Boomers clamor for voluntary benefits

As baby boomers head into retirement, a growing number of workers wish their employers offered voluntary benefits that would help them in retirement.

According to the 2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey, conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates, 83 percent of those surveyed said they would like it if their employer offered an annuity product that makes guaranteed monthly lifetime payments.

Another 77 percent would like access to life insurance that pays benefits to the surviving spouse, and 76 percent said they would love access to retirement planning that includes helping them to decide when to retire, when to claim Social Security benefits, what Medicare option to choose and how to set up a stream of income for retirement.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said they would like access to long-term care insurance.

Employees identify lower cost (compared with purchasing benefits on their own) and choice as strong advantages of voluntary benefits. However, they are split with respect to their comfort in having their employer choose their benefits provider and think the possibility that they may have to pay the full cost of any voluntary benefits is a disadvantage.

Three-quarters of employees believe that the benefits package offered through their employer is extremely or very important in their decision to accept or reject a job, but 31 percent are only somewhat satisfied with the benefits offered by their current employer and 26 percent are not satisfied at all.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute based in Washington, D.C. It focuses on health, savings, retirement and economic security issues.

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