Group Life Insurance and Disability Plans
Among the most appreciated—and affordable—benefits an employer can provide are various forms of life and disability insurance. While the employer usually pays for the costs of the basic policy, most plans enable individual employees to increase their levels of coverage by paying additional premium via payroll deduction. In some cases, coverages can be entirely funded by employees, providing there is a substantial number willing to participate. The most commonly requested plans are described below and can be purchased separately or in various combinations, depending upon your needs.
Group Life Insurance
A group life insurance plan provides term life insurance for all eligible employees. Generally, employees can pay additional premium to increase their levels of coverage or to buy coverage for spouses and/or dependent children. Coverage is sometimes portable; if so, when employees leave your group—or their status within your organization changes for a number of other specified reasons—they can convert all or part of their coverage to a personal whole life policy. Also, if an employee is diagnosed with a terminal illness, many plans now enable a partial, lump-sum withdrawal of funds for use prior to death.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
Often purchased in tandem with group life insurance, this insurance provides additional protection for your employees in the event of an accident that causes their death or the loss of hands, feet or eyesight. The employee’s beneficiary would receive the full value of the AD&D policy in the event of an accidental death; in the case of dismembering injuries, he or she would receive either half of the policy’s value, or the whole amount, depending upon the number of injuries.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
If your company does not provide sick pay or some other form of paid time off, the loss of a weekly paycheck can present a substantial hardship for an employee. Short-term disability insurance generally provides the employee either a flat amount per week, or anywhere from 50% to 70% of their weekly salary. It is generally limited to 13 or 26 weeks, depending upon the plan.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
One in five Americans between the ages of 35 and 65 will experience a disability lasting three months or more; nearly two-thirds of them will not be eligible for coverage by workers’ compensation. Depending upon the plan you choose, long-term disability Insurance payments can begin anywhere from 30 to 365 days after the disability occurs and can be coordinated with any Short-term disability coverage that may be in place. The disabled employee will be compensated monthly, at anywhere from 50 to 70% of monthly salary. Generally, diagnosable illnesses are covered until the employee recovers, or reaches age 65. For self-reported conditions that cannot be diagnosed by a lab report or medical test, benefits are usually limited to 12 or 24 months.
Group Long-Term Care Insurance
The demand for goup long-term care insurance is steadily growing, providing a convenient way for employees to pay for this much-needed protection. Extending coverage beyond basic medical and nursing care, long-term care insurance helps pay for the additional assistance a chronically ill or disabled person needs–but does not have coverage for–through other forms of insurance. This includes such things as extended nursing home care, in-home care, assistance with daily living activities and more.
There are three different types of group programs: a reimbursement policy, which pays the actual cost of daily services up to a daily maximum; an indemnity contract, which pays the full daily benefit for each day a service is received; or a disability income policy, which pays a fixed daily benefit each day the insured is impaired, whether or not services are provided.
Depending upon how your plan is structured, there may be tax benefits to both you and your participating employees. For example, employees who itemize their taxes can add long-term care premiums to their list of medical expense deductions; employers can deduct the premiums as a business expense.
Travel Accident Insurance
Another reasonably priced coverage, travel accident insurance can be purchased for all or part of your employee group and will compensate them for injuries that occur while traveling anywhere in the world. Depending upon the plan, participants may be covered just for business travel or for both business and pleasure. Often times, as part of the program, they will receive an array of additional free services to help them with the logistical issues related to an out-of-town accident or hospitalization.