Voluntary employee benefits

Voluntary benefit programs supports both employers and employees

Offering a robust voluntary benefits program enhances and fills gaps for both employers and employees. Take time to review your current plans.

Does your organization offer a robust voluntary benefits program? Such a program enhances and fills gaps in benefits offered to employees. Voluntary benefits are designed to be paid and paid out directly to the employee for use in ways they deem necessary.

Voluntary benefits could include coverages for specific life events such as cancer, heart attack/stroke/coma/paralysis, accidents, legal situations, identity theft situations, short- and long-term disability and vision. Deductibles, co-pays, lost wages or retirement are a few ways that benefits can be paid out after the recipient files a claim.

Identifying gaps in current employee benefit plans

Reviewing employer sponsored benefits is one of the first steps in finding possible gaps in current employee benefit plans. Employer sponsored benefits usually include health, dental and vision insurance; employer paid life; and retirement plans.

When reviewing employer sponsored benefits, consider areas that could be enhanced with voluntary benefits, such as:

  • how high deductibles and co-pays are for health insurance;
  • dental insurance annual benefits and percentages toward different procedures, such as crowns;
  • vision insurance total maximum paid out for exam and materials, such as glasses and contacts;
  • whether voluntary coverage is available for the spouse and dependents within the employer paid life insurance; and
  • reviewing the retirement plans offered (whether it is a 401(k), 457 or some other program), the fees charged and when the last plan was reviewed.

Benefiting employers and employees through voluntary benefits

Offering a robust voluntary benefits program enhances the existing employer-sponsored benefits plan, which has many advantages for employers and employees. Some of the many benefits include the following items:

  • Employee retention: Employees want additional ways to protect themselves and their families from possible catastrophic life events. Offering a variety of voluntary benefits retains employees and meets their personal needs.
  • Tax savings: FICA tax savings benefits both the employer and employee. The voluntary benefits are usually taken out of the employee’s check before taxes.
  • Short-term disability: Offering a voluntary short-term disability plan that protects the employees’ wages due to accidents, illness or pregnancy allows employers to step out of the lending business.
  • Voluntary accident plan: Reduce Monday morning workers compensation claims by offering a voluntary accident plan that proves when and where an accident occurred by providing a physician statement in order to receive payment after a claim.
  • Voluntary life products: Offering employer paid life insurance to employees is an inexpensive way to help the employee’s family in the event of the death of the employee. An employee may be able to cover his spouse and children for a low cost when the employer allows voluntary group term life insurance to be added to the employer paid life insurance program.
  • Retirement plans: Employees feel that employers are responsible for their income after they retire. A voluntary retirement program helps an employee take responsibility of their own future. This can also provide possible tax savings to both the employer and employee.
  • Legal and ID protection: Most people do not have a lawyer on retainer. Voluntary benefits are available that may help with legal situations, as well as identification theft.
  • Cancer and critical illness policies: These voluntary benefits include features that help with early detection, transportation, lodging and money to make ends meet during treatment. The products may also help with deductibles and co-pays.

In summary

Take some time to review your current plans and where gaps may exist. It is important to offer voluntary benefits that are sought after by employers and employees. For more information, contact Brad Bechtel using the information below.

Brad Bechtel

Senior Vice President
Employee Benefit Services

Brad Bechtel leads AGH’s employee benefit services (EBS) division, which serves clients nationwide. EBS is one of the region's largest providers of retirement plan recordkeeping services for daily valuation plans. The division provides consulting services to clients on employee benefit plans, including plan design, implementation, operation, fiduciary due diligence, compliance, and through affiliate AGH Wealth Management, discretionary and non-discretionary investment fiduciary services, investment advisory services and employee education.

Brad is experienced in executive compensation, including non-qualified, phantom stock, top hat and excess benefit plans, as well as other deferred compensation approaches. He has consulted for numerous Fortune 500 corporations on investment management and fiduciary due diligence. He also provides search and selection due diligence consulting services for companies seeking new investment and recordkeeping providers for their qualified plans. Brad is a registered investment advisor who holds Series 7, 24 and 66 FINRA registrations, and he is a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries.

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