Voluntary Benefit Programs
Employees often view benefits as an entitlement, something
owed to them as part of their employment. This presents a
significant challenge to employers with a limited benefit
budget. "Voluntary" or "supplemental"
payroll-deducted benefits can enhance your benefit
program at virtually no cost to the company. Since
employees bear the entire cost of the coverages they
choose, company expenses are limited to the
administration of the payroll deductions and the
plans. Employees are able to purchase a variety of
insurance programs at low group rates.
Depending on the plans chosen, premiums can
sometimes be paid on a pre-tax basis, reducing
employer FICA expense.
Available voluntary benefits include:
Short Term Disability
Long Term Disability
Long Term Nursing Care
WWW.TexasGroupBenefits.com and Endeavor Group
can set up and administer one or a variety of payroll
deduction insurance plans specially tailored to meet
your employees' needs. Payroll deduction benefits create
a "win-win" situation. Your employees receive excellent
coverage at low-cost group rates, and you get credit for an
enriched benefit program.
Employee Communications - Even though these benefits
are funded through employee contributions, it is critical to
properly communicate benefits and features to employees.
This is the only way to elicit employee appreciation. For this
reason, Voluntary Benefits will be introduced by associates
of WWW.TexasGroupBenefits.com and Endeavor Group
Insurance via employee meetings. Periodically, follow-up
meetings by our associates will be held to address questions
and concerns and to be sure that benefits continue to meet
the changing needs of your employees.
Short-term disability benefits apply when a disability
prevents an employee from performing basic occupational
duties. Many states, including Texas, require an employer to
provide this type of coverage to an employee.
This requirement can be met in various ways, which may
include a state provided plan, or a private insurance carrier.
Often an employer is free to choose which between the two,
depending on cost.
The duration of benefits can range from thirteen weeks to
fifty-two weeks, although most employees are covered up to
twenty-six weeks. If the disability requires long-term
absence from work, the income serves as a bridge to
long-term disability benefits.
In addition many employers can choose to
supplement statutory coverage with an additional
benefit, which is often integrated with a Long Term
Long-term disability plans provide benefits after short-term
benefits expire. Group Long Term Disability protection is
either fully paid by employers or its costs are shared by
employees. The income from many group long-term plans is
reduced by benefits such as Social Security and workers'
compensation, this reduction is known as an offset or
integration. While some plans provide coverage until normal
retirement age, most limit benefits for up to two years and
define disability as your being unable to perform your
regular job. But if you are still disabled after two years, the
definition changes, and usually benefits are paid only if you
can't perform any job "for which you are suited by education,
training, or experience" -- a much more restrictive definition.
Typically a group policy will limit income replacement to 60
percent of your pre-disability salary, excluding bonuses.
Insurers view a 60 percent income replacement as an
incentive for employees to return to work. Usually there is
also a dollar cap on the total amount of income replacement
coverage for the same reason.
When analyzing the need for a group disability plan it is
important to consider the consequences of how a group plan
is paid. An assessment needs to weigh the value of premiums
paid by an employer, against the advantages of having all or
some of the premiums paid by employees with post tax
dollars. This consideration can dramatically impact the
actual value of the benefits should a claim arise.
Many group policies also offer partial or residual disability
benefits. These benefits are designed for those able to work
part-time after a disability. If, for example, a cardiac
condition allows you to work only 60 percent of the time, the
partial disability benefit would replace the difference
between your former earnings and your current earnings.
Some Long Term Disability policies may require a period of
total disability, under the current occupation test, before a
claim is paid for a partial benefit, while others may not.
Group disability protection may also be offered to employees
on a voluntary basis, with employees paying all or most of
the cost. A group disability plan can provide an attractive
benefit for employees, at a reasonable cost.
Beware of "point & click" internet services that promise you the
low group cost or affordable benefits plans but don't tell you where
they are located, or don't bother to understand your needs or to
explain the pros and cons of various options.
At endeavor group, we are real people, who you can contact by
phone, fax, or email at any time for an appointment to review your
company's benefits plan and budget. We will help you in any way