Voluntary Benefits: A Solution For High ER Benefit Costs

August 18, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - MetLife's 2004 Employee Benefits Trends Study found that many employers see voluntary benefits, for which employees pay some or all of the costs, as a cost-effective solution to enhance benefits, minimize costs, and address the needs of employees.

According to a news release, the study found that 44% of employers believe voluntary benefits are a cost-effective way to enhance their overall benefits package. Sixty percent of employers believe payroll deductions make voluntary benefits more convenient for employees.

The announcement said that 34% of employers and 46% of large corporations with 5,000 or more employees say “providing a wider array of voluntary benefits” is extremely or very important. The study found that even employees (34%) are interested in their employer providing more voluntary benefit offerings.

According to the report, other key findings of the study include:

  • Long-term care insurance is the fastest growing employee benefit, up 61% over the past four years.
  • Disability insurance is the second fastest growing employee benefit, up 28% over the past four years.
  • Sixty five percent of employers in 2005 offered life insurance and retirement savings plans to their employees, the most widely offered employee benefits except for medical insurance.
  • Non-traditional benefits such as prepaid legal plans and auto and home insurance have seen growth over the past four years of 10% and 18% respectively.

MetLife based its study on benefit trends and offerings of 88 of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies in its client database.