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The vote by the House of Representatives to repeal the long-term-care part of PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) last week means it’s a good time for employee benefits professionals to take a fresh look at their voluntary benefits programs.

“The elimination of the CLASS Act has created an opportunity for employers, brokers and consultants to rethink long-term care as far as employee benefits,” said Craig Butler, senior vice president of voluntary benefits at Winston Benefits, explained in a post on this blog earlier this week.

If you’re thinking of redesigning your voluntary benefits program, here are 4 tips to get you started:

  • Research new products. A number of new products have come on theVoluntary Benefits Redesign 2012 market in recent years, including those designed to help people prepare for  their needs for long-term care. Among them: special “combo” products that incorporate long-term care benefits into life insurance policies, often in the form of riders. If you haven’t updated your voluntary benefits program in a while, your employees may be missing out on these innovative products.
  • Conduct an employee survey. Your staff likely includes Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and Millennials, and they all have distinctly different insurance needs because of their life stages. You can use voluntary benefits to help close those gaps -- but only if you understand what they really are. A well-designed employee survey, coupled with focus groups, can help you determine which voluntary benefits your employees value most and guide your decisions on what type of products to offer, whether it’s dental insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, critical illness or cancer insurance, short-term disability insurance or long-term disability insurance.
  • Interview outsourcing firms. Outsourcing HR functions is an established way to save money and free up HR professionals’ time to focus on more strategic activities, and voluntary benefits are well-suited for this approach. Reach out to several firms and learn more about their systems for administering employee benefits. You’ll want to find a company that provides a consolidated platform that facilitates the enrollment of multiple voluntary benefits from multiple insurance carriers. This will help you maximize your options and minimize administrative hassle for your benefits team.
  • Investigate what the competition is offering. Voluntary benefits can play an important role in recruiting and retaining top talent, allowing organizations to provide valuable coverage to employees at minimal cost to the employer. You’ll want to find out how your organization’s employee benefits stack up against others in your industry, in terms of variety and pricing. If you haven’t updated your program in a few years, you may find that you’ve lost ground.

Winston Benefits has more than 25 years of experience providing employers with technology solutions and high touch human services that streamline enrollment and benefits administration for core and voluntary benefit programs.

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