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    Popularity in Voluntary Benefits on the Rise

    With benefit costs sky rocketing over the past decade, employers are turning to Voluntary Benefits as a way to enhance the benefit offering without adding a lot of costs and hassle.

    Voluntary Benefits are additional insurance products, plans or programs which an employee can purchase at a discounted group rate, through pre-taxed payroll deductions, which helps to augment the employee’s paid benefits.

    Voluntary benefits are easy to administer with little or no cost to the employer, and surveys consistently show that employees who have access to voluntary benefits are more productive as they experience higher job satisfaction and an overall sense of well-being.

    Employees can pick and choose from a wide range of the popular voluntary benefits.

    Term Life
    Life insurance that does not build cash value, however, it will pay a set amount to the named beneficiary upon the death of insured within the stated term. Some policies may also make payments upon terminal or critical illness.

    Accidents can happen anytime and Accident insurance helps to protect employees from financial hardship due to a great deal of medical and out-of-pocket expenses that follow accidental injuries. Emergency treatment, hospital stays, medical exams, transportation and lodging needs are just a few of the expenses that accident insurance can help cover. Some policies can even pay benefits in as little as one day, based on time of claim submission.

    Disability Insurance

    National surveys have shown that Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability remain of high importance for most employees. Savvy employers attract and retain top talent by offering both STD and LTD insurance as part of the employer paid benefit package or as a voluntary (worksite) benefit. Here’s how Disability plans typically work.

    Short Term Disability
    During the time an employee is unable to work due to a qualifying disability (illness or injury), STD generally allows for income payments to the employee to begin after about a two-week waiting period and will continue to pay the employee until he/she recovers or maxes out the benefits–usually anywhere between one month to two years, depending on the policy.

    Long Term Disability
    During the time an employee is unable to work due to a qualifying disability (illness or injury), LTD generally allows for income payments to the employee to begin after about a 90-day waiting period.  However, it could be much longer depending on the policy.  The policy will pay the employee far longer than STD–for a few years, up to age 65, or even for life.

    Group Long-Term Care plans are becoming an increasingly common voluntary benefit offered by employers today. The prospect of long-term care is one of the most important issues your employees may have to face. The cost of long-term care is expensive and generally not covered by other employee benefits, disability or even Medicare.

    If someone requires long-term care, it is not just an emotional strain but a financial one as well. An employeesretirement savings and overall financial position could be affected.

    Savvy employers know that access to additional resources can increase employee productivity when confronted with managing long-term care situations. Long-Term Care plans demonstrate to your current and prospective employees that your company cares about them.  Thus, you also increase your ability to attract and retain the very best talent.

    LTC plans provide benefits for care through nursing homes, assisted living centers, home health care and adult day care.

    Employers can provide a base benefit while giving the employees the opportunity to buy up the policy.  Thus, they can obtain the level of coverage that they need for their families.

    Dental Plans
    Regular dental exams help employees stay healthier and more productive in the work place. Simple routine visits to the dentist, which are usually covered 100% by insurers, help to detect serious underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The National Association of Dental Plans and the Centers for Disease Control have performed studies that show that employees with Dental Insurance plans have better attitudes and are less likely to suffer from depression, a common condition in today’s fast-paced world.

    Dental Plans offer a variety of diagnostic, preventative care and corrective services including cleanings, exams, x-rays, fillings, root canals, orthodontia for children, and emergency care while traveling.

    Vision Plans
    Similar to dental policies, vision plans are inexpensive and save money on eye and vision related healthcare services.  This includes routine exams, eyeglass frames and lenses, contacts, and even discounts on procedures like LASIK. Monitoring your eye health with regular exams also helps to prevent serious eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts.  An eye exam also helps to detect early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

    Critical Illness Plans

    Surviving critical illnesses is becoming increasingly common with the advances in modern medical technology.  This special type of coverage can help reduce the personal financial impact of the cost of fighting the disease.  Additionally, it will help keep  up with everyday bills through that process.

    Some key features:

    If you have a health insurance plan and/or disability insurance, a Critical Illness Plan will provide benefits in addition to your other coverage.

    -Lump-sum cash benefit paid directly to you.
    -You decide how best to spend your payment.
    -No network restrictions.
    -Benefit level choices to fit your needs and budget.
    -Simple plan options for your needs and budget.

    Hospital Indemnity Plans

    Unlike a traditional major medical plan that reimburses you or pays directly to a provider for approved hospital stays and medical care, a Hospital Indemnity Plan pays a lump-sum payment directly to the insured.  The cash payment helps with out-of-pocket expenses and covers your employees when they are off work due to a hospital stay.  The coverage is usually a set amount per day, per week, per month, or per visit depending on the benefit level selected.

    Gap Plans

    Coverage such as gap insurance provides benefits that supplement a major medical and comprehensive benefit package. It works by paying a significant amount of the deductible on a major medical plan.  Moreover, it covers  out-of-pocket expenses related to coinsurance, co-pays and deductibles for inpatient and outpatient services. For example, if you have a $5,000 deductible on your major medical plan, gap coverage could pay up to $4,000 of that deductible.

    Identity Shield

    Employees have access to identity theft professionals and information/tips on how to monitor, identify and protect themselves from stolen identity, and/or if needed, help to restore identity.

    Legal Shield

    Provides employees with unlimited legal assistance for any legal needs they may have from top law firms.  Employees can choose to add family/dependents to plan as well.