [October 2015, 642 word article]

When your family’s circumstances change, so should your insurance safety net. If your employees have experienced any of the following life changes lately, they might need additional or different insurance coverages. Voluntary benefits can fill some of those needs. [August 2015, 148 word article]

A 65-year-old man and woman retiring today would need $247,000 to have a 90 percent chance to cover their health expenses during retirement. A couple retiring at a younger age would need more, as would those with costly chronic conditions. This does not include any type of long-term care, including nursing homes. Are you prepared? [August 2015, 533 word article]

Many people think they’re most likely to get injured in a car accident or on the job. But home-related injuries cause nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits each year. Unintentional home injuries cost Americans at least $222 billion per year in medical expenses, with an additional $165 billion in medical costs from injuries that possibly occurred in the home. Are your employees financially prepared for the toll an accidental injury can take? [August 2015, 597 word article]

Voluntary benefits can do two things for your benefit program: they can give smaller employers, who might not be able to afford benefits, a way to provide a variety of benefits at no cost. For other employers, it provides a way to enhance the employer-provided benefit program. [August 2015, 666 word article]

Just like at a hotel, an employer’s concierge service can perform services such as making a restaurant reservation or buying tickets for a concert, to finding a plumber or babysitter. Without a concierge, employees might otherwise spend work time handling these tasks. [June 2015, 353 word article]

The good news is the likelihood of surviving a cancer diagnosis has increased. The bad news is the cost of treating cancer has also increased…and so have deductibles and copayments. [June 2015, 540 word article]

An improving economy will bring sighs of relief to many employers. Unfortunately, it could also bring increased employee turnover. A strong benefits program can help you retain your valuable employees. [June 2015, 879 word article]

Making insurance available through the workplace, including with voluntary programs, can help eliminate a dangerous financial problem for many women: inadequate life insurance. [June 2015, 587 word article]

As this newsletter went to press, the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments in the case King v. Burwell. Their ruling could determine the fate of the Affordable Care Act. [April 2015, 317 word article]

Most people think of buying life insurance when they have children. But employees who have no children, or who have grown children can still use life insurance. Here’s how. [April 2015, 476 word article]

The final cost of a medical insurance plan depends on more than just the premiums, even when you compare plans with similar benefits. Understanding the following definitions can help your employees understand the components that affect their medical coverage costs. [April 2015, 800 word article]

A survey by one vendor found that 39 percent of employees want to buy identity theft insurance through their employer. Are you providing this valuable benefit? [April 2015, 711 word article]

Administering payroll, benefits, time and attendance cost mid-sized employers $2,000 per employee in 2011, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study. Commissioned for payroll provider ADP, the study found that large employers typically paid a bit less, at $1,400 per employee per year. It’s no wonder that many employers turn to third-party administrators. [February 2015, 328 word article]

Voluntary insurance isn’t just for life and health. You can help your employees save significantly on their auto and home insurance by offering coverage through a voluntary employer group plan. [February 2015, 465 word article]

The Affordable Care Act will impose a 40 percent non-deductible excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans starting in 2018. You might be surprised to learn the Cadillac tax could affect your organization’s plan. [February 2015, 655 word article]

Internal Revenue Code sections 79 and 83 provide guidance to employers who provide group term life to their employees. Even though voluntary benefit plans are employee-paid, under certain situations a voluntary group life plan could create tax consequences for employees. [February 2015, 573 word article]

Over the last several years even smaller companies have been taking benefit communications and decision-support systems online. With a voluntary benefit program, your benefit vendor will handle all administration, including employee enrollments, questions and claims problems. Selecting a benefit vendor with a robust online support system can enhance satisfaction with your voluntary benefit programs. [December 2014, 233 word article]

If early season trends continue, Americans could spend more this holiday season than they have in several years. Employee purchasing plans can help employees avoid a post-holiday financial hangover. [December 2014, 458 word article]

Today, 57 percent of all workers in private industry have access to employer-provided life insurance. An employee’s status makes a big difference, though—72 percent of full-time workers have access to life benefits, while only 13 percent of part-timers do. [December 2014, 537 word article]

Part-time and variable-hour employees are more likely to lack employer-provided benefits than other workers. Voluntary benefits let employers provide benefits to these workers at no cost. [December 2014, 810 word article]

Voluntary benefits can do two things for your benefit program. They can give smaller employers a way to provide a variety of benefits at no cost. For larger employers, they can enhance employer-provided benefits. [October 2014, 304 word article]

If your employees are married, partnered or have dependents, you can probably bet they don’t have enough life insurance coverage. According to a Nationwide Financial study, 98 percent of consumers with a partner or dependents are about $1.2 million short of the coverage they need to replace their lifetime income. [October 2014, 371 word article]

November is long-term care awareness month. That makes it a good time to educate your employees on long-term care…and offer them coverage for this costly need. [October 2014, 853 word article]

Employees say they want more choice in their benefits programs. Employers have increased voluntary benefit offerings in response. But only 36 percent of employers are satisfied with employee participation in their voluntary benefit programs. What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. [October 2014, 771 word article]

How much do you know about life insurance? Take the following quiz to find out: [August 2014, 365 word article]

Many studies have shown the positive benefits of having pets. Your employees would likely agree. If they’re like most Americans, 39 percent have at least one dog and 33 percent have at least one cat. And many Americans consider their pets as family members. [August 2014, 900 word article]

Accidental injuries rank as the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance can give your employees financial assistance when the unexpected happens. [August 2014, 829 word article]

At a time when many employers can barely afford medical insurance, why provide dental insurance? Read on for more information. [August 2014, 717 word article]

Voluntary insurance plans have traditionally required the employer to allow employees to make payments through payroll deduction. [June 2014, 299 word article]

The basic group disability income policy acts as a safety net for employees when a disability keeps them out of work. A basic policy probably provides enough coverage for rank-and-file employees, but its structure can create a major coverage gap for higher-income employees. [June 2014, 840 word article]

Legal problems equal productivity problems. And in 2012, 74 percent of full-time employees surveyed had experienced a “legal life event” in the last year, up from 69 percent in 2009. [June 2014, 795 word article]

A large percentage of Americans are either uninsured or underinsured for life insurance. Employers that offer voluntary life insurance offer their employees a way toward a more secure financial future. [June 2014, 797 word article]

April 2 is National Employee Benefits Day, a good time to recognize the value of quality employee benefits. This year, the International Federation of Employee Benefit Plans is encouraging plan sponsors to use the annual event to focus on the coming retirement crisis and to “motivate participants to actively engage in their financial wellness.” [April 2014, 365 word article]

It’s tax season, and your employees might be looking for a way to save on their taxes next year. Section 529 College Savings Plans offer employees a tax-advantaged way to save for college costs, and cost employers virtually nothing. [April 2014, 582 word article]

As medical technologies and treatments improve, more people are surviving once-fatal forms of cancer, heart disease and other conditions. Many employers have responded to rising costs by increasing their employees' share of costs. This can leave many employees with staggering healthcare expenses—even if they have medical benefits. The answer? Supplemental health benefits. [April 2014, 776 word article]

Employers can avoid unnecessary regulation and paperwork by taking action to ensure their voluntary benefits do not fall under ERISA. [April 2014, 567 word article]

If your organization offers employer-paid life insurance, employees don’t have to go through a lengthy application process. [February 2014, 371 word article]

Nobody likes to think of their eventual demise, but having the proper arrangements and finances in place can be a final act of love for a family. Voluntary benefits can make it easier for your employees to deal with this important aspect of their financial plan. [February 2014, 786 word article]

Voluntary insurance isn’t just for life and health. You can help your employees save significantly on their auto and home insurance by offering coverage through a voluntary employer group plan. [February 2014, 463 word article]

Offering voluntary health, life and accident benefits through a cafeteria plan can help both employers and employees save on taxes. [February 2014, 976 word article]

While voluntary benefits have advantages, they can pose some challenges for employers. Here are some things to consider: [December 2013, 319 word article]

Life insurance stems from the benevolent societies of ancient Greece and the trade guilds of the Middle Ages. These groups pooled funds to pay funeral benefits for members, to support widows and orphans of members and to help members who became elderly or infirm. Today, life insurance can do all of this…and a lot more. [December 2013, 666 word article]

In 2010, the cost of a hospital stay averaged $9,700; for people ages 45 to 64, the average cost reached $12,100—about equal to the maximum out-of-pocket cost of a high-deductible health plan in 2014.* [December 2013, 506 word article]

Employees often don’t realize the value of their benefits package. A benefits statement can be an effective way to communicate the true value of your benefits package to employees. [December 2013, 591 word article]

When selecting a pet insurance policy, keep these considerations in mind: [August 2013, 295 word article]

Ninety-five percent of veterinary offices have recommended a less effective medical solution for a pet because the owner couldn’t afford the most effective one. And 95 percent had euthanized sick or injured pets because the owner could not afford treatment, found a survey by the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. [August 2013, 636 word article]

Group long-term disability plans offer affordable benefits, but have some limitations. Voluntary benefits can bridge the gap. [August 2013, 756 word article]

In October, the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act will be accepting applications for coverage that begins on January 1, 2014. However, the exchanges will be offering major medical insurance only. When it comes to other benefits, voluntary benefits can fill the gaps. [August 2013, 713 word article]

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s “shared responsibility” provisions will require “large employers” to provide health coverage to employees or pay a tax starting in 2014. Do the provisions affect your organization? [June 2013, 353 word article]

Legal problems can lead to stress and unexpected expense. Attorneys with 11 to 15 years of experience charge an average of $312 per hour. A legal plan can help your employees cope with the stress and control their expenses…at no cost to your organization. [June 2013, 782 word article]

As use of computer monitors grows, so does the incidence of computer vision syndrome, or CVS. While CVS does not lead to permanent eye damage, it can lead to a loss of productivity. Vision insurance can help. [June 2013, 809 word article]

Travel booms during the summer, and airlines are expecting one of their busiest summers in years. However, even the best plan can’t prepare travelers for every natural disaster or event that could affect travel plans. Travel insurance can help. [June 2013, 351 word article]

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers and group health plans to provide “clear, consistent and comparable information about health plan benefits and coverage” to Americans with private health coverage. [February 2013, 286 word article]

Voluntary insurance isn’t just for life and health. You can help your employees save significantly on their auto and home insurance by offering coverage through a voluntary employer group plan. [February 2013, 577 word article]

Among employers of any size that offered voluntary benefits in 2011, most offered between three and five products. (Eastbridge Consultants, Inc., Trends in Voluntary Benefits) Experts agree that it’s important not to overwhelm employees with too many choices. If you’re considering offering or adding to your voluntary benefits, where do you begin? [February 2013, 471 word article]

Offering voluntary health, life and accident benefits through a cafeteria plan can help both employers and employees save on taxes. [February 2013, 882 word article]

ERISA stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law that sets minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans in private industry. Among other things, ERISA requires individuals who manage plans (and other fiduciaries) to meet certain standards of conduct. The law also contains detailed provisions for reporting to the government and disclosure to participants. Other provisions help assure that plan funds are protected and that participants who qualify receive their benefits. [October 2012, 371 word article]

Many of your Baby Boomer and Gen-X employees risk a retirement funding crisis. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can help. [October 2012, 760 word article]

Enrolling employees whose native language is not English in your benefit plans can present special challenges. Although this article focuses on Spanish-speakers, the principles will apply to communicating with any employees who speak English as a second language. [October 2012, 633 word article]

In the retirement field, defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, have been supplanting traditional defined benefit pension plans for the past 25 years or so. Many experts predict that we’ll be seeing a similar trend in health benefits, particularly among smaller employers. When employers transition to a defined contribution health plan, voluntary benefits will become increasingly attractive. [October 2012, 823 word article]

About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, reported the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. These ranged from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy and autism. [August 2012, 382 word article]

An employee assistance plan (EAP) can help employees deal with the personal problems that can adversely affect their work performance, health and well-being. Many group health plans include EAP services or offer an EAP as an option. If yours doesn’t, you might be able to offer an EAP on a voluntary basis. [August 2012, 692 word article]

“Money, work and the economy continue to be the most frequently cited causes of stress for Americans, as they have every year for the past 5 years.” So reported the American Psychological Association (APA) in a survey study titled Stress in America: Our Health at Risk. [August 2012, 602 word article]

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Labor National Compensation Survey, just 26 percent of workers in private industry had access to employer-provided vision care benefits. In comparison, 70 percent had access to healthcare benefits, 68 percent had access to outpatient prescription drug benefits and 45 percent had access to dental benefits. [August 2012, 583 word article]

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance can help employees deal with the financial consequences of an unexpected tragedy. This type of coverage pays a benefit when the insured dies or loses a limb, vision or hearing as a direct result of an accident. [June 2012, 651 word article]

Nobody likes to think of their eventual demise, but having the proper arrangements and finances in place can be a final act of love for a family. Voluntary benefits can make it easier for your employees to deal with this important aspect of their financial plan. [June 2012, 859 word article]

If you think voluntary benefits mean only supplemental insurance programs, you could be missing an opportunity to provide your employees with a wide range of life-enhancing benefits, at no cost to your organization. [June 2012, 744 word article]

Every long-term disability policy has certain provisions. These include: [April 2012, 411 word article]

The National Institutes of Health estimated the overall annual costs for cancer in 2010 at $263.8 billion. This includes $102.8 billion in direct medical costs, $20.9 billion in indirect morbidity costs (cost of lost productivity due to illness) and $140.1 billion for indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity from premature death). Source: Cancer Facts & Figures, American Cancer Society, 2010 [April 2012, 731 word article]

Nearly two-thirds (58 percent) of American adults have not bought life insurance because they think it’s too expensive, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Information Institute in 2008. The III’s survey also found that many respondents hadn’t bought insurance because they just hadn’t gotten around to it or they didn’t know enough about insurance to feel comfortable buying it. [April 2012, 693 word article]

Many workers underestimate the impact a disability can have on their finances. Although the average long-term disability lasts more than two years, 68 percent of workers age 21-35 have funds available to cover only three months or less of normal living expenses. Long-term disability insurance can mean the difference between financial survival and bankruptcy if a disability affects a family breadwinner. [April 2012, 715 word article]

The best way to prevent identity theft is to protect personal identifying information. Sharing the tips below can help your employees minimize the risk of experiencing identity theft: [December 2011, 382 word article]

First, the good news: the number of identity theft victims dropped 28 percent between 2009 and 2010—from an estimated 8.1 million adults to 3 million. Now the bad news: their average out-of-pocket costs per incident have increased, from an average of $387 in 2009 to $631 in 2010. (Source: Javelin Strategy and Research, 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report) [December 2011, 534 word article]

Universal life, a form of whole or “permanent” life insurance, has become the most popular type of permanent life insurance. According to LIMRA, an insurance research association, premium for universal life (UL) policies in the U.S. grew 43 percent during the first six months of 2011. The number of policies in force grew by 14 percent during the same period. You can offer this popular form of life insurance on a voluntary basis to give your employees another savings option at great group rates. [December 2011, 833 word article]

Skyrocketing healthcare costs and shrinking retirement accounts aren’t the only issues that worry workers. As companies look for new and economical benefits to offer employees, they’re discovering that relatively low-cost extras can solve some of their workers’ concerns. [December 2011, 813 word article]

Only half of Americans surveyed said they knew enough about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.   [October 2013, 294 word article]

Open enrollment can be a stressful time for benefit administrators and enrollees alike.These strategies will make open enrollment easier for all involved.  [October 2013, 795 word article]

A purchasing plan can help your employees get through this holiday season with less stress and fewer post-holiday spending regrets.  [October 2013, 480 word article]

The Affordable Care Act will impose a 40 percent non-deductible excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans starting in 2018. You might be surprised to learn the Cadillac tax could affect your organization’s plan.  [October 2013, 663 word article]

The best way to prevent identity theft is to protect personal identifying information. Sharing the tips below can help your employees minimize the risk of experiencing identity theft: [April 2013, 334 word article]

Today, employer-provided life insurance benefits have become more valuable than ever. In 2011, the percentage of adults in the U.S. with group life insurance reached 36 percent, surpassing the percentage of adults with individual coverage (35 percent) for the first time. Although a valuable benefit, employer-paid group life has some limitations. Voluntary plans can help overcome them.  [April 2013, 747 word article]

What one policy can cover your employees for death, disability and accidents? If you didn’t guess accidental death and dismemberment coverage (AD&D), read on for more information.  [April 2013, 752 word article]

The Federal Trade Commission received more than 371,000 complaints of identity theft, making it the top category in its 2012 annual report of consumer complaints. That number likely reflects only a small percentage of victims, many of whom don’t bother to file a complaint. [April 2013, 414 word article]

One in four Americans are incorporating life insurance into their retirement planning efforts. In fact, individuals age 18 and older cite life insurance planning as a top reason for buying life insurance, while individuals age 55+ said retirement planning was their primary reason for buying. Offering your employees voluntary life benefits can make it easier for them to enhance their retirement security. [December 2012, 665 word article]

Today, more employers than ever have turned to high-deductible health plans to control employee healthcare costs. While these plans offer lower premiums, they leave employees with higher out-of-pocket expenses than other types of plans. A hospital indemnity plan can help pay these expenses. [December 2012, 714 article]

Productivity often suffers over the holidays. Voluntary benefits can help your employees get through the holiday season with less shopping, less stress and more savings—all of which can affect productivity. Best of all, these programs cost nothing for your organization. [December 2012, 674 word article]

A high number of American adults have dental problems or do not see the dentist regularly. Voluntary dental benefits can encourage better dental health—and better overall health as well. Consider the following facts from the National Center for Health Statistics (2010 data, unless otherwise noted… [262 word article, February 2012]

Dental health plays a surprisingly important role in an individual’s overall health. Read on for more information on how voluntary dental benefits can help improve your employees’ health.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2011, only 29 percent of businesses with 99 or fewer employees offered dental insurance, and 56 percent with 100-499 employees did so compared to 73 percent of those with 500 or more employees… [778 word article, February 2012]

An improving economy will bring sighs of relief to many employers. Unfortunately, it could also bring increased employee turnover. A strong benefits program can help you retain your valuable employees.

The Coming Turnover Storm

Right Management, a branch of Manpower staffing services, found that 84 percent of employees surveyed planned to look for a new job in 2012, while only five percent planned to stay in their current job… [661 word article, February 2012]

The MetLife Employee Benefits Trends Study found that 54 percent of employees are interested in having life insurance available through the workplace, even if they have to pay the entire cost themselves. Making insurance available through the workplace, including with voluntary programs, can help eliminate a dangerous financial problem for many women: inadequate life insurance… [622 word article, February 2012]

Here are the top misperceptions employees have about disability, according to The Council for Disability Awareness:

It’s not going to happen to me. A disabling accident occurs every two seconds in the United States, yet nine out of 10 workers dramatically underestimate their chances of becoming disabled… [232 word article, October 2011]

Open enrollment can be a stressful time for benefit administrators and enrollees alike. These strategies will make open enrollment easier for all involved.

Paper shuffling, bewildered looks, and frantic note-taking. It’s another open enrollment season—the annual 30-day period during which workers choose their benefits for the coming year… [787 word article, October 2011]

By the time people reach age 35, they have a one in three chance of being disabled for more than 90 days during the rest of their working life, according to the Health Insurance Association of America. What would your employees do if they became injured or ill and couldn’t work for an extended period? … [764 word article, October 2011]

Companies that exclude vision benefits for employees may want to rethink the effects on the bottom line. Vision disorders can cut productivity and cost U.S. companies billions.

According to the 2010 U.S. Department of Labor National Compensation Survey, just 28 percent of private employers offer vision care… [572 word article, October 2011]

The average critical illness policy has a face amount of about $20,000, but face amounts can range from $5,000 to $100,000. The face amount indicates the maximum the policy will pay for a covered illness or during the policy period. Premiums cost about $300 to $500 annually, depending on the health, gender, age and location of the insured… [323 word article, August 2011]

Voluntary terminations slowed during the last few years as employees nervous about their job prospects stayed with their employers during the recession. That could change soon, however. The 2011 MetLife Survey of Employee Benefit Trends found employee loyalty has reached a three-year low, and many would like to leave their jobs. Is it time for employers to take another look at their benefit plans?… [632 word article, August 2011]

“Unlike other forms of insurance provided through the workplace, long-term care insurance is typically funded completely by the employee, without a contribution from the employer. Even without a contribution from the employer, long-term care insurance through the workplace can give employees the advantages of group insurance over individual policies.”—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics… [784 word article, August 2011]

Group insurance isn’t just for life and health. You can help your employees save significantly on their auto and home insurance by offering coverage through a voluntary employer group plan.

According to a survey on insurance literacy conducted by Zogby International for MetLife, only 19 percent of consumers surveyed knew they could get a discount by buying their auto insurance through an employee group… [488 word article, August 2011]

Do your employees have the coverage they need when they travel for business?

Many domestic employee group medical plans offer only limited coverage for medical expenses incurred out of the country. Some cover emergency treatment only, and some will require the insured to pay medical providers and apply for reimbursement… [320 word article, June 2011]

Summer vacation season is nearly here. Voluntary travel insurance plans can help your employees protect their investment and their health while traveling.

Terrorism, political turmoil, natural disasters and strikes have made travel insurance more popular among those who travel for business or pleasure. In 2010, Americans spent nearly $1.8 billion on travel insurance, up 15 percent from 2009, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA)… [706 word article, June 2011]

A study by Prudential found that two-thirds of employees 66% say offering voluntary benefits increases the overall value of their benefits, while more than half (52 percent) of respondents to a MetLife poll said that they wanted a wider variety of voluntary benefit offerings. Before offering or adding to your voluntary benefits, though, it pays to learn about related compliance issues… [728 word article, June 2011]

Dental insurance follows only medical insurance on the list of benefits most important to your employees. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than half (47 percent) of all employees in private industry had access to dental benefits in 2010. Voluntary dental benefits can help you eliminate this gap… [897 word article, June 2011]

For employees:

·    They choose the programs they want to participate in and can often choose the coverage levels they want.

·    They receive healthcare benefits directly, rather than the provider. This allows the insured or his/her family to decide how to use benefits… [182 word article, April 2011]

Debt, bankruptcy, mortgage refinancings, short sales—more Americans are dealing with these problems since the recession hit than at any other time in recent history. A legal plan can help them cope…at no cost to your organization.

Although some employee assistance programs (EAPs) provide legal services, benefits are usually very limited… [582 word article, April 2011]

Many studies have shown the positive benefits of having pets. Your employees would likely agree. If they’re like most Americans, 39 percent have at least one dog and 33 percent have at least one cat.

As human medicine has advanced, so has veterinary medicine… [901 word article, April 2011]

What keeps CFOs up at night? A survey by auditing/consulting firm Grant Thornton, LLP found that most (84 percent) worried about healthcare and pension costs.

It’s no wonder—employee benefit costs averaged $8.32 per hour worked, or nearly 30 percent of employee compensation costs in the private sector in June 2011… [752 word article, April 2011]

Dependent care assistance plans (DCAPs) can offer significant tax savings to both employees and employer – if they are managed correctly. But if used incorrectly, employees may actually lose hard-earned dollars.

Make sure employees understand the following.

1. Eligible dependents include… [252 word article, February 2011]

Most employees need protection beyond the basic group term insurance. When you offer voluntary life insurance to your employees, they can choose the type and amount of coverage that meets their needs and budget.

Voluntary life is optional and completely employee-paid, so the employer has no direct out-of-pocket costs… [761 word article, February 2011]

Dependent care assistance plans (DCAPs) can help employees and employers save money. They offer many advantages for very little expense, but employees must “use it or lose it.”

When you set up a dependent care assistance plan, your employees can elect to contribute pre-tax money into a dependent care account… [493 word article, February 2011]

Although limited medical plans (also called “mini-medical” plans) have existed for nearly 30 years, healthcare reform is likely to bring about their demise by 2014, unless the law is changed or repealed. If your organization currently offers a limited benefit plan, here’s what you need to know now…and what to look for in 2014… [952 word article, February 2011]

Critical illness insurance differs from cancer insurance and other so-called “dread disease” coverages, which have been available for some time. First, critical illness policies cover illnesses in addition to cancer. What’s more, cancer policies are typically indemnity plans that pay for specific treatment costs, such as hospital stays or radiation treatments… [194 word article, December 2010]

For years you’ve been encouraging your employees to save for retirement. But what about other savings programs? 529 College Savings Plans provide employers the chance to offer employees a valuable benefit at virtually no cost. Take a closer look at this savings benefit to decide if it’s right for your company… [834 word article, December 2010]

Accidents can happen in an instant, but the consequences can last a lifetime. Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance gives your employees added financial security in sudden and tragic circumstances.

AD&D insurance can be a valuable and low-cost addition to your current benefits package. But before offering AD&D coverage, it’s important to understand what AD&D covers and what it doesn’t… [834 word article, December 2010]

Today a diagnosis of cancer or other critical illness often means dealing with a chronic condition rather than a death sentence. People with these conditions often face skyrocketing costs for chemotherapy. In addition, adjunctive therapies, those that ease chemotherapy symptoms, can cost as much as $10,000 per round of treatment… [652 word article, December 2010]

As the population ages and computer use increases, impaired vision is becoming a growing problem in the workplace. If you suspect a worker has a vision problem, how should you handle the situation?

As you are probably aware, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments strictly limit the circumstances under which an employer may ask questions about an employee’s… [303 word article, October 2010]

In survey after survey, employees rank vision benefits with medical insurance, dental benefits and prescription drug benefits as one of their top four benefit choices. With its low cost and high return on investment, all employers should consider adding vision insurance to their menu of voluntary benefits.

Despite the fact that vision insurance generally costs between $5 and $15 per employee per month… [665 word article, October 2010]

Benefits account for nearly 30 percent of employers’ compensation costs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What can employers do to battle benefit cost inflation?

Group medical costs represent the single most costly benefit, with average premiums of $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage, according to the 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation survey “Employer Health Benefits.” … [464 word article, October 2010]

What happens when your employees become injured or ill and can’t work for a period of time? Group disability income insurance gives your employees the funds to meet daily expenses when they cannot work. Disability benefits can help your firm attract and keep workers while increasing productivity and the overall well-being of your workforce… [856 word article, October 2010]

Currently, millions of older adults who have worked hard all their lives are forced to spend down their life savings and go into a Medicaid-financed nursing home, because they can’t afford care at home or in a private nursing home. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can prevent this.

Only about 10 percent of seniors have chosen to purchase long-term care insurance… [719 word article, August 2010]

...it probably is, especially when it comes to health insurance.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud warns that, “Crooks are exploiting confusion over health-care reform….pitchmen are lying they’re from the federal government. They’re selling fake ‘special’ or ‘limited open enrollment’ policies, lying that the coverage is ‘required’ by health-care reform.” Pitches come door-to-door, over the fax and by email, often targeting seniors… [622 word article, August 2010]

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month—a great time to educate your employees on the importance of life insurance, and to give them an opportunity to buy the coverage they need at competitive group rates.

Most financial experts recommend insuring a breadwinner’s life for a minimum of between three and six times annual salary, and most recommend much more—at least 10 times annual salary… [635 word article, August 2010]

In a 2009 survey by the nonprofit International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 84 percent of employers said they offered some type of voluntary benefit. An additional 5 percent planned to offer them.

Most employers use voluntary benefits to enhance their life and health benefit portfolio, as reflected in the benefits most frequently offered by employers who offer voluntary benefits:... [221 word article, June 2010]

Dental health plays a surprisingly important role in an individual’s overall health. Read on for more information on how voluntary dental benefits can help improve your employees’ health.

Employees value dental benefits. Dental insurance is the second most requested benefit — right behind medical insurance. Yet only 45 percent of employers offer this valuable coverage... [790 word article, June 2010]

A 2007 study by Russell Research/ARAG found that 70 percent of full-time U.S. workers had experienced some kind of “legal life event” in the past year. Of these, 20 percent said they were less productive at work, and one-third took time off of work — an average of 13 days — to deal with legal needs... [689 word article, June 2010]

Are you missing an opportunity to enhance benefit programs and employee loyalty…at no extra cost?

All employers, particularly smaller ones, might be reluctant to add expenses during these uncertain economic times. But many employers are missing an opportunity to enhance their benefit programs through voluntary programs, which cost them nothing... [482 word article, June 2010]

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