The frequent headline news related to the fumbled Affordable Care Act (ACA) website roll-out and ongoing contentious debate has moved the benefits discussion from the office into the home. How might ACA affect what benefits my employer offers? Do I have enough benefit coverage? This uncertainty has many more employees asking for a higher level of involvement when choosing benefits.

At the same time, companies (also uncertain in regard to how their benefits may be affected by ACA) are looking for new ways to offer employees more benefit value by including a choice of flexible voluntary benefits. According to The Voluntary Benefits and Services Study by Towers Watson , “companies are thinking more creatively and strategically to design rewards programs that are both within cost constraints and attractive to employees. Many are turning to voluntary benefits and services to help achieve this goal.”

Voluntary benefits, which have been growing in popularity among both employees and employers, are a well-liked benefit alternative to fill any coverage gaps. While employers gain more flexibility and cost-savings, employees get a more active role in their own benefit decision-making, allowing them to find the coverage level that works best for themselves and family. The Towers Watson study also points out an employee-relations advantage related to the expanded-choice voluntary benefits approach, “employees are more likely to view high-deductible health plans more favorably when they have access to affordable and supplemental voluntary health products.”

As ACA moves toward full implementation, ClaimVantage is working closely with insurance companies and TPA claims-service providers to ensure that their Absence, Disability, Accident, Life and Voluntary Accident-only claim management are automated, efficient, and ready to handle the increased claims-processing demand that is projected to follow the workplace promotion of voluntary benefit coverage purchases.

What’s become quite clear is that  employers and the insurance industry must help employees and individuals stay informed about how the mandates under the ACA can affect their health coverage and how that is different from other insurance benefits, such as Disability, Accident, Absence and Life insurance. Voluntary benefits that can be purchased through employers benefit plans or at an insurance agency can offer supplementary coverage security when especially needed.

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