The 6 Most Common Benefits Mistakes Long-Term Employees Make

If you’ve been with a company for a long time, it’s easy to get comfortable with your position there. This goes for your employee benefits, as well: You might fall into a routine and not realize the many options your employer offers that fit you better than your current coverage. Don’t miss out by making these benefits mistakes. 1. Ignoring Communications HR sends out all sorts of announcements about employee benefits — are you listening? If you’re not paying attention to employee communications, you could miss enrollment deadlines or valuable new benefits that you didn’t know you had. Chris Lokken, an employee benefits consultant with Johnson Insurance, says he often asks employees how many took advantage of the regular free eye exam their health insurance often covers. “Usually I get 3 or 4 hands to go up, and 5 or 10 people see me after the meeting and ask me …

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U.S. Life and Health Direct Premiums Expected to Decline for First Time in 4 Years

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s U.S. Insurance Market Report: Life and Health, a variety of forces are expected to lead to a 1.2 percent decline in combined U.S. life, annuity, and accident and health direct premiums this year. Experts say uncertainty in the market is the main driver: As companies scramble to outmaneuver each other in the face of changing regulations, direct premiums are dropping. “Competition for market share between life insurance carriers is highly competitive at the moment,” says Anthony Martin, owner of Choice Mutual, a burial insurance agency based in Citrus Heights, California. “That’s caused a number of carriers to continue to reduce premiums, primarily on their term life insurance portfolios.” Here’s what you need to know. Life Insurance: Competition Drives Down Costs Life insurance rates are decreasing for three main reasons, Martin says: First, people are living longer, largely due to advances in health technology. Secondly, …

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How to Pick the Right Voluntary Benefits for Your Lifestyle

A recent survey from Towers Watson says more than 90 percent of employers expect voluntary benefits to be an important part of their value proposition to employees in the next three to five years, compared with 59 percent who said the same in 2013. As a result, chances are you’ll see an increase in the scope of voluntary benefits your employer offers. Voluntary benefits can be a great way to get coverage for a variety of issues at a reasonable cost, but it can be a challenge to determine which ones are right for you. Here’s how. Consider Your Needs Your voluntary benefits needs will rely on factors such as life stage, current income, plans for the future and dependents. Take stock of what’s at risk and what could be better served by purchasing voluntary benefits options. Entry-level workers, for example, are more likely to be single and have no …

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7 Essential Health Insurance Terms Everyone Should Know

Health insurance is full of its own lingo — and that can make bills and descriptions of benefits hard to understand. Learning the common terms that your insurance company might use is an important part of taking charge of your coverage. These terms are some of the most common — and commonly misunderstood — that you might encounter. 1. Deductible This is one of the most important terms, says Robin Solomon, a partner at Ivins, Phillips & Barker. “This is the amount you will pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in at all,” she says. For example, if you have a $2,000 deductible, then your insurance will not pay a dollar until you reach $2,001 in expenses. As more employers switch to high-deductible plans, it’s vital to understand this term. 2. Copay The copay is the amount you have to pay for a particular service, says Jeffrey Koontz, …

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“It takes a village…to run a successful corporate wellness program”

It takes a village…to run a successful corporate wellness program

The popular Nigerian proverb of “It takes a whole village to raise a child” is often paraphrased, however, the meaning is clear. The essential meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The same philosophy holds true when implementing and executing a wellness program. Much like the roles of a mother, father, aunt, uncle and even grandparents when raising a child, employers should incorporate specific roles and responsibilities when considering a deployment of a wellness program to its employees. Prior to moving forward with launching a wellness program, it is in the best interests of any employer to select employees (and potentially even outside resources) to come together and serve on a wellness committee. With any launch of a major initiative, proper leadership and consistent fostering is necessary to make sure the program is running as planned. A wellness committee should consider (but not be limited to) representatives from …

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