The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has unveiled new enhancements that bolster its voluntary disability product lineup while lowering the cost for coverage. The company said that changes were designed make enrollment easier and the plans more accessible at a time when employees have responsibility for their benefit choices.
The company said that the voluntary long term disability (LTD) and short term disability (STD) program, Disability Choice, is different from disability income plans as it provides benefits based on increments or flat amounts as opposed to percentage of employees’ salaries. This approach eliminates need for an employee census and leads to a simple enrollment process.
The company said that this enhancement also allows it’s disability insurance to be sold with coverage such as dental that also doesn’t require an employee census.
According to Guardian, in addition to enrollment and lower premiums, it has increased maximums for both STD and LTD Disability Choice plans. The maximum STD benefit has been raised from $750 to up to $1,500, while The maximum LTD benefit has been raised from $2,500 to up to $10,000.
Additionally, employees can also increase coverage each year through annual step-up option which allows employees to adjust their insurance amount as their needs and salary change.
Guardian said that the upgrade to its Disability Choice includes enhanced FMLA services; medical/dental plan benefits; spousal disability benefits; and lifetime critical disability benefits.
Barry Petruzzi, second vice president of group life and disability at Guardian, said: “By offering flat amounts, employees are able to choose an amount they can afford even if it is not an exact percent of their salary. The combination of economic uncertainty, rising healthcare costs and job losses are forcing people to focus more on insuring their income.”