A Little-Known Employee Benefit Can Go The Extra Mile

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

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 WellPoint, Inc., 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 for WellPoint. "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 how important it is to offer competitive benefits packages, and that voluntary benefits are a practical solution and a realistic option," said Spahr.

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 +/- 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 WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.

SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.