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Voluntary Benefit Trends to Look Out For in 2021

Voluntary benefits have always been great for more personalization in plans, by helping to satisfy the unique needs of each individual. In fact, 80% of people prefer a job with benefits over an identical job that offered 30% more salary and no benefits, as per a 2018 survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs.


Because people understand that the only thing predictable in life is its unpredictability. And to remain financially-stable amidst economic uncertainty and crises is extremely important. As Colonial Life (a voluntary benefits company offering critical support during such unexpected times) reported in a recent survey of 300 businesses, benefits planning is the ONLY thing that has retained the same despite the drastic changes caused by the COVID “pandemic”.

Dental, vision, critical illness, pet insurance and similar offerings are some of the most common kinds of voluntary benefits - and they’re paid for partially by employees. They’re a win-win for both you and your staff because these benefits allow you to attract and retain the best talent, while your employees feel valued and get their money’s worth by working for you. During the COVID-19 pandemic, having additional benefits options may be exactly what your team needs to stay motivated and productive.

If this makes sense to you, here are a few trends relating to voluntary benefits to look out for in 2021.

1. Expanded Voluntary Benefits Offerings

The voluntary benefits market has been growing steadily over the years and will continue to do so in 2021. More employers are understanding their employees’ desire for benefits options beyond health care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, voluntary benefits that may have once been disregarded are now being utilized by employees. Perks like elder care and critical illness insurance could be of particular importance amid the pandemic. As such, a larger number of employers are expected to offer a wider selection of voluntary benefits in 2021.

2. A Focus on Financial Wellness

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a dire toll on employees’ finances. In fact, 84% of U.S. adults fear the pandemic will affect their long-term financial security, according to a recent Northwestern Mutual study. As voluntary benefits options are expanded, employers can expect to see a greater number of financial-related offerings.

The specifics of these offerings will vary by employer, but may include 401(k) vesting, financial planning services, budget counseling, and student loan payback or purchasing programs.

3. Greater Customization and Consumer Knowledge

Employees want personalized, a la carte benefits—they want to pick and choose what’s best for them. Employers are recognizing this and will likely increase their selections accordingly. Traditional voluntary benefits—such as disability or life insurance—are among the most popular. But non-traditional offerings like pet insurance, student loan services, and identity-theft protection are gaining traction, especially among millennial workers. This might prove to be a savvy recruiting technique as well, especially among a multigenerational workforce.

Voluntary benefits are no longer considered add-ons but essentials, particularly for employees during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re great for both you as an employer as well as for your employees because:

  1. They offer more customized benefits as per the individual and unique needs of your staff.

  2. They can help free up employer budgets by being paid for largely by employees themselves.

For more guidance on the benefits of voluntary benefits, contact the insurance experts at NY Small Health and find out how they can help you help your team.


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