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Benefit Solutions for a Multigenerational Workforce

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday May 7, 2019

Updated : Tuesday February 7, 2023

When it comes to providing benefits that work for everyone, there’s one thing that should be at the forefront of your decision – it’s choice.

The Power of Choice for a Multigenerational Employee Benefits Plan

Benefits by Design (BBD) is not immune to the multigenerational workforce. We have employees that span across five generations. To create a multigenerational employee benefits solution for our workplace, we factored in employee choice.

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For example, we used to offer a $200 vision care benefit to our 90+ employees. However, only 50% of our employees wear glasses or contacts. So, half of our staff were paying premiums for a benefit they would never use.

We did something crazy (at least at the time), we removed our vision care benefit entirely and instead offered a $200 Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) to all employees. The HCSA gave employees the choice of what to use their $200 on; those who needed a new pair of glasses could buy them, but other employees could choose to cover extra dental costs or paramedical expenses.

Since then, we’ve seen the importance of providing additional flexibility and choice to our employees and have increased the HCSA allotment from $200 to $500.

Establishing Priorities: What to Insure vs. What Not to Insure

This part will very much depend on your benefits philosophy and will guide what you want to insure. 

It’s helpful to look at group insurance as being made up of two parts: true insurance and ancillary insurance.

True Insurance 

True insurance products cover high-cost claims with a low probability of occurrence. Consider options like Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, Long Term Disability, or coverage for high-cost drugs. These are instances where, without coverage, employees could be left at significant financial risk.

Ancillary Insurance 

Ancillary insurance covers low-cost claims with a high probability of occurrence. These are generally those nice-to-have perks like massage and other paramedicals, vision care, Dental Insurance, and more. These are instances where, without coverage, employees might have to pay more out-of-pocket. Ancillary insurance doesn’t protect from unforeseen, catastrophic circumstances like loss of life, limb, or mobility.

One option is not better than the other. It all depends on your benefits philosophy. Both options have merit, and in fact, a combination of both types of insurance is often the best option to provide coverage for everyone.

If the “why” behind your benefits plan is to protect employees from catastrophic events, true insurance is a viable option.

If the “why” behind your benefits plan is to attract and retain employees, ancillary insurance may be best.

Steps to Designing a Multigenerational Employee Benefits Plan

Determining an Employee Benefits Philosophy for a Multigenerational Workforce

In conclusion, when designing a benefits plan that appeals to the multigenerational workforce, you should:

  1. Evaluate your employee demographics and identify wants and needs. What does your workforce look like? What do your employees want from their benefits plan?
  2. Find your benefits philosophy or your “why” and go from there. Your benefits philosophy will make selecting benefits options easier and increase the likelihood of choosing something that works.
  3. Consider aspects of choice through a Health Care Spending Account or Personal Spending Account to appeal to multiple generations and give them the power to choose how they use their dollars.
  4. Use your knowledge of your benefits philosophy to decide if you want to focus on “true insurance” or “ancillary insurance” or (ideally) a combination of the two.

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