Other than Medical, What Should You Offer

Thurston County Chamber

By Sandy Wood, GHB Insurance, broker for the products Thurston County Chamber’s Benefits Trust products


Most companies that provide some type of insurance coverage to their employees offer medical.  While it is the most expensive, it is also the most utilized.


The question I get asked most often is “what should we offer other than medical?”


Like all other things in life, it depends. What do your employees want? What will be an affordable addition? What will provide the best protection for your employees?

What Employees Want

There are surveys conducted all the time, trying to figure out what employees want.  You can take a poll of your employees to find out your specific group’s needs.


But to give you an idea of what the surveys report, medical coverage is the most important benefit in the eyes of employees.  After that, they want dental, vision, life, and disability – in that order.


The Pricing

While every group will receive rates based on their number of employees, their ages, and their genders, I can at least provide a guideline.


We are seeing dental rates range from $40 to $60 per employee, and vision from $7 to $10 – assuming that your company pays about 75% of the employees’ premiums. The cost for $10,000 in life insurance would be about $5, while short term disability and long term disability costs about $25 for each line of coverage – assuming your company pays 100% of your employees’ premiums.


How to Protect Employees

Although employees typically will not choose disability coverage as their top requirement, I believe this is one of the best purchases an employer can make.


For about $25 per month you can offer financial stability to any employee who becomes disabled.  Most people think of disability hitting them after retirement age.  But the reality is that about 8% of those age 18 – 64 will be disabled at some point during their working years.


And disability, even a temporary disability lasting less than 2 years, can throw your employee into bankruptcy and homelessness.


Give the People What They Want

If you are not able to afford all the benefits your employees want, consider offering voluntary coverage.  Dental, vision, and life insurance rates will increase only slightly when offering these plans to your employees on a voluntary basis.


However, disability coverage can double in price when offered as a voluntary coverage – again, one of the reasons I like to see disability as the second employer-paid coverage after medical insurance.


For more information, contact author Sandy Wood at sandy@ghbinsurance.com or call 800.789.5011. GHB Insurance, the broker for the products in the Thurston County Chamber’s Benefits Trust, is located at 556 Lilly Road SE in Olympia.

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