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In the previous articles we have discussed the “Big Five” components of the typical employer’s benefits package. Most employers also have other benefits that supplement those cornerstone benefits. In this article we explore some of these extra benefits that aren’t as high profile as the Medical, Retirement and Time Off benefits.
Employers offer additional benefits and you should make yourself familiar with those when evaluating employment or enrollment decisions. These other benefits consist of coverage like Dental, Vision, Critical Illness and Hospital Indemnity plans. In addition, employers may have college savings plans and employee discount programs.
Today’s workforce has four distinct demographic generations of workers, all with their own unique perspective and values that they bring to their career and employer relationship. Many employers, including AdventHealth regularly evaluate their benefit package to determine how best to meet the needs of this diverse workforce and to attract and retain talented employees.
Most employers will offer Dental and Vision benefits. These plans are not as complicated as Medical, so many employer plans will look similar. Employees receive value from the employer’s ability to negotiate group discounts which makes these plans much less expensive than if you were to purchase an individual policy. It is probably inappropriate to call these benefits “insurance” since they don’t really protect you from catastrophic loss. It is much more difficult to reach a catastrophic level of claims with Dental and Vision, so these plans basically provide a very low deductible and then provide additional discounts on other services up to an annual cap. Once you hit the cap, you receive no further benefit until the next year. Nevertheless, these plans provide a good benefit and help offset your personal costs when receiving these services.
Employer Provided Benefits
An often overlooked and underutilized benefit is what commonly falls under the heading of the Employee Assistance Plan or EAP. These plans provide a limited number of free visits with a professional counselor that can help the employee or their family member through a difficult time such as a death in the family, divorce, or other traumatic event where it can be helpful to speak with a professional counselor.
The new EAP programs, “version 2.0” still include those counseling services but also provide an abundance of other helpful services. Many of them will include services to help you with financial and legal issues, providing advice, referrals and education on those topics as well as many others. Many have started providing concierge-like services to help employees manage their busy lives.
Many employers provide an Employee Discount program. This program provides discounts and preferred rates for any number of services that employees might need. The services available can include dry cleaning services, restaurants, entertainment, travel, cell phones and service plans, electronics and other merchandise.
Employers frequently make available an assortment of benefits that provide group rates for employees that are interested in additional financial protection. These benefits are typically provided at reduced group rates, but are usually not subsidized in any way by the employer. These can include Accident, Critical Illness and Hospitalization plans. These are simple plans that provide enrolled employees with a cash benefit if they have an accident, hospitalization, or acquire any of several specific diseases or illnesses (like Cancer).
Although your health plan will provide benefits and ultimately provide protection against catastrophic medical costs, these plans provide an additional level of financial benefit paid directly to the employee. If you don’t think you will use the benefit you don’t have to enroll, but if your life situation changes down the road, you can enroll in a plan and provider yourself with some additional protection. These plans work well when paired with other benefits. For example, an employee enrolled in a high deductible health plan, may pick up the voluntary Hospitalization plan. This way if there is a hospitalization event the employee receives cash payment that can help them offset their deductible.
There is a growing trend to add more voluntary benefit plans to the employer benefits menu. Employers carefully balance employee interest with the administrative costs associated with adding the benefit. I predict continued growth in this area as employers look to voluntary benefits to help meet the needs of a diverse workforce.
As mentioned in one of the earlier articles AdventHealth makes a tool available to help employees understand their benefits and make decisions about which plan options are best for you. Now that you have a better understanding of the available options, you may want to review the details of the benefits package provided by AdventHealth. Ask your recruiter for the URL to spend some time with ALEX the Benefit Advisor.
Your Final Decision
In the introduction I mentioned that most employers have similar benefits, and that is true. People in my role spend time benchmarking their benefits package to make sure it is competitive and will help their company attract and retain talented and dedicated employees. But this process also means that most employers are continuously tweaking benefit plans to make them more attractive and more cost effective. You should be aware that Plan design and your contribution rates are subject to change from time to time.
While benefits are important, and I certainly hope you find the AdventHealth benefit package compelling, there are other more important factors you should consider when selecting an employer. Your fit with the organization’s culture and your ability to contribute to our shared mission is likely to have the most impact on your long-term job satisfaction. We hope you will appreciate our benefits package, but we are most interested in having you join us in our mission to Extend the healing ministry of Christ.