Unless you are working a minimum wage or part-time job, the chances are pretty good that you have access to an employee benefits program. That being the case, does your employer offer voluntary benefits? Some do while others do not. Voluntary benefits are offered alongside traditional health insurance and retirement plans.
Data from a recently released Goldman Sachs Ayco report suggests there is no shortage of options for companies looking to offer voluntary benefits. Below are the top five benefits taken from that report. Before getting to them, however, a brief discussion of voluntary benefits is in order.
Basics of Voluntary Benefits
BenefitMall is a Dallas general agency representing more than a hundred carriers to thousands of brokers around the country. They say a simple way to understand voluntary benefits is to consider them anything that goes above and beyond a health plan and retirement package. They are so named because employee participation is voluntary.
For employers, one of the big advantages of voluntary benefits is comparatively low cost. Employers get better rates because they are ‘buying in bulk’ so to speak. As for covering the costs, employers have three options:
- Absorbing the cost completely
- Splitting it with employees
- Passing the cost entirely on to employees.
Rarely is a voluntary benefit utilized by 100% of a company’s workforce. Therefore, companies try to offer a basket of voluntary benefits that allow employees to pick and choose from as needed.
The Top 5 for 2023
With a good understanding of voluntary benefits out of the way, it is time to get to the top five such benefits for 2023. Here they are, along with a percentage of the corporate employers offering them:
1. Mental Health Support – 95%
Mental health benefits topping the list of voluntary options shouldn’t be a surprise given the additional mental stress is caused by COVID, high inflation, and all the other craziness of modern culture. People are coming to realize they need to give more attention to mental health. They are turning to their employees for help.
2. Group Legal Plans – 73%
Group legal plans took the second spot on the Goldman Sachs Ayco list. This is somewhat surprising, especially if you’ve never considered legal services an employee benefit. But apparently, a large number of corporate employers feel that their employees need some sort of legal plan. They are happy to provide it as a voluntary benefit.
3. Personal Accident Insurance – 69%
Personal accident insurance can be an attractive benefit now that people are beginning to understand just what their health plans do not actually cover. A good accident plan kicks in when traditional health insurance no longer pays. It can be a godsend after a car accident, a household accident, etc.
4. Critical Illness Coverage – 68%
Next up is critical illness coverage. This particular voluntary benefit isn’t new, but it has caught on in the years since COVID came to our shores. Both employers and employees alike are scared to death of long COVID. More importantly, COVID has made people more aware of other critical illnesses including cancer, liver disease, Alzheimer’s, and others.
5. Identity Theft Protection – 62%
Identity theft is an ever-growing problem with very few effective solutions. Having an identity theft protection benefit in place offers employees peace of mind. Fortunately, it is a benefit that doesn’t cost much to provide.
Voluntary benefits are becoming increasingly more popular among both employers and employees. In a highly competitive labor market, they are often the difference between hiring and retaining the top talent and watching it go to the competition. Voluntary benefits are that important.