Voluntary Benefits

What Are Voluntary Benefits?

Voluntary benefits are services and/or goods that an employer offers at a discounted group rate but are paid for (either fully or partially) by an employee through a payroll deduction. Voluntary benefits are supplemental to other traditional benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc.) and don’t have any direct costs to the employer.

Voluntary benefits may also be called employee-paid benefits or supplemental insurance.

What Are Some Examples of Voluntary Benefits?

Here are some examples of voluntary benefits within each of the seven general types:

  1. Health: This category contains additional health insurance options, such as:
    1. Critical illness insurance
    2. Accident insurance
    3. Emergency hospital transportation insurance
    4. Telehealth access
    5. Disability insurance
  2. Dental: Supplemental dental options help close the gap between covered procedures and uncovered ones, which may include:
    1. Sealants
    2. Crowns
    3. Tooth removal
    4. Dentures
  3. Vision: This covers or discounts regular eye exams and other procedures, such as:
    1. Glasses
    2. Contact lenses
    3. Laser eye surgery
  4. Wellness and Lifestyle: This offers free or reduced services for the employee’s well being. Examples include:
    1. Gym membership
    2. Legal services
  5. Financial: This supplemental benefit helps an employee to better manage their finances.
    1. Financial planning services
    2. Tax help
    3. Investment advice
    4. Student loan repayment programs
  6. Security: Options in this category cover an employee in case of death or identity theft.
    1. Life insurance
    2. Identity theft protection
  7. Personal and Miscellaneous: These benefits can be anything else the employer feels will benefit the employee and increase retention rates.
    1. Flexible work hours
    2. Remote work
    3. Pet insurance
    4. Travel accident insurance

Why Are Voluntary Benefits Important?

Voluntary benefits are important for employers to offer their employees because they are a win-win for everyone involved.

Voluntary benefits:

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What Are the Advantages of Offering Voluntary Benefits?

Employers can reap many advantages of offering voluntary benefits:

When you present voluntary benefits to your employees, point out these advantages of receiving voluntary benefits:

What Are the Limitations of Voluntary Benefits?

Similarly to traditional benefits, there are a few limitations of voluntary benefits, namely:

How Can You Determine Which Voluntary Benefits to Offer Your Employees?

To determine which voluntary benefits to offer your employees, you must identify the company’s objectives, determine the needs of your employees, evaluate providers and their benefits, and review current (and evolving) legislative agendas surrounding the issues covered by both traditional and voluntary benefits.

Some questions that need to be asked when going through this process are:

Doing all this may seem like a lot of work, but if you want the value and benefits both you and your employees can gain from having voluntary benefit options, then it’s worth the effort. However, insurance/benefits brokers and specific software meant for the administration of voluntary benefits can make these tasks much quicker and easier.