We've all read and heard how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is creating more opportunity for voluntary sales. But is it true? Has it started? Or has this train derailed at the station?

Recent research provides evidence that this is indeed happening. Our employer study showed that more employers are looking to make changes to their benefits programs today than they were two years ago. More than three in 10 are considering changes that are voluntary in nature, and 17 percent are very likely or likely to move certain benefits to voluntary. Those include vision coverage, dental insurance, disability insurance (both STD and LTD) and life insurance.

In addition, 14 percent of employers are "very likely" or "likely" to add a new voluntary benefit over the next 12 to 18 months. The following chart shows the percentage of employers considering several different benefit changes both in 2012 and in the current survey. Noteworthy is the significant increase in likelihood between the two years.

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