BY KATHRYN MAYER
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
is leading to a lot of changes in benefits. And employers are going with the flow and changing right along with it.
That and other findings came out of Prudential Insurance Company of America’s eighth annual Study of Employee Benefits. The study found that the ongoing rollout of the law is spurring employers to take action within their benefit plans, primarily by offering voluntary benefits.
Benefits experts say the market is ripe for a rise in voluntary benefits.
“Although employers anticipate scaling back benefit offerings due to cost considerations, there’s great opportunity for them to offer voluntary benefits in order to continue providing attractive benefits to their employees,” said Vishal Jain, vice president of strategy, planning and business insights at Prudential Group Insurance.
PPACA could usher in “a new era for, and emphasis on, voluntary benefits,” he said. “More employers are utilizing them for recruiting and retaining talent and employees increasingly view them as a cost-effective way to protect their families’ financial futures.”
Last year’s Towers Watson 2013 Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey found that accident, dental, disability, vision and life insurance were the most popular offerings in the workplace.
Specifically, Prudential found that 73 percent of employers say the law is having an impact on benefits service and support and 69 percent said there is an impact on benefits communications.
In addition to a new emphasis on voluntary benefits, nearly half of the surveyed employers said they are “extremely” or “very likely” make high-deductible health plans their only care option.
Jain said that with the changes in the benefits landscape, brokers and carriers are especially important as a “trusted resource” to employers offering enrollment communications, benefits education, record keeping and administrative services.
“Employers will look for carriers that provide value, make benefits administration easier, help employees make better benefit decisions, and provide excellent customer service,” Jain said.
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com