A Little-Known Employee Benefit Can Go the Extra Mile

New Survey Indicates Companies that Offer Voluntary Benefits Have the Competitive Edge

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- What would you go out and buy – vision insurance – or a snack?  If you're like most, a snack's the answer. In fact, if companies didn't offer voluntary benefits, many employees wouldn't buy them.

In these tough times, with budgets so tight and the job market so competitive, a new national survey, conducted for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri's parent company shows that voluntary benefits – benefits offered by an employer where the employee pays all or substantially all of the premium – provide an edge when employees weigh the value of their jobs. In fact, according to this survey, most employees (83 percent) think more highly of employers that offer voluntary insurance benefits than those that don't.  

For prospective employees, the same may hold true. According to the survey, nearly 90 percent report that when it comes to accepting a new job, it is important that companies offer a full range of health benefits, including voluntary. More than half (56 percent) called it "very important."  

Yet, while eight in ten employees whose company offered voluntary benefits (82 percent) are satisfied with their offerings, that satisfaction fell by 30 percent for those whose companies failed to offer such benefits.

"The survey findings suggest that employees definitely see the value in voluntary benefits," said Jeff Spahr, staff vice president of Vision and Voluntary Services. "Therefore, employers should consider including voluntary insurance as part of their benefits portfolio – employees expect them, and when they are offered, employees tend to become healthier and more productive at work. Everyone wins."

"We want employers to know that voluntary benefits are a practical solution that many companies are beginning to offer," said Spahr. "In addition, we know how important it is for companies to offer competitive benefits packages, which is why we offer voluntary coverage to employers. We believe voluntary benefits are a realistic option in this day and age."

Additional survey results:

  • Two thirds of employees (67 percent) say their company currently offers voluntary insurance.

  • Specific groups of employed Americans are more likely to report their company offers voluntary insurance, including men (71 percent), those located in the Northeast region of the United States (74 percent), workers at large companies (81 percent) and those with an average household income of $50,000 or more (74 percent).

  • Educating your employees about their benefits is important. Only half of workers (56 percent) say they are knowledgeable about the voluntary insurance products offered at their companies.

  • The majority of workers agree (67 percent) that having their employer provide voluntary benefits would increase their productivity at work.

  • The top reasons employees enroll in voluntary benefits include cost savings (54 percent), greater protection for their families (50 percent) and ease of mind (44 percent).

The omnibus survey was conducted online among a national sample of 2,500 Americans ages 18+ (balanced to Census). Fielding took place in August 2010 by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.96% at the 95% confidence level, meaning if the study were replicated, the study findings would be within 1.96 percentage points 95 times out of 100.  

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri

In Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area) Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name for RightCHOICE® Managed Care, Inc. (RIT), Healthy Alliance® Life Insurance Company (HALIC), and HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates administer non-HMO benefits underwritten by HALIC and HMO benefits underwritten by HMO Missouri, Inc. RIT and certain affiliates only provide administrative services for self-funded plans and do not underwrite benefits. Independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri is available at www.anthem.com

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri