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The Numbers Don’t Lie: Voluntary Benefits Are As Important As Medical Coverage

Paige Jarzabkowski
March 10, 2022

The 2022 Ease SMB Benefits and Employee Insights Report showcases the importance of voluntary benefits.

If the past couple of years have taught us anything, businesses need to be flexible. Flexible with remote work, time-off, and prioritizing employee needs. Flexibility remains a necessity as the job market thrives and employee turnover increases. A recent PwC survey revealed a staggering 88% of companies are experiencing higher turnover rates than normal. While employees rank benefits as the #2 reason to start looking for a new job after wages and salary.

Offering a competitive benefits package is more crucial than ever before. During a time of increased uncertainty and realigned priorities, employees’ needs are adapting. Beyond medical plans, businesses should include voluntary benefits based on the needs — and wants — of employees.

Voluntary Benefits Include More Than Dental and Vision Plans

When people first hear “voluntary benefits,” they think of dental and vision plans. While these two plan types are the most popular, there are plenty more options to consider. Businesses that evaluate the need for these options are listening to their employees.

According to a recent MetLife survey, when employees believe their employer offers a benefits package that meets their needs, they are 18% more likely to be productive, 37% more likely to feel resilient, and 54% more likely to feel valued/appreciated. Packages can include the common AD&D, short-term disability, and long-term disability plans. But the stand-out packages include non-traditional benefits, too. Cancer, legal, and even the coveted pet insurance can meet niche needs for employees. An employer listening to employees’ needs can be the difference between growing an employee and losing an employee.

As reported in the Ease SMB Benefits and Employee Insights Report, all company sizes have increased voluntary benefit plans offered slightly year-over-year, with the 1-10 employee segment seeing the highest rate of change from 2018-2021. Companies are identifying the gaps in their benefits package and making strides to make their benefits more inclusive.

As Voluntary Benefits Premiums Increase, Employers Shoulder the Cost

In a dream world, employees can have all the benefits they could wish for at the low cost of $0.00. In the real world, we all know this isn’t the case. With the desire for more benefits plans, the cost of benefits packages increase with each new plan. Pre-pandemic, the increase in premiums was covered by the employees. Though as the job market soars and employee turnover flying alongside it, the premium increases in 2021 fell to employers.

Employers recognized the potential in affordable benefits and lowered the cost for employees. The employees’ eyes are set on affordable dental and vision plans after the financial instability of the pandemic. The ultimate sign of support during these times? Affordable benefits.

Based on small- and medium-sized businesses on Ease, the employees were paying, on average, $120.24 for their vision plan in 2018. Now, employers are digging deeper into their own pockets to support their employees. Now, on average, employees are paying only $90.60 for their vision plan. That’s a nearly $30 difference that is going right back to employees’ wallets.

Remember the Voluntary Benefits During Your Next Open Enrollment

Have you explored all the potential benefits that can be offered in your comprehensive benefits package? Check out our connected carriers. Don’t miss out on a single potential benefit that can increase the happiness and satisfaction of your employees. “Happy employees, happy life,” right?

Discover Even More Trends in Benefits by Downloading the 2022 SMB Benefits and Employee Insights Report

Expand your knowledge of the trends found in benefits throughout the past four years by downloading your own copy of the complete report. While you’re on the path of greatness, bring your full benefits package on Ease for an easier enrollment process.


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