Many Changes Coming to Employer Benefit Plans

February 23, 2017

A survey completed last month by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company says that roughly half of the employers questioned are planning to add voluntary, employee-paid insurance benefits to their programs within the next year. Why? Most companies are blaming it on economic issues and changes in regulations.

In order to gather this data, representatives of Colonial Life queried more than 750 benefits administrators and human resource managers in attendance at the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management which took place last month in Las Vegas. They were asked about their employee benefits packages, and about how changes to those benefits were communicated and/or explained to employees.

In addition to voluntary benefits, the survey found that 49% of employers plan to increase their employees’ health insurance co-pays or deductibles, and 51% of them will likely increase their employees’ health insurance premiums.

Speaking about this issue, Colonial Life’s President and CEO Randy Horn said that it shouldn’t be surprising that as providing health coverage to employees becomes more expensive, benefits packages will suffer. He also explained that by offering voluntary products and plans that work with the benefits already provided, employees can still have affordable coverage for themselves and their families at a group rate, but at a lower cost to their employers.

The Colonial Life survey didn’t just address the cost of benefits packages, however. It also asked about how well employers were educating their workers about their benefits plans. The result? Almost all of the companies surveyed said that guiding their employees to make good decisions about their benefits was important, but only a fourth of them felt the benefits education in place was at all effective.

Horn weighed in on that as well, explaining that one-on-one benefits counseling could be the key to helping employees choose the right benefits packages, and appreciate what they’re being offered.