At Benavise Solutions, we often talk to our clients about modernizing their employee benefits package. But what exactly is a modern benefits plan, and why should companies change what seems to be working? These are important questions to ask, and we have a few answers.
Did you know that benefit plans were established in the 50’s, and they haven’t changed much since then? The benefit lines that were offered in the 50’s are the same lines offered today; most carriers offer the same coverage options on those lines of benefits. But some new players and options have joined the playing field, offering options that adapt better to how the world of work has changed.
The Workplace has Changed
We do not believe the workforce today is the same for either employees or employers. In the 50’s and 60’s most employees spent their entire working life with the same employer. That’s between 40-55 years working with and for the same people; so, it’s no wonder that this type of work culture created a family-like dedication between employers and employees. Under these circumstances, there was a belief that employees and their families should be looked after.
Today’s workforce is very different. People move from job to job more frequently; the sense of dedication and loyalty to an employer may not be as strong. And the way we work has changed, with different tools in our offices, different approaches to work, and new expectations that can all affect our health, and the types of support and resources we need to stay well.
Modern Benefits to fit the New World of Work.
While the overall benefits package design approach hasn’t changed much, employers have the power to adapt their package beyond the pre-set options that carriers provide. So what things could employers change in their benefits package to accommodate this new style of work? We have a few ideas:
Long Term Disability Benefits
The long-term disability benefit that carriers offered in the 50’s looks the same today. It was there to look after employees who had served the employer for 20, 30, or 40 years. That disability benefit was there to replace their earned income if by some unfortunate chance, they could no longer work due to an injury or illness.
One thing that has changed when it comes to LTD benefits, is that in the past, often employees *had* to be in the workplace so anything that prevented that could result in a LTD claim. However, now, thanks to the internet and other technologies, many employees are able to do their work from home. That makes working with a broken leg much easier than it may have been in the 50’s. In this new era of frequent job changes, what obligation do employers feel to look after them through a long term disability ?
Today’s society is bombarded with noise. Group benefits almost always cover eye exams, but do you wonder why they don’t cover hearing tests? Some carriers are starting to include audiologists in the list of paramedical practitioners.
Stress and EAPs
These days, work, and life in general, have many more stressors than ever before; expectations to be constantly available to respond to mobile messages and calls, emails, and work crises, on and off the clock, can take a toll. These and other stressors can lead to mental health issues and/or decreases in workplace performance. Many carriers do not automatically include an Employee Assistance Program in their benefits package; however, this simple addition could make a world of difference to employees and employers. If everyone had access to an EAP, stigma around their use could disappear, and the value of EAP services would increase significantly. But more importantly they would help employees strike a healthy life/work balance, and get help when they face challenges.
A few things that have changed
Some carriers have been adapting their standard plan packages to meet certain changes in the world. If your provider doesn’t provide these modern benefits options, find out how to add them:
Critical Illness Benefits
Critical Illness benefits offer a lump sum payment to help people recover from a major illness like cancer, a heart attack, stroke or similar; Carriers have been offering this in employee benefits for several years now. This type of benefit does tend to change and adapt to fit medical advances. For example, some illnesses that were considered critical 35 years ago now have better health outcomes, or are more preventable and are no longer included on Critical Illness Insurance lists. This benefit is appropriate for all age groups and can be a great addition to your plan package if it’s not already included.
Covering Virtual Care
Some carriers have been keeping up with changes in our medical landscape, and provide options like telemedicine referrals, supporting individuals to find doctors, and get diagnoses or prescriptions online.
Our work world is not standing still, and there are many ways that benefits can adapt to keep up with changes to the way we work. We’ve outlined some things that make a modern benefits plan. If you want to adjust the options in your plan to fit the needs of your modern workplace, talk to us. We’re here to help!