Putting flex benefits through their paces

The growing pains seem to be over and employers can start reaping the benefits
By Jacqueline Taggart
|CHRR, Guide to Pensions & Benefits|Last Updated: 12/04/2002

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose. For the last decade or so in the realm of employee benefits that purpose has been to offer employees choice and manage costs through the introduction of flexible benefit programs.

Flexible benefits are plans where various benefits are offered with different levels of coverage available for some or all of the options. Employees may pay some, all or none of the premium cost for these options, depending on the plan design. The range of potential options is only limited by the employer’s tolerance for complexity and ability to administer the plan.

Now that flexible benefits have been put through their paces over the past few years, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and assess whether the plans have delivered what was promised. Have employers realized the savings anticipated? Have employees begun to appreciate the significant dollar investment benefits represent for their employers? Have employees started to live on the edge by opting for little or no coverage rather than the paternalistic security blanket of traditional plans?