Research Shows an Upward Shift of Employees Sharing Benefits

December 16, 2014

With the right amount of effective communication and the right employee benefits, businesses can meet the challenges presented by health care reform, changing demographics and employee budgets. Experts say that companies are dealing with the impact the Affordable Care Act has along with their employees' ever-tightening budgets. They say that every company should explore possible options for protecting not only the health of their workers but also the company itself.

Two of the most notable trends in recent research was the change toward cost sharing and the amount of benefits packages used in the workplace. These packages are commonly known as voluntary benefits. During the past decade, research shows significant growth of voluntary benefits popularity. This includes coverage for critical illnesses, accidents, disability and life. The growth was noted across all age groups, industries and company sizes. The following findings, which were noted since 2013, were also of interest to researchers:

- Employees between the ages of 20 and 29 as well as between the ages of 50 and 59 raised their voluntary benefits to higher margins than the age group of 30 to 49. However, the employees in the 60 to 69 age group raised theirs the most.

- The most significant ownership increases for voluntary benefits were noted in the fields of information services, architecture, engineering, management, marketing and legal services.

- Growth for sales among all company sizes ranging from fewer to 100 to over 2,000 workers reached into the double digits.

The notable growth of popularity in voluntary benefits highlights the importance of making sure employees' needs are met with affordable prices. More workplaces are becoming proactive about encouraging benefits, and more workers are taking advantage of the options available to them.

Researchers also studied other benefits strategies. They analyzed financial protection coverage that was ready to meet the ACA's requirements to complement other benefit programs. They also reviewed value-added services, which are items such as education and enrollment. Automatic enrollment was considered to ensure all workers had access to coverage when needed. There were also several simplified choices and benefits to attract employees to sign up for coverage and retain them.

Experts say that all of the changes in the market may leave workers with coverage gaps. They say that employers along with their benefits partner companies should take active roles to assist workers in making the best possible decisions for themselves and their loved ones. To learn more about benefits options or for answers to questions about an existing policy, discuss concerns with an agent.

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