Small Business Benefits Options Can Generate Year-Round Health Care Savings

 Small Business Benefits Options Can Generate Year-Round Health Care Savings

PR Newswire

COLUMBUS, Ga., Nov. 12, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ga., Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --As U.S. small business owners
review their year-end business performance and set objectives for 2013,
decision-makers should include an evaluation of how well existing benefits
programs address top fiscal concerns. In fact, controlling health care costs
is the most important human resources issue for small businesses, according to
the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report (AWR), an online survey of nearly 1,900
benefits decision-makers and more than 6,100 U.S. workers conducted by
Research Now and released by Aflac, the No. 1 provider of supplemental and
guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States.(1)

"Small businesses are at the heart of the American dream and the engine of
U.S. economic growth. Yet the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report reveals that 55
percent of small businesses find it challenging to provide robust benefits
while staying within tight budget constraints," said Paul S. Amos II,
president and chief operating officer for Aflac U.S. "We know that small
business owners juggle many responsibilities, including taking care of their
employees – often with little or no human resources expertise. The challenge
comes down to company resources, including what's available to business owners
to provide benefits and communicate with employees about their options and,
how they can best use benefits to improve their health and well-being."

Managing Rising Health Care Costs

Similar to the Aflac study results, an annual small business owner survey by
the National Federation of Independent Business revealed that the cost of
health insurance remains small businesses' number one problem, topping the
list for 52 percent of business owners.(2) As a result, business owners and
benefits decision-makers need creative solutions that can provide short- and
long-term cost advantages.

"Many small business owners and their employees are looking for flexible
benefits solutions to address rising health care expenses," said Amos. "Small
businesses that take a close look at their benefits offerings can gain a
competitive edge by providing employees robust benefits options including
voluntary insurance without incurring additional cost to the company."

Voluntary insurance and wellness programs are two solutions that can enhance
traditional benefits and help protect employees' health and financial
well-being, while positively impacting a company's bottom line.

Win-Win Solutions

Voluntary insurance expands benefits offerings by  providing a wide range of
coverage choices, including short-term disability, life, dental and vision
without adding benefits costs to employers. Other relevant insurance for small
businesses include voluntary critical illness, hospital indemnity and accident
plans that can provide much-needed cash benefits to policyholders faced with
high out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected injury or illness.
Voluntary insurance benefits also can have a big impact on a business's
finances, with 30 percent of small businesses seeing fewer workers'
compensation claims after introducing voluntary insurance plans.(1)

Wellness programs are currently offered by more than one-third (36 percent) of
small businesses as an effective cost-cutting solution.(1) Among all
businesses with a wellness program, the Aflac study revealed that 44 percent
agree they are able to offer lower premiums as a result of their wellness
program. In addition, a review of the return on investment for wellness
programs shows on average a 28 percent reduction in sick days, a 26 percent
reduction in health costs, and a 30 percent reduction in workers' compensation
and disability management claims.(3)

Voluntary Insurance Provides Meaningful Benefit Accent

Like other small businesses, Accent Computer Solutions, an information
technology support firm in San Bernardino County, California, seeks creative
benefits solutions that don't have a negative impact on operating expenses. In
Accent's case, executives realized they needed to make changes to adjust their
expenses and that the company couldn't continue to provide employees the same
level of benefits. However, Accent's executives were determined to find smart
solutions that fit their budget so they could give employees flexible
insurance options.

"We couldn't afford everything we wanted to offer employees and still run a
profitable business," said Derek Woolf, Accent's vice president and general
manager. "When Aflac contacted us about their voluntary insurance policies, we
quickly discovered the solution was right in front of us — our employees could
get extra protection without adding benefits costs to our company."

While Accent has a stable base of 30 employees with little turnover, Woolf
acknowledges that the voluntary insurance policies they offer are important to
employee retention and a good complement to the company's additional benefits
during a candidate's recruitment process. He said, "We now have a solid
benefits package that makes us competitive with, if not ahead of, other
companies a candidate may be considering."

Complementary Articles and Infographic Downloads

To gain even more insight about voluntary insurance and wellness programs,
download articles on best practices for businesses.

To see the 2012 study results, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com or follow
@aflac on Twitter.

About the Aflac WorkForces Report

The Aflac WorkForces Report is an annual employee benefits study examining the
forces impacting the trends, attitudes and utilization of employee benefits.
Surveying both American workers and business decision-makers, the Aflac
WorkForces Report reconciles the perceptions and realities of benefits in the
workplace. The insights aim to help businesses make informed decisions about
benefits to better protect their employees and their bottom line.

Research Methodology

The 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report was conducted by Research Now on behalf of
Aflac. The research contained two components of research among the U.S.
workforce — employer research and employee research.

The Employer Survey was conducted online within the United States between
January 24, 2012, and February 7, 2012, among 1,876 benefits decision-makers.
Results were representative of U.S. companies with at least three employees
based on company size (number of employees) and industry. No estimates of
theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

The Employee Survey was conducted online within the United States between
February 7, 2012, and February 23, 2012, among 6,151 employed adults ages 18
and older who are employed full or part time at a company with three or more
employees and not retired. The first 3,151 interviews were nationally
representative while the remaining 3,000 interviews were conducted among the
Top 30 designated market areas (DMAs) — 100 interviews per DMA. Results were
weighted as needed for household income. No estimates of theoretical sampling
error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

About Research Now

Research Now is the leading global online sampling and online data collection
company. With over six million panelists in 38 countries worldwide, Research
Now enables companies to listen to and interact with real consumers and
business decision-makers to help them make key business decisions. Research
Now offers a full suite of data collection services, including social media
sampling, and operates the Valued Opinions™ Panel and e-Rewards® Opinion
Panel. The company has a multilingual staff located in 24 offices around the
globe and has been recognized for four consecutive years as the industry
leader in client satisfaction. For more information, please visit
researchnow.com.

About Aflac

When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more
than 55 years, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the
opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States,
Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance. In Japan,
Aflac is the number one life insurance company in terms of individual policies
in force. Aflac individual and group insurance products provide protection to
more than 50 million people worldwide. For six consecutive years, Aflac has
been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical
Companies. In 2012, FORTUNE magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best
Companies to Work For in America for the 14th consecutive year. Also, FORTUNE
magazine included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 11th
time in 2012. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New
York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit
aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.

(1) 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report, a study conducted by Research Now on behalf
of Aflac, January 24–February 23, 2012.

(2) National Federation of Independent Business Report, "Small Business
Problems & Priorities," August 2012.

(3) Partnership for Prevention (2012), "Worksite Health,"
<prevent.org/Topics/Worksite-Health.aspx>, accessed on September 25, 2012.

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Media Contacts:
Kip Havel                Cathleen Bleers
Aflac                    Hill + Knowlton Strategies
706.243.5543             312.255.3123
mediarelations@aflac.com cathleen.bleers@hkstratgies.com



SOURCE Aflac

Website: http://www.aflac.com
 
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