BenefitChoice Voluntary Benefits Division
BenefitChoice serves employers requiring an integrated approach to voluntary benefits in support of their strategic HR objectives and employee requirements. We provide our clients: best in class benefit alternatives and innovative methods to engage their employees, enabled by quick and nimble technology solutions to effectively optimize employee engagement.
BenefitChoice believes there are three key trends affecting voluntary benefits today:
- As the U.S. healthcare environment evolves, employers are continuing to shift costs to employees who are assuming more and more responsibility for paying for their healthcare. As a result, employees are demanding new solutions to healthcare insurance and service delivery.
- Employees now demand personalized benefit solutions that conform to their objectives and requirements, not a one-size-fits-all approach.
- All benefits today are “voluntary.” This includes core medical programs, 401(k) plans, and other traditional employer sponsored programs.
As a result of these trends, voluntary benefits will play an increasingly important role in employee security and benefit planning.
Plan Design and Due Diligence Process
BenefitChoice has conducted a thorough RFP process to identify the top voluntary products, enrollment, and communications solutions in the marketplace. Each client situation is different, with unique selection criteria and objectives. For each client situation, we apply our empriical database with criteria specified to that unique situation, based upon full transparency and an agnostic product selection.
We assist clients in analysis and implementation in several key benefit categories, listed below:
Voluntary life insurance plans allow employers to provide life insurance to eligible employees at rates that reflect group economies of scale. Some products offer “life and lifestyle” insurance in one policy, which can be accessed when health, life and death circumstances require. Considered life insurance, such products allow employees to receive a benefit while living. The two primary types of life insurance are term life and whole (or permanent) life:
Term life insurance, sometimes called “pure” insurance, offers protection for a specified period of time and builds no cash value. If the insured dies during the specified term, policy benefits are paid to beneficiaries. Products offer varying durations and benefit amounts and often include embedded benefits for terminal illness and AD&D. Coverage durations can be annual renewable or “level” for periods such as 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, during which the premiums remain unchanged. Coverage may be portable and riders for items such as critical illness/total disability, quality of life, increasing death benefits, AD&D and families are often available.
Whole life insurance can play a role in meeting current as well as future financial needs. Consisting of a permanent life insurance policy that protects the policyholder through his/her life, whole life insurance offers a completion of premiums at a predetermined age. Features of whole life plans include premiums that remain level throughout the life of the policy, guaranteed renewable protection that cannot be reduced and accumulated cash values that can be withdrawn (upon the policy’s surrender), borrowed against as a loan, annuitized or used to purchase extended or reduced paid-up insurance. Some whole life plans may also include dividends paid annually and guaranteed cash values.
Critical Illness Protection
When an individual is first diagnosed with a critical illness such as cancer, heart attack or stroke, his or her life is interrupted in many ways: physically, emotionally and economically. Employers demonstrate their concern for their employees who face such challenges by offering voluntary specified disease (including cancer) insurance. Such plans help an individual’s ability to maintain adequate earnings for everyday living expenses.
Benefits for voluntary specified disease insurance may be paid either through a lump sum or an annually restorable policy. Premiums for lump sum policies do not increase with age and are typically payable until the policy is paid up at a specified age (or predetermined number of years), or until a claim is incurred.
Often, specified disease lump-sum policies offer a return of premium rider, which allows premiums to be refunded if the policy remains continuously in force and no claim is paid during the term of the policy. Lump sum cash payments typically allow benefits to be used for any purpose, including:
- To help offset the loss of income
- Deductibles, copayments and scheduled benefit limitations
- Treatments considered experimental
- Transportation expenses to and from doctors and treatment facilities
- Normal living expenses (mortgages, car payments, utility bills, child care, groceries, credit card bills, etc.)
- Annually restorable benefits
- Travel and wellness benefits
- Payment in addition to other coverage
- No deductibles
- Portable coverag
- Issue ages (often ranging from late teens to early 70s)
- Family coverage
- Guaranteed renewable for life
Offering protection beyond basic health coverage, voluntary accident insurance provides supplemental on or off-the-job coverage and may cover deductibles and other services standard health care coverage may not provide. Some voluntary accident insurance products can be both a reimbursement and an indemnity insurance policy. Expense reimbursements are generally for actual charges or up to the maximum amount stipulated per selection. Embedded benefits of accident insurance may include:
- Accident medical expense
- Ambulance benefit
- Hospital confinement
- Optional benefits/riders such as accident total disability, hospital intensive care, bone fracture and dislocation, and coverage for spouse and children
Voluntary disability insurance provides benefits over and above basic health insurance, offering eligible employees income protection insurance in the form of benefits that partially replace income lost as a result of a disabling non-occupational accident or illness. When such an event takes away the ability to bring home a paycheck, voluntary disability insurance coverage can help fill an income gap since payments may be used for any purpose including ongoing bills, mortgages, educational expenses, food, and car payments. Plan variables may include:
- Combination benefits covering accidents, sickness or both
- Coverages including off-the-job coverage, 24-hour coverage or both
- Elimination periods, which are the number of continuous days (beginning with the first day of total disability) before any monthly benefit amount is payable
- Benefit periods for which monthly income benefits are payable after the elimination period ends (such periods often include choices of 90 days, six months, one year, two years or three years)
- Portability, depending upon whether the plans are offered on an individual or group chassis and the length of time an employee is employed before employment is terminated (either voluntary or involuntary)
- Optional riders covering categories such as emergency accidents, outpatient sickness, hospital indemnity and COBRA
Telemedicine is the fastest-growing employee benefit in America. Telemedicine provides a simple, affordable complement to employees’ everyday healthcare needs. Employees gain 24/7 access to U.S. based Physicians. Employees and their family members can talk, email or video chat with a Physician from their home or from work. When appropriate, employees can obtain prescriptions from a local pharmacy.
As health care costs continue to rise, the value of supplemental health insurance coverage increases. Voluntary health insurance serves as supplemental insurance to an individual’s existing health insurance plan, helping employees meet their financial obligations when they are hospitalized or incur expenses when receiving outpatient or inpatient treatment. Cash benefits can be used to help offset the loss of income, experimental treatments, transportation to doctors and treatment facilities, or for normal living expenses.
Obtaining healthcare is just the first step in providing proper care for our families. Next, individuals must navigate the complicated and often frustrating world of hospitals, multiple providers, specialists, and insurance companies. Few individuals are equipped and trained to efficiently manage the healthcare system.
Through our partnership with the premier health advocacy organizations in the country, families will receive personal assistance understand and deal with complicated healthcare issues such as:
- Care Coordination
- Claims Assistance/Appeals
- Fee Negotiation
- Grievance Advance
- Coverage Review
- Prescription Assistance
- Locate Physicians
- Help for Seniors – Medicare, Retirees
A Better Return on Your Benefits Investment
- Dramatically reduce corporate investment in communications, enrollment and administrative fees
- Update demographic and beneficiary data, creating less future work for HR staff
- Corporate benefit spend will be reduced by the responsible removal of ineligible dependents
- Become more efficient by eliminating paper, supoprting "green" strategies
- Ease the administrative burden of open enrollment & new hire process
- Our additional staff and resources will allow HR to become more strategic
Educated Employees = Appreciation = Retention
- Receive a baseline of benefits knowledge that is crucial to long-term comprehension and proper plan usage
- Choose the right medical, dental, and vision plans for their personal situation
- Increase their take-home pay by taking advantage of Section 125 and FSA plans
- Comprehend their total compensation - most for the very first time
- Responsibly participate in supplemental benefit plans without feeling pressured
- Dispel any myths associated with current plans or Health Care Reform
- Enjoy open enrollment which will naturally improve employee engagement