By John Feeney, Vice President, Group Sales & Market Development, Renaissance Life & Health Insurance Company of America
Workplace benefits have always been a crucial part of an employee’s compensation. Now more than ever, offering the right mix of benefits could be the game changer that sways applicants to choose your company over others. A robust employee benefits package that includes ancillary benefits like dental, vision, life and disability insurance can set an organization apart from the competition.
What are Ancillary Benefits?
Often offered on a voluntary basis where they are partially or sometimes 100% employee-paid, ancillary benefits can be an affordable option for businesses. While the financial burden for employers is low, the positive impacts that ancillary benefits can have on your employees may be far-reaching.
Designed to supplement medical insurance and retirement savings plans, ancillary benefits enable employers to provide more attractive benefits packages that address things medical insurance may not cover, like dental and vision care services and lost wages due to an unexpected life event.
These ancillary or supplemental benefits are highly sought after by job seekers. And, more employers are realizing that ancillary benefits can be a cost-effective way to boost employee engagement, overall well-being and performance on the job.
Dental insurance: Smiles all around
Naturally, the pandemic is driving a renewed focus on health, wellness and disease prevention. Given the connection between dental hygiene and a variety of maladies, the role oral health plays in overall health shouldn’t be overlooked. This may be a reason why employees see the value in a dental plan that covers routine exams and preventive care. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, after health insurance and a retirement plan, dental and vision insurance are the next most valued benefits. And dental coverage is popular with job seekers, too. In fact, 54% of candidates would give access to a benefits package with dental insurance “heavy consideration” when choosing between two jobs.
See the value of vision insurance
The shift to a remote work environment and the continuous use of digital screens has placed new emphasis on vision health. Combined with the fact that 194 million Americans use some type of vision correction, it makes sense that 88% of job seekers view vision insurance as a valuable addition to an overall benefits package. Employer-sponsored vision insurance may help remove barriers to quality vision care, including exams and corrective eyewear.
Covid-19 creates increased need for life insurance
Group life insurance is valuable coverage that helps protect what many employees cherish most – their loved ones. So, it’s no surprise that in 2020, 98% of workers who had access to life insurance through their employer participated in their company’s plan. LIMRA research shows that employees feel life insurance is important or very important and rated it among the top five benefits. Furthermore, the pandemic has created a heightened need for life insurance among Americans, so offering this peace-of-mind coverage may be a real influencer when it comes to choosing one employer over another.
Disability insurance as income protection
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the stress associated with Covid-19 has exacerbated the severity and number of instances of anxiety and depression. During the pandemic about 4 in 10 U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, compared to one in 10 in 2019. And for some, these mental health issues may lead to work leaves of absence. Without some form of income protection, many employees would face financial difficulty if they had to miss work due to a short- or long-term medical absence. While health insurance may pay for some medical expenses, disability coverage (often called paycheck protection) helps to cover lost wages should employees be unable to work.
Ancillary benefits: Easy and inexpensive enhancements
Another attractive aspect of ancillary benefits is that some or all of them can be offered on a voluntary basis, where employees pay part or all the premiums. This allows employers to demonstrate that they value their employees without incurring a heavy financial burden. Overall, the cost of offering ancillary benefits is often minimal compared to the positive impact they can have on employee morale and overall well-being.
As employers shore up their teams and plan for the future, they are seeking ways to attract and retain top talent. Offering highly sought-after ancillary benefits like dental, vision, life and disability insurance can be an important way for employers to differentiate themselves.