In our previous article, “Seven Misconceptions About Group Health Insurance,” I discussed the vital importance of having a great benefits package in place for your group and employees. I would now like to talk about how supplemental insurance plans can greatly increase the value and improve the overall perception of your benefits package.
It is important to note that most of these supplemental benefits are completely voluntary which means the employee would cover the entire cost of premiums.
Let’s take a look at the breakdown of these popular supplemental insurance products that I highly recommend you include as part of your company’s benefits package.
These Supplemental Insurance Plans Will Add Value to Your Group Benefits Plans.
1. Dental Insurance
Considered to be an essential health benefit, dental coverage is important to both your business and your staff especially if you have a business where your employees are in the public eye. A great or better smile always is a good thing for business.
There are a huge number of dental insurance carriers out there. They all have many various plan designs, so choose wisely.
Premiums may not always be the biggest factor in deciding which company or plan to go with.
Network access, company rating and reputation along with a complete understanding of limitations of coverage are crucial.
Premiums for dental can be pre-taxed which can certainly add to affordability.
As a business owner, you can decide to contribute towards premiums but most businesses do not. Keep in mind that you are allowing employees to take advantage of a group plan with a group rate. Individual dental plans always pale in comparison to payroll deducted group plans both in price and quality of coverage.
Dental is subject to annual rate increases based on usage. No dental plan pays everything and is subject to copays, coinsurance, deductibles and waiting periods.
It pays to educate your employees on how to best use their dental coverage to not only keep unnecessary and excessive claims down but to also help their own out of pocket expense.
We advise every customer on how to get the most out of their plans. This advice mainly involves shopping procedural codes with other providers and keeping close track of limits.
Many serious health issues can possibly arise from having bad oral health. We have devoted a whole upcoming article to this topic that you can read.
Dental plans are a great benefit to add to your company’s supplemental insurance plans.
2. Vision Insurance
This is a benefit that can absolutely have a positive effect on your business and the quality of life of your employees.
The need for sight correction is essential for employees to do their jobs correctly and safely.
Vision benefits are extremely affordable through a good group plan.
Vision coverage is usually network restrictive. Using an in-network provider helps to lower the costs of vision benefits.
It is also important to make sure that your employees understand what is covered and what is not.
We have noticed many times providers sell a lot of extra things such as designer frames and transition lenses that are not always covered very well.
Using a vision plan wisely can definitely save a considerable amount of expense on appointments and corrective lenses.
3. Life Insurance
Life insurance is one of the best and most wanted supplemental insurance plans added to group health benefits.
One way to have your benefits package stand out is to provide a small amount of life insurance for every member of the group.
The cost of doing so is extremely affordable.
Most businesses can provide $10,000 – $20,000 in benefits per employee for less than five dollars a month.
We see many employees that would have nothing at all to leave behind for their families if there was not a company provided life policy in place. However, voluntary or employee paid life insurance is very affordable.
Group benefit life insurance policies are much less expensive and require less underwriting than individual plans.
Providing coverage to take care of the loved ones of all staff is one way to really help to look after our people’s best interests.
Insured employees can also add their spouse and children to their plan which means they will have adequate support if, God forbid, they lose a spouse or child.
4. Disability Insurance
We have seen how disability insurance has a major impact on people’s lives when off of work sick or hurt. A disability event without this type of coverage can wipe out a family.
There are 2 types, Short Term and Long Term coverages.
Short Term Disability coverage is usually 3 months in length of benefits, although some are up to two years.
Long Term Disability coverage usually doesn’t start until after 3 months but does not cease in paying until normal social security age, which is currently 65 years old.
Disability usually contains a 12-month wait before any pre-existing conditions are covered. There are also limits to how much benefit amounts are allowed based on a percentage of normal income, around 67%.
These benefits should always be deducted post-tax to avoid taxation of benefits.
5. Critical Illness Insurance
Society’s number one killers – heart disease and cancer – are becoming more and more survivable every day.
Improvements in technology are inevitable as time goes on and have helped to prolong life.
Unfortunately, the cost of this life-saving technology is becoming more and more astronomical in cost also.
Serious cancer issues or heart events also have many unseen medical expenses and place a great deal of stress on employees and their families.
These policies usually include other covered events such as end stage renal failure, coma, and severe burns.
Having a lump sum critical illness plan available is a great way to ease these tensions during such devastating events.
We have seen companies take these policies out on their own key people to help cover their losses while employees are recovering and not able to serve in the company.
This has helped and can help companies make up for any business loss due to their employee’s absence while recovering.
6. Accident Coverage
Getting injured is never fun, especially when it is a serious injury. Accident policies are very affordable for the employee.
Most of these policies will pay in addition to workers compensation, meaning that it will cover employees on or off the job.
These benefits can be a real morale booster for groups where employees have seen and heard co-worker’s stories of how these plans helped to make a big difference. Parents with active kids can put their children on these policies very affordably.
Accident coverage can really help to protect your workers’ finances while helping to decide to have adequate care performed right away.
7. Cancer Insurance
Sadly, too many people have been affected by this horrible disease. The idea of being diagnosed with cancer is terrifying.
Having a good cancer protection plan can certainly help ease the minds of suffering patients.
Cancer policies are quite affordable and can be invaluable in helping people get through and overcome their cancer.
Family coverage is available and affordable as well.
8. Hospital Indemnity or Gap Plans
Deductibles and other out of pocket expenses can be easily covered with Hospital Indemnity or Gap policies.
If you are offering a high deductible health insurance plan to achieve lower premium, gap plans can be the right option for employees who are willing to spend a little more to have ample coverage.
In essence, this gives you a dual choice medical plan option. Be sure to fully understand exclusions and limitations when selecting a plan. These plans, however, do very well to make sure your benefits are well rounded.
So, why would you want to offer so many different supplemental insurance options?
I believe that offering more options to your employees is indeed better and helps morale and retention.
Here’s an analogy. Chevrolet has their flagship sports car, the Corvette. While very few people buy this car and very little or no profit is made directly out of selling them, it has everything to do with improved brand perception. Someone might buy a minivan but still think of the corvette when making a purchasing decision.
Your employees might not purchase any supplemental benefits whatsoever, but their opinion of your benefits package that your business offers will be better regardless.
When thinking of your benefit plan as a “brand” for existing and prospective employees then having a lot of benefits to choose from will only help their perception of their benefits.
A majority of your employees will say “we have excellent benefits, they offer EVERYTHING at my place of employment.”
Many insurance companies can now automatically upload premium deductions to your payroll system using available payroll software, such as pay-com for example.
Over the years having all of these plans in place will show its reward over and over again when helping your employees.
All of these benefits add great value to your benefits package without adding any cost to the business, unless you decide to.
I recommend sitting in on some employee presentations to gain current first-hand knowledge periodically.
Caring and considerate agents are hard to find at times. Many of them earn upfront commissions and therefore tend to oversell using excessive scare tactics and pressure.
Knowing and trusting your agent is very important to make sure your people are not taken advantage of.
Finally, not any one supplemental insurance company is best for all businesses. Compare benefits versus rates carefully.
Keep in mind, most insurance companies will give a very good discount when bundling numerous products together with them.
Having these coverages in place for all your employees is an absolute must in having a complete and well-rounded benefits package.
Choose wisely and don’t be afraid to offer “too much”.
Most supplemental plans and policies are 100% employee paid and not company paid. In essence, you can offer a great bundle of products to your employee’s without digging into your company’s bottom line.
We can’t pretend to know the various individual needs of our people. Give them the options to decide for themselves.
Thank you for reading this overview on how you can add value to your group benefits with supplemental insurance plans. We will discuss and break down each of these coverage types more in depth in future articles.