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Benefit Trends for 2012

November 22, 2011

The 2012 benefit year is almost upon us (can you believe the holidays are just around the corner?). As you are taking a look at your renewal, consider some of these trends. Ask you broker (we’d love for it to be us) how you can incorporate these trends to better your benefits package.

Government agencies will see changes coming to their benefits in the 2012 benefit year. Because of lower tax revenues, many government employers will be asking their employees to pay a bigger share of their premiums.

It is important to note however that many employees are far more willing to pay more for benefits offered to them than not having benefits offered at all. If your business is struggling to pay premiums for your employees keep this in mind. Talk with your employees, and gauge which benefits are most important to them. Find out how much they are willing to contribute toward the premium – you might be surprised by the answer. Often times voluntary benefits require higher participation, so be sure that you have enough employees willing to participate. Your broker will be able to help assist in determining the proper amount of participation needed for each product you offer or want to offer.

To help counteract higher medical premiums, many employers will be adopting wellness programs. Interest and participation in wellness programs has grown considerably over the last year and is expected to continue growing in 2012. Employers are finding that properly executed wellness programs not only can help to lower insurance premiums but make employees happier as well. Many employees feel as though they do not have time to incorporate wellness into their daily lives. If wellness is promoted and encouraged in the workplace, more people are more likely to live a healthier lifestyle. And remember, healthier employees may (there is never a guarantee of lower premiums) lead to lower insurance premiums! However, do keep in mind that a successful wellness program must have upper level management support as well as incentives for employees to participate.

While employers are cutting back and trying to find ways to save money, many employees will be requesting their employers begin carrying more voluntary products. Employees want to invest money into critical illness, cancer, accident, and heart/stroke plans. Because of the rising cost of medical bills, employees are willing to pay for products like these to safe guard against high medical costs. Many employees worry about what an illness may do to their finances. People are usually willing to budget for plans that are proven to help them in their time of need.

If you have any questions about these or other upcoming benefit trends, please give us a call. There is no obligation to discuss your options with us.

Thanks for reading!

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