Can Ancillary Benefits Improve Employee Health and Well-Being?
2021 could prove to be a watershed year for employee benefits. With all of the trouble coronavirus has brought with it, employers are having to take a serious look at their benefits packages and how these impact employee health and well-being. On the minds of some will be ancillary benefits offered above and beyond standard health insurance.
Dallas-based BenefitMall explains that ancillary benefits, also known as voluntary benefits, are those ‘extras’ that not every employer offers. Ancillary benefits include things like dental insurance, vision plans, life insurance, disability protection, and so forth. Premiums are either covered entirely by the employer or shared between employer and employee.
It would make sense to offer ancillary benefits if doing so could reduce overall costs by boosting employee health and well-being. Healthy and productive employees simultaneously cut healthcare costs and boost revenues. It is a win-win. And yet, there is no clear evidence suggesting ancillary benefits deliver a high enough ROI to make them worthwhile.
Offering a Dental Plan
Proponents of ancillary benefits often point to dental insurance as an example. Medical science has already determined that poor dental hygiene can contribute to a variety of serious health conditions, including heart disease. However, the number of Americans without dental insurance routinely exceeds those without standard health insurance. The end result is that most people are not seeing the dentist as often as they should.
An affordable group dental plan could change that dynamic. If employees had dental insurance, it stands to reason they would seek out more routine dental care. And if that is the case, better dental hygiene would ultimately lead to better overall health. At least that’s the thinking.
Offering Life Insurance
Another ancillary benefit proponents point to frequently is life insurance. They encourage life insurance as a tool to help employees be better prepared in the event of their own deaths. Employees with life insurance have peace of mind knowing they will leave behind benefits to cover burial costs and temporarily replace lost income.
An affordable group life insurance plan could give peace of mind to a company’s entire workforce. In turn, that peace of mind might help reduce some of the stress employees carry around with them every day. Employer-sponsored life insurance can also reduce some of the financial stress employees already paying for insurance face.
Plenty of Options to Choose From
Employers looking for new ancillary benefits should be happy to know that there are plenty of options to choose from. Dental and life insurance are just the beginning. Everything from vision plans to disability protection is on the table. It is really up to employers to work with their benefits brokers to figure out what is most appropriate.
Likewise, brokers have access to large baskets of options by way of general agencies. A general agency is the insurance equivalent of a retail distributor. Carriers make their products available through the general agency; the general agency turns around and works with individual benefits brokers to come up with attractive packages for their clients.
If anyone has access to a perfect basket of ancillary benefits, it is the general agency. Why? Because general agencies can represent dozens of different insurance carriers. Representing 100 or more is not out of the question. Furthermore, each carrier has its own menu of plans.
As employee benefits evolve to accommodate how we live in the modern world, employers are starting to look at ancillary benefits they can offer alongside standard health insurance. If said benefits can help improve employee health and well-being, they might very well be worth the investment.