US Employers Expect to Add Voluntary Benefits to Their Plans

Colonial Life survey shows nearly half plan to include voluntary benefits in their 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 3, 2011 —-
Regulatory and economic issues are forcing many employers to make changes in their benefits plans. And one of the changes employers expect to make in the near future is to add voluntary benefits.

Almost half of employers (49 percent) surveyed last month by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company say they expect to add voluntary, employee-paid insurance benefits to their plans within the next year.

Colonial Life surveyed more than 750 human resource managers and benefits administrators at the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management in Las Vegas in July. Employers were asked about their employee benefits packages and benefits communications efforts.

Other changes employers say they plan to make to their benefits plans within the next year include:

* Increasing employees’ health insurance premiums (51 percent)

* Increasing employees’ health insurance deductibles and/or co-pays (49 percent)

“Not surprisingly, employee benefits have taken a hit as companies wrestle with the rising cost of providing health coverage to their workforce,” says Randy Horn, president and CEO of Colonial Life. “Offering voluntary products that complement core benefits can help companies better manage their costs. Voluntary plans can also give employees a convenient and affordable way to protect their families and lifestyles.”

Employers say benefits education is important … but are they doing a good job at it?

Virtually all employers (99.6 percent) surveyed agree their employees need guidance to make sound benefits decisions and education to help their workers understand changes in their benefits program. Yet only a quarter of employers (23 percent) believe their company’s current benefits education efforts are very effective.

“Employers see a need for more and better benefits education and communication,” says Horn. “Providing personal, one-to-one benefits counseling can close the communications gaps that often hinder employees from fully understanding and appreciating their benefits.”

About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through their workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service.

Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, Mass. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group, one of the world’s leading providers of employee benefits.

For more information about voluntary benefits, call Colonial Life at (803) 798-7000 or visit