An increasing number of employers are turning to voluntary benefits (VBs) in an effort to give their workers the perks they desire without having to shoulder the cost. But certain VBs are far more popular than others.
The folks over at Winston Benefits recently highlighted several of the most popular VBs, such as:
Disability insurance. With so many U.S. workers living paycheck to payment, short- or long-term disability packages provide workers with a reliable source of income in the event they become disabled.
Life insurance policies. By far one of the most coveted voluntary benefits, particularly among staffers with spouses, children or other dependents, life insurance is a staple of most voluntary-benefits offerings.
Dental insurance. The majority of dental offerings cover things like annual check-ups and cleanings, as well as some basic dental work, for a modest deductible.
Vision benefits. Preventive and routine eye-care exams are proven to minimize eye disease and vision problems. But the cost of annual exams — not to mentions glasses and contact lenses — can really add up. That’s why vision care benefits of the voluntary variety are becoming commonplace.
Critical illness. With this option, when an employee is diagnosed with any type of critical condition that is covered under the critical care policy (heart attack, stroke, cancer, etc.), a one-time lump-sum payment will be issued to the covered employee, to help offset some of the medical/care costs associated with the condition.
Some additional voluntary benefits that are gaining traction at companies, include:
- Legal assistance benefits, and
- Pet insurance.
A warning about ERISA
Granted, employers that offer VBs want to be able to talk up the advantages of such perks to their employees. But it’s important to be careful. As we’ve mentioned previously, if companies appears to “sponsor” any of the VBs they’re offering, those plans could be considered ERISA plans, which opens the door to a slew of legal obligations and requirements.