Even if you are already meeting your obligations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to offer minimum essential coverage to your workforce, you may or may not be offering specialty insurance to your employees. Specialty coverage is additional benefits, such as dental and vision insurance, that you include as part of your employee health care package.
Note that, while pediatric dental and vision coverage are included as part of the ACA’s mandated essential health benefits, dental and vision are not required aspects for adult coverage. That’s essentially what specialty coverage is all about: You’re not required by the ACA to offer it, but if you want to make your workforce happy, consider going beyond just meeting the ACA requirements. Look at the types of specialty insurance options available to you; adding to your employee health plan can help differentiate you from your competitors when attracting and retaining the best and brightest employees.
Different Types of Specialty Insurance Plans to Consider
You might consider adding a number of specialty elements to your plan, such as:
- Vision. A vision plan pays costs associated with routine eye care, glasses and contacts.
- Dental. Dental coverage helps your employees defray costs for a wide range of dental procedures: routine office visits for cleanings and checkups, the installation of braces and other hardware, and endodontic procedures such as root canals.
- Disability. Whether they’re long term or short term, disabilities cause many people to leave work. This coverage allows employees to rest easy — they’re not emptying their savings while they’re away from work, and they’re getting help to pay for the care they need to recover.
Benefits of Offering Specialty Insurance to Your Employees
You want your employees to view your offered health coverage as a key incentive to work for you. If you’re only offering the bare minimum required by the law, you’re not communicating a willingness to go above and beyond what’s mandatory. Of course, every company is keeping track of health care costs, but is forgoing additional health coverage worth the savings?
Let’s look at disability coverage as an example of the general employee’s perception of value. According to data from the Consumer Federation of America, nine out of 10 workers think that all employers should offer disability insurance, considering it “personally important.” While the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives the average cost of providing both short-term and long-term disability coverage as $624 per year per employee, the trade-off in employee attraction and retention could be seen as a net gain for a number of employers.
In the end, it’s up to the employer to make those final cost decisions on offered coverage. Just keep in mind that the more you offer outside the basic ACA requirements, the more you’re showing an investment in your employees’ well-being. Each piece of specialty coverage can be seen as an integral piece of your workforce’s overall health and peace of mind. Including more of these specialty insurance offerings gives you leverage when making offers to top talent and incentivizing your best people to stay with you for a long time.
This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.
Donald Parker has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance and financial services industry with several Fortune 500 companies. He holds a life, accident and health insurance license in Virginia. He has been FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 registered and specializes in the areas of long-term care, senior needs, retirement and employee benefit planning.