The employee’s desire for financial independence and security is driving these top voluntary benefit trends for 2018.
A historically low unemployment rate is igniting fierce competition for talent across the country.1 Employers are offering good pay and even better health and welfare benefits to attract and retain the best talent. But an increasingly diverse workforce that spans multiple generations, from Baby Boomers to Generation Z, means that employers need to offer a range of voluntary benefits that appeal to many different types of employees.
Here are the top voluntary benefits trends that will continue to take hold in 2018.
Changes in Medicaid and Medicare, along with the rising cost of healthcare, mean that voluntary long-term care benefits are seeing a resurgence. Long-term care coverage helps to pay for care of people with chronic illness, disabilities and other conditions over an extended period of time. The coverage helps prevent rapid depletion of life savings and lessens the pressure on family members to provide care.
Student Loan Repayment Assistance
Student Loan Repayment Assistance is a huge topic for Millennials saddled with student loan debt. It’s one of the leading financial wellness opportunities for attracting and retaining top talent. Yet only 4% of all employers offer any kind of student loan benefit.2
2018 will see an increase in the companies who are offering student loan assistance. We’ll also see new tuition reimbursement players enter the market. Stay tuned!
Personal Financial Planning
Financial wellness has become a pressing issue for employees, which means it should also concern employers.
Personal financial planning is an appealing voluntary benefit that can serve multiple generations: Gen Z and Millennials who are trying to pay down student loan and credit card debt, and trying to plan for buying a house or starting a family, and Gen X and Baby Boomers who are trying to pay for their kids’ college education or planning to retire.
Identity Theft Protection
It seems like there’s another data breach that affects consumers every week, which is why identify theft protection voluntary benefits are gaining popularity. Monitoring and services that employees can use to notify banks, freeze accounts and navigate the waters of identity theft not only provide peace of mind, they can also contribute to productivity. Employees could spend tens of hours uncovering stolen data and taking measures to protect themselves from further damage. Demand for identity theft protection will increase right along with the growing number of data breaches.
Supplemental Healthcare Options
Having a heart attack, landing in the hospital for a week because of pneumonia, or a child’s broken bone that requires surgery can trigger high out-of-pocket expenses. Supplemental healthcare options, such as Medical Bridge/Hospital Confinement, Accident or Critical Illness insurance provide direct payments to employees who are hospitalized, have an accident or become critically ill. Payments can be used for insurance deductibles, unexpected expenses not covered by health insurance, medical equipment, home healthcare and even non-medical expenses. These voluntary benefits are popular with older employees, those with kids, or even employees planning to have a baby.
Americans spend nearly $70 billion on their pets, with nearly a quarter of that amount devoted to veterinary care.4 But only 1% to 2% of the nation’s 90 million dogs and 94 million cats are insured. Providing pet insurance coverage that protects Fido and Whiskers against accidents and illness is a growing trend in veterinary medicine, and with basic voluntary plans that start around $20, we’ll see more carriers enter the market in 2018.5
Sooner or later most people need the services of an attorney. Pre-paid legal plans provide convenient, affordable and reliable legal consultation with a licensed attorney. Through pre-paid legal plans, employees can create wills and trusts or have access to an attorney to discuss common legal issues, such as document and contract reviews, landlord-tenant disputes and traffic violations. This voluntary benefit could be useful for a wide range of employees, and could help to reduce stress of your workforce.
Discount Purchase Programs for Fitness Wearables
As long as 10,000 step challenges remain a big part of health & wellness programs, so will the wearables that help employees track their physical activity. Providing discount purchase programs for fitness trackers and smart watches encourages employees to get moving and participate in health & wellness programs. It also takes some of the financial impediment to participating in worksite fitness. Employers can work directly with manufacturers to get discounted rates or work with an employee discount provider to offer a number of products.
Education Benefits & Training
Thanks to technology, many industries are changing faster than employees can keep up. Providing professional development, education benefits and training opportunities is good for both the employer and employees. Traditional accredited education benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, remain popular. And now, there are more and more non-traditional/non-accredited education benefits on topics such as coding, blockchain, advanced management and project management training.
Implementing some of these top voluntary benefits can help to set apart your company from competitors in 2018 and assist you in building a diverse workforce.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey”
2 US News and World Report, “Young Workers Turn to Employers for Student Loan Debt Solutions”
3 PWC, “2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey Highlights”
4 American Pet Products Association, “Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics”
5 New York Times, “Pet Insurance Is the Latest Work Perk”
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© 2017 Corporate Synergies Group, LLC. No part of this material may be republished or distributed without prior written consent.