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For too long, benefits managers have believed the myth that voluntary products aren't affordable. It's time to stop the assumptions and look at the facts. (Photo: iStock)

There are a few basic truths underlying the popularity of voluntary benefits; affordability is one of them, along with understandability and processing ease. For an employee, voluntary plans are easy to apply for, to qualify for, and to pay for. For an employer, there is little work beyond allowing enrollment and handling the payroll deduction process.

However, for various reasons, HR benefits managers may have the mistaken belief that voluntary benefit plans are expensive — possibly dating back to pricier products that have been sold in the past. This happened to us recently. One of our brokers passed along a message from an HR benefits manager who asserted their employees making $12 to $15 an hour “should not be offered voluntary benefits because they cannot afford them.” This was the reason given for not allowing some eligible employees to attend our group meetings. Meanwhile, the employer had no life or disability plan for these employees.

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