It is widely felt that the role of voluntary benefits will increase now that the U.S. Supreme court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Voluntary Benefits Basics
Voluntary benefits are insurance products that employees may choose to purchase through their companies at rates that are lower than they could get on their own. A few examples of voluntary benefits are dental, vision, life (mostly term), accidental death and disability, disability (short and long-term), supplemental health (i.e.- specified disease, critical illness, hospital only, etc.) and cancer insurance. Many employers offer voluntary benefits because they allow companies to provide a more robust benefits package at no cost to them.
Many believe that voluntary benefits will become one of those favored alternatives. Many believe this because of the following trends occuring in health care and health insurance:
- Anyone who wants to protect themselves from runaway medical charges or unexpected health care bills needs to consider the following.
- As employees take on more responsibility for paying for health care, voluntary benefits can provide much-needed additional coverage. Here's Senior Vice President John Stanley's summary of key trends to help employers plan their voluntary benefits strategy going forward.
- Cost-shifting: The move toward employers shifting more health care costs on to employees is helping drive voluntary benefits sales. Employees need greater options, which is exactly what voluntary benefits provides.
To back that up, a recent survey of employers found that many (49 percent) expect to add voluntary, employee-paid insurance benefits to their plans within the next year.
Colonial Life surveyed more than 750 human resource managers and benefits administrators at the and found many saying that regulatory and economic issues are forcing them to make changes in their employee benefit packages. The Colonial Life survey, according to insurance news net focused on asking about employee benefits packages and benefits communications efforts.
Transamerica positioned to thrive
Executives at Transamerica Employee Benefits, for instance continue to hear that employers want to provide the best possible benefits packages for their employees to boost recruitment and retention, says Stanley.
Supplemental life & health coverage options give employers a variety of choices to choose from, according to Brad Ridnour,a Transamerica Senior Vice President. "That is a good thing as long as there's a strong communication and education to support the product rollouts," Ridnour argues.
The trend towards voluntary benefits continues to work in favor of both insurance agents and employers and now technology is playing a bigger role.
Transamerica has been evaluating how its current product portfolio is positioned > to transition into both public and private exchanges as they develop. Because 17 states have indicated they will continue their health insurance exchange even if the PPACA is overturned by the Supreme Court this is an aggressive but calculated move by Transamerica.
With that in mind there has also been a surge of innovative technology solutions in the marketplace that is being seen as the future of education, enrollment and overall distribution of insurance products.
Transamerica Employee Benefits is a business unit of Transamerica Life Insurance Company (Cedar Rapids, IA) that designs and markets voluntary group life and supplemental health insurance products. The company primarily helps employers provide their employees the best possible benefits and is one of the fastest growing voluntary benefits carriers in the industry.
Consulting the industry on change
Whatever the decision, Transamerica Employee Benefits is going to take a step back, evaluate the impact, and move forward in providing employers and employees across the country access to benefits they need. Transamerica has planned its response in the market to the Supreme Court decision for months to prepare for possible outcomes/decisions and believe that no matter the decision, there will be an opportunity to advise employers on the changes and specifics.