The world is completely changed since 2019. I don't think we can go back to 2019 any easier than going back to 1950

Brian Chesky - CEO of Airbnb on the Future of Work (May 2022)

voluntary / workplace / essential / benefits 2022

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The saying “I feel like a kid in a candy store” best describes our enthusiasm when we discuss products now.  Why offer one flavor of candy when there are close to 70 voluntary “candy makers” on the market today ?

Employee-paid benefits have always been an easy value proposition: determine which benefits will round out the existing benefit offering while addressing the new needs of the workplace, delivered virtually…all at no cost to an organization.

As a broker who has spent 25+ years in the candy business, 2022 brings an unparalleled opportunity to accomplish three things with fresh voluntary benefit programs:  

  1. Dramatically IMPROVE the benefits (that address our post-Pandemic world) while
  2. LOWERING  premiums and allowing for more employees to participate with
  3. NO HEALTH QUESTIONS

 

This is important because…

The Pandemic created three new dynamics:

1

Online buying habits have evolved. Americans love online buying and we read text within 1 minute.  Effectively pairing great benefits with dynamic digital tools equates to higher enrollment results than pre-pandemic

2

The Pandemic increased the awareness for life, disability, critical illness and other plans with features and benefits that blow away pre-pandemic plans.  The best part is everyone qualifies…every year!

3

The Great Resignation:  In two short years, the pendulum has swung from the power of hiring shifting from the “employer market” to a “job seeker’s market” as organizations struggle to attract and retain the talent they need.

Bottom Line

Three out of Four (75%) of employees consider VOLUNTARY BENEFITS as a deciding factor for whether they work for and stay with an employer with the top three voluntary benefits being LIFE, CRITICAL ILLNESS and DISABILITY

right products + right message + right delivery = magic

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Every organization is unique.  Shouldn’t your voluntary benefit program be custom designed by an expert who’s sole focus is keeping up with the ever evolving benefits on the market?

After a thorough discovery, we will evaluate your organization’s

  • core benefits (where voluntary could complement) as well as voluntary in place
  • demographics (everything from age, wages, gender, married, etc.)
  • understand recruiting and retention concerns
  • how the pandemic affected your organization
  • and come up with a high-level plan for improvement along with benefits communication and enrollment strategy

 

For over 25 years, we believe our job isn’t to “sell” products – it’s to educate. No employer wants a dormant, ineffective voluntary benefit program that still relies on salespeople coming into the office.  That model is obsolete and fails to aid in recruiting and retention.  Even if the benefits are at no cost…why keep it in place if it has no value?

Remember, it’s not an employer’s job to determine WHO will buy.  It’s my job to identify the right products presented in the right way and let magic happen.  No selling needed.  Our goal is a minimum of 50% participation and we have never failed in our goal!

Everyone qualifies...what a gift!

Insurance. Typically that word comes with “qualify” but not in the post-pandemic world.  Elite-VB only works with carriers that provide no health questions (meaning everyone qualifies) also known as “guarantee issue”, which is critical for recruiting and retention.  As well, when replacing a carrier in place, typically waiving of “pre-existing conditions” is standard. 

Why continue to offer voluntary benefits with health questions when you don’t have to? When 100% of the employees qualify, employers have a valuable “gift” that means their staff is participating in benefits that they cannot obtain elsewhere…which is the goal.

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"Smart Voluntary"

relevant + easy + affordable

The Pandemic dramatically affected low wage workers, single parents and caretakers. Because of the economy, employees are having to do more with less.  We take the guesswork out of choosing carriers that fit each organization’s demographics.

This is where “FRESH” voluntary can help as disability, life, critical illness plans will ALWAYS be desired. Elite-VB will tailor affordable employee-paid benefits to the needs of each workforce with zero expense to the organization. Let’s explore:

THE NEED:

  • One in Eight workers will be disabled for 5 years or more!
  • 46% of home foreclosures are brought about by a disability.
  • Even young people get disabled:  30% of Americans between age 35-65 will experience a disability lasting more than 90 days.
  • Coverage amounts:  carriers can only cover 20-30% in HI, CA, NJ, RI due to  TDI, with 66% coverage in states without TDI
  • Disability insurance replaces a percentage of an employee’s income if they become disabled as a result of a covered accident (off-the-job) or sickness.
  • Plan design can cover both short-term disability (90 days) or long-term disability (up to 5 years) or both with the benefit tax-free.
  • Typically disability is age-banded with coverage exclusively for employee-only.

What to look for in Disability plans in 2022:

  • 100% guarantee issue & portability without change of premium
  • Mental Health standard
  • Substance Abuse standard
  • Accidental Death benefit 
  • Waiving pre-existing conditions such as 9 month wait for maternity 
  • Workplace modification
  • No offset for vacation pay or sick leave

THE NEED:

  • 56% of Americans have medical debt and the amount is the same for those who have medical and those who don't
  • ER Visits are the #1 cause of medical debt due to accidents.
  • Injuries are by far the leading cause of mortality among residents aged 1 to 40 years.
  • Although of a lesser severity, nonfatal injuries greatly outnumber fatal injuries, and constitute significant medical and financial burden
  • Accident insurance plans can help offset unexpected medical expenses that may result from a covered accidental injury.
  • Paying employee's CASH, they help cover some of the expenses for initial care, surgery, transportation, lodging and follow-up care.
  • Spouse and children coverage available 
  • Coverage can be 24/7 as well as off-the-job only (great for ER-paid to lessen worker's compensation claims)
  • Benefit is tax-free and can be spent as the employee sees fit
  • Can include a health screening benefit

What to look for in Accident plans in 2022:

  • Lower premiums - always "guarantee issue"
  • Additional benefits payable for children injured in organized sports (10-25%), hospital confinement childcare and more.
  • Benefits payable telemedicine.
  • Benefits payable for , gunshot wound ($2000),
  • Residential and vehicle modification
  • Richer AD&D benefits that pay benefit for wearing seat belts as well as 
  • Child Education Benefit

THE NEED:

  • Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death
  • 85% of heart attack victims survive
  • Stroke is the leading cause of disability
  • Cancer will affect 40% of Americans and with 13% going into debt and 3% declaring bankruptcy
  • Long drawn out battles with cancer can mean time off of work and typically disability coverage won't cover out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Employees choose a tax-free lump sum benefit that is payable to them when diagnosed with a covered critical illness (typically between $5k and $50k)
  • Spouse and children coverage available 
  • Coverage can include skin cancer and organ donor 
  • Benefits can include “recurrent payments” for different or the same illness
  • Benefit can cover a Covid diagnosis.
  • Often include a $50-$100 health screening benefit

What to look for in Critical Illness plans in 2022:

  • Guarantee issue – NO HEALTH QUESTIONS
  • Unismoker rates
  • Children included for free
  • Waiving pre-existing conditions for takeovers
  • Lower premiums: $30k of coverage for an employee age 40 non-smoker will be about $1 a day
  • For some carriers, up to 35 benefits payable for benefits such as ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and more
  • Return of Premium” riders can be available on some plans if a policyholder dies from a cause other than a covered critical illness.

THE NEED:

  • 58% of all employees have insufficient life insurance.
  • More than 30% of Americans said they think life insurance “is more important to own now due to the pandemic, and plan to purchase more as a result of Covid-19 and
  • Voluntary life insurance rarely replaces current life insurance in force, rather it “compliments” existing coverage, providing an additional layer of protection…regardless of health
  • Carriers on the market now have features including "living benefit riders" that allow for home health care 
  • Can be offered as term, UL, whole or even blended plans 

How Life insurance works:

  • Life insurance is a contract between an insurance policy holder and an insurer or assurer, where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money in exchange for a premium, upon the death of an insured person. Depending on the contract, other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment
  • Typically age-banded with smoker/non-smoker rates
  • Can include coverage for spouse and children
  •  
  • Life insurance can include plans that are for a certain “term” (such as 20 or 30 years), or permanent coverage that builds cash value (such as Whole or Universal life)
  • Beneficiaries receive the benefit tax-free and can spend the money for any purpose and coverage can include children and even grandchildren.

What to look for in Life Insurance plans in 2022:

  • Guarantee issue – NO HEALTH QUESTIONS
  • Portable with no change of premium
  • Unismoker Rates
  • The ability for employees to access face amounts if committed to a long-term care or assisted living facility

Types of life insurance:

Universal Life, Term, Whole and combination of Term and Whole being popular as well.

THE NEED:

  • It’s easy to underestimate how much medical care can cost:  Depending a medical plan's deductible, the average cost of a 3-day hospital stay is around $30,000.
  • While medical insurance pays the doctors and hospitals, hospital indemnity plans provide CASH to employees to aid in out-of-pocket costs
  • We know that with Covid, hospitalization costs soared and the future is still uncertain.
  • Having a baby is a good reason to purchase hospital coverage before planning a pregnancy. Not only can it help with hospitalization but intensive care/ neonatal care, which can be costly
  • Hospital confinement insurance provides lump-sum benefits to help with out-of-pocket costs related to a hospital stay.  This may include outpatient surgery, diagnostic tests, ICU, emergency room and rehabilitation.
  • Coverage can include spouse and children
  • Benefits can be payable with a lump sum or increasing lump sum and are TAX-FREE (with premiums remitted pre-tax)
  • Covers maternity

What to look for in Hospital plans in 2022:

  • Guarantee issue – NO HEALTH QUESTIONS – for employee and spouse
  • Waiving pre-existing conditions for takeovers
  • Can pay a benefit based on Covid hospitalization.
  • Optional riders available for drug and alcohol rehab, mental/nervous disorders and more

Variations of hospital plans can also include “GAP” Plans as well as “MINI-MED” plans

Ancillary Products

Dental
Vision
Group Term Life
Long-Term Disability

Non-Traditional Benefits

“Non-Traditional” benefits such as legal plans, pet coverage, wellness and more have become very popular as employees can obtain valuable coverage at a price point not available on the open market.

Sometimes these benefits can be EMPLOYER PAID, but working with a broker who understands when and where to place them is important.

The list of “non-traditional” benefits continues to grow (with this list a small snapshot of those on the market) as companies create solutions that are unique and improve employee’s overall well-being. 

With many employees on the internet, identity theft now affects one in two Americans.  We utilize some great companies in the market that can provide outstanding value for the benefit such as AURA – who provide more than just ID Theft…they are all about “cyber wellness”

Many Americans do not have an up to date Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will.  These plans are great to allow your employees to take care of those they love and pair great with a new Life Insurance offering.

The pandemic meant more people working from home and pet ownership is at it’s highest ever.  Pet insurance is a great way to minimize out-of-pocket costs and surprise bills for our furry friends.

These plans are great for employers who are looking to help their employees both lower their college debt as well as consolidate loans.  They are great or attracting and retaining younger staff.

Purchasing Power is a purchase program sponsored by your organization that offers a better way for your employees to buy the brand-new products they want.  Employees have fixed, easy payments without the stress that comes with high-interest credit cards. And unlike layaway, you get your order up front.

In closing, carriers have come to the market to outpace one another with amazing benefits, terrific premiums and high guaranteed issue limits.  Elite-VB knows who they are and which ones are the best for your organization.

No way to payroll deduct? We have a solution for that...

Often, organizations cannot handle payroll deductions of voluntary benefits.  This can be due to high turnover, no payroll slot, payroll is overwhelmed or there is an association that can’t access payroll.  

We created a site specifically for these folks, which could also include gig workers, 1099 employees, and high-risk industries that do not qualify for traditional voluntary benefits.

Come visit our site for more information on specific products  that feature the top carriers on the market today with non-payroll, competitive, benefits: 

Case Study

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Enrollment Date: Oct 2013

# of Employees: 300

CHALLENGE: High profile healthcare client had lost faith in their current carrier rep due to lack of service.  Participation was low due to poor benefits communication and presentation strategy and plans that were overpriced.  Company provided no disability benefits and viewed short-term disability as top requested benefit due to 80% of staff being female and desired maternity benefits.  Also wanted benefits that would appeal to their Doctors who were a challenge to recruit in a competitive hiring market.

Launched a successful replacement campaign for the initial open enrollment, which resulted in high attendance at benefit meetings (attended with broker and HR staff).  Provided promotional materials to staff and worked with HR and Payroll to provide benefit offering to new hires.  Employee premiums were lowered by a minimum of 20% with all products "GI".

Voluntary Benefits Offered:  Disability (3, 6, 12 and 24 month benefit options), Accident, Critical Illness, Hospital and Term Life 

  • Increased participation from 20% to over 50%
  • Provided benefits that had zero health questions (up to certain limits) which meant no employee couldn’t get coverage due to health issues 
  • Claims paid out over a five-year period were over $200,000
  • Insured that their newly hired doctors would meet with a benefit counselor privately to review their options before they were benefit eligible 
  • Never was an invoice incorrect during the 7 years they were a client

Not Sure Where to Start?