More Employees Sharing Costs and Decisions About Benefits

Guide explores trends and strategies in financial protection marketplace

October 10, 2014- CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The right mix of employee benefits and effective communication can help businesses address concerns from health care reform, tight budgets and shifting demographics, says a new guide from Unum.

Benefits Buyers Study: New perspective on balancing employer costs and employee protection draws on industry research and Unum (NYSE: UNM) data to explore the top challenges affecting the broader benefits market and how these play out for employers and employees every day.

“Employers are juggling the impact of the Affordable Care Act, unrelenting budget pressures and an incredibly diverse workforce,” said Bill Dalicandro, vice president of the Consumer Solutions Group. “This guide can help our partners explore benefits management strategies that can safeguard the financial health of employees and companies alike.”

One clear trend is the shift to cost-sharing and growth in benefits that employees purchase at the workplace, known as voluntary benefits. Unum data over the past 10 years show exceptional growth in voluntary lines of coverage – accident, critical illness, life and disability – across all age groups, company sizes and industries. Specific trends evident between 2010 and 2013:

  • Employees 20-29 and 50-59 increased their voluntary benefit ownership by a higher margin than employees 30-49. Employees in the 60+ age range increased ownership the most
  • Double-digit growth in sales for every company size – ranging from fewer than 100 to more than 2,000 employees
  • The largest increase in ownership was in industry sectors of legal services, information services, engineering, architecture, and management and marketing.
Employers are juggling the impact of the Affordable Care Act, unrelenting budget pressures and an incredibly diverse workforce

“The dramatic growth in voluntary benefits underscores the importance of these benefits in helping to meet employee needs at reasonable costs,” Dalicandro said. “More employees are taking ownership of their benefits choices, and worksite benefits provide an easy way for them to enhance their financial protection.”

Other benefit strategies examined in the study include:

  • Financial protection coverage that is health care reform ready and complements current benefit programs
  • Value-added services – such as enrollment and education – that can make the most of a benefits dollar
  • A range of benefits and simplified choices to help attract, retain and engage valued employees
  • Automatic enrollment to make sure employees have coverage when they need it.

The top challenges and benefits trends in the Benefits Buyers Study underscore the importance of effective communications in helping employees evaluate their benefit needs.

“All these market changes can leave employees exposed to gaps in coverage,” Dalicandro said. “Employers and their benefits partners can play a pivotal role in helping employees make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

For more from Unum’s Benefit Buyers Study, visit here to download a copy or access the Fast Facts flip-book.





About Unum
Unum is a leading provider of financial protection benefits through the workplace. The group disability insurance leader in the U.S. for 38 years, Unum’s portfolio of financial protection products also includes life, accident and critical illness, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. In 2013, Unum paid $5.5 billion in benefits to nearly 492,000 individuals and their families.

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