Supplemental benefits may seem expensive, complex or even pointless. Here are five myths about ancillary employee benefits, debunked.

You're thinking about offering ancillary employee benefits like vision, dental or life insurance to supplement your group health insurance. However, you have doubts about the cost and benefits of these additions, not to mention the complexity of adding more options to your plan. But some of these doubts might be rooted in misconceptions.

Here are five common myths surrounding ancillary employee benefits, debunked.

Myth #1: I'm Too Small of an Employer to Offer Them

No company is too small. In fact, some carriers can go down as low as having just one person enrolled for certain policies. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is designed for organizations with anywhere from one to 50 employees. In addition to the SHOP Marketplace, small-group options to consider include individual health insurance, private exchange or cooperative plans.

Myth #2: Ancillary Coverage Costs Too Much

Actually, many policies are quite affordable, costing even as little as $10 per month for each employee for dental coverage or other policies. Employers can also offer a wide range of voluntary benefits at low or no direct costs if those benefits are partially or fully funded by the employees who use them. Some plans require only two to five employees to qualify, while others have no minimum requirement. For dental coverage, the National Federation of Independent Business's Health Insurance Exchange is a resource that offers an extensive selection of insurance plans and carriers to fit the needs and budgets of a variety of businesses.

Myth #3: Ancillary Employee Benefits Are Too Complex

Their flexibility means that ancillary benefits can address your employees' needs in a more straightforward way. Benefits like vision insurance can work as simple discount programs, while life insurance can be set up as a one-time payment. In addition, many carriers are qualified to help educate employees about their benefits as well as provide easy enrollment and administration, usually at no direct cost. Consult with your insurance agent to figure out what might work best for the company.

Myth #4: Why Bother? They Won't Impact My Business

Don't forget that your employees need more than a regular health care plan to stay healthy. Routine dental exams, for example, can help spot serious conditions like periodontal disease, along with other critical systemic conditions. In fact, according to the Guardian Life Insurance Company's fifth annual "Workplace Benefits Study," people who visit the dentist twice a year have a higher level of emotional wellness, eat healthier, exercise more and maintain a healthier weight.

Similar can be said for good vision health. With routine eye exams, your employees can maintain healthy eyesight and, in turn, stay happier and more productive on the job. Eye-related concerns that may need attention Ñ for example glaucoma, cataracts and retinal problems, plus other health issues like diabetes, hypertension and thyroid disease Ñ can also be detected and addressed during a comprehensive eye exam. Vision problems that go uncorrected can reduce employee productivity by up to 20 percent, or one work day per week.

Overall, access to ancillary benefits can encourage employees to take advantage of preventive services and care that will help keep them healthy and on the job.

Myth #5: My Employees Don't Care About Them

If this seems to be true, it might be because they just need more information about ancillary benefits and why they're valuable. Without making efforts to communicate this value, you can't make a fair assessment of employee interest.

The truth is that employee desire for ancillary benefits can be strong enough to boost retention rates. In a CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers, HR professionals and workers, 58 percent of respondents identified better benefits as one of the best ways to entice workers to stay with a business and reduce voluntary turnover.

So it turns out that ancillary employee benefits are not only available to businesses of all sizes and budgets but also have wide-ranging value for employees and employers alike. Your next step is to determine which ones your employees have the most interest in and how to go about offering them.

Learn more in this guidebook: Health and Benefits Coverage 101


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