According to a new LIMRA report, “Voluntary Worksite Benefits: Penetration and Market Potential,” almost one-third of all employers are considering offering new voluntary benefits to replace existing benefits that are paid entirely or in part by the employer. This would potentially affect between 19 million and 45 million employees over the next two years, LIMRA estimates. Interest in voluntary is particularly high among large organizations (1,000 or more employees); half of these firms show interest in transitioning their existing benefits to voluntary.
Furthermore, the two benefits most likely to be shifted to voluntary are medical and prescription drug plans, the survey indicates, which could boost interest in discount programs (read more on these in the September issue of EBA). “Of those employers considering adding a voluntary major medical or prescription benefit, the study revealed that three of four may be adding the voluntary benefit to replace their existing medical or prescription benefits,” LIMRA states.
"Currently 57% of U.S. employers offer voluntary benefits," said Ron Neyer, assistant research director at LIMRA. "Assuming that most employers that express a likelihood of adding a new voluntary benefit in the next two years follow through, this will provide a new employee-pay-all option to as many as 46 million employees."
The study confirmed that life and cancer insurance remain the most commonly offered voluntary benefits. More than 300,000 businesses offer each product type to their workforce. Voluntary long-term and short-term disability insurance products are also very popular, with more than 20% of companies offering these benefits to their employees.
Vision and dental benefits topped the list of voluntary plans employers said they are most likely to add in the next two years.
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