Supporting your team with an employee benefits plan is an important investment. Building on that investment means providing your employees with access to optional benefits too. There are a number of reasons that optional benefits matter; ensuring your benefit plan is complemented with optional benefit offerings is critical.
Supporting your Employees with a Benefit Plan
As a business owner, you already know the value of supporting your employees with benefits. Your benefits plan provides comprehensive coverage to support their physical and mental wellbeing.
A typical employee benefits plan can include coverage for:
- Prescription drugs
- Extended health
- Serious illness
There are many different types of coverage and the right provider will have already customized your plan to best support your workforce.
Sponsoring a plan helps improve productivity and morale. After all, with coverage an employee is more likely to get the help they need. They can then focus on work, instead of their physical or mental health problems. Sponsoring a plan also helps reduce absences and presenteeism. On top of that, it’s a great tool for attracting and retaining good employees. It’s clear that you’re on the right track if you’re sponsoring an employee benefits plan, but are you complementing your plan with optional benefits?
Complementing the Plan with Optional Benefit Offerings
Optional benefits are a fantastic way of providing customized support to your diverse workforce. Different people have different needs and wants when it comes to insurance. It really comes down to risk tolerance and family situation.
Just because the coverage offered through your employee benefits plan is enough for most employees, it may not be adequate for all employees. Some employees may want additional coverage for life’s most challenging times. For example, if your employee is carrying debt and has a family relying on their income, they may want to purchase additional coverage to help preserve their lifestyle in the event of an unexpected health event. Some people just want additional peace of mind. Whatever the reason, providing access to optional benefits is an important add-on to your employee benefits plan offering.
Optional Benefits 101
Optional employee benefits are just that: optional. Employees make a choice about whether or not they want to purchase optional benefits, and how much coverage they’d like to purchase. Coverage can be purchased to increase the amounts provided through the benefit plan, or if a specific type of coverage is not already included in the benefit plan.
1. Common optional benefits – There are many different optional benefit offerings, but the most common choices include:
- Accident and Serious Illness (ASI) – ASI is the more sophisticated cousin to traditional Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D). It includes coverage for accidental death as well as coverage for loss of limb(s), eyesight or speech (as a result of an accident). It covers accidents that take place both at work and elsewhere. In addition, it pays if a person is diagnosed with a covered critical disease or serious illness. This benefit pays out as a lump sum payment.
- Life Insurance – This coverage provides the beneficiary with a lump sum payment in the event of the death of a covered individual.
- Critical Illness – This coverage is a lump sum payment when an individual survives a certain number of days after being diagnosed with a covered critical illness. Common illnesses that are covered include: stroke, dementia, blindness, life-threatening cancer and organ failure. The money can make a real difference to an individual as they fight and/or recover from a critical illness.
2. Advantages – Providing your employees with access to optional benefits affords employees many advantages over simply purchasing additional benefits on their own. First off, optional benefits through a group plan have more favourable rates because of your organization’s group buying power. In addition, if an employee signs up for optional benefits within a specified time from when they were eligible, they can often secure coverage with no medical evidence. This can be an important consideration for some employees.
3. Logistics – When an employee wants to purchase optional benefits, they can sign up through the plan administrator at your company. At GroupHEALTH, premiums are paid through monthly payroll deductions, making it easy for both the employee and your administration team.
A key consideration for most employers who sponsor an employee benefits plan is to utilize the plan to compete for the best employees. In a competitive labour market, an employee benefits plan can be a deciding factor for potential employees considering your job offer, or for existing employees to remain with your company.
Including optional benefits, offerings are just another way to offer the best benefits experience possible. It gives employees yet another choice when it comes to their benefits, as they can choose to purchase optional benefits to better support their situation. It’s always important to offer relevant or “new” benefits to keep an employee benefits plan current – optional benefits are one more way to do that.
Good Advice is Key
Does your current employee benefits plan give your employees access to optional benefits? Have you considered that optional benefits are another way of improving your plan? Talk to one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.