Employee Benefits

What Are Voluntary Benefits?

2 min read
Oct 10, 2022

Voluntary benefits are insurance plans that can help provide a financial safety net for you and your family and help protect you in a wide range of scenarios, including unexpected illness, legal matters, accidents, and more. Voluntary insurance plans, also often referred to as supplemental insurance, are designed to help with costs that aren't necessarily covered by primary health insurance plans.  

When can you enroll in voluntary benefits? 

You can enroll in voluntary benefits during the open enrollment period, or if you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, a special enrollment period. If you’re taking part in an employee benefit program, your employer will be able to tell you when you’re able to enroll. 

Voluntary benefits examples

When it comes to voluntary benefits, employers often offer a wide variety of options that can be entirely or partially paid by the employee. 

  • Dental insurance - often covers and will pay out for dental expenses, like regular cleanings and dental procedures
  • Vision insurance - typically covers routine eye exams and a portion of out-of-pocket eyewear expenses and occasionally will contribute to LASIK procedures
  • Life insurance - pays a set amount to a designated beneficiary when the policyholder dies
  • Pet insurance - often covers veterinary costs for instances like injury, illness, and routine vet care
  • Legal insurance - provides access to a network of attorneys for legal help
  • Critical illness insurance - helps provide financial assistance for certain illnesses
  • Accident insurance - pays out a lump sum in the instance of certain accidents
  • Hospital indemnity insurance - helps pay expenses related to hospital stays
  • Disability insurance - provides a portion of income payments to a person who can no longer work due to pregnancy, mental health, injury, illness or accident

Pros of enrolling in voluntary benefits

Voluntary benefits can offer many advantages, including:

  • Discounted rates when offered through your employer 
  • Help with out-of-pocket expenses such as medical and hospital bills 
  • The ability to make pre-tax benefit payments via payroll deductions 
  • The knowledge that you have some protection should you face legal trouble, certain health problems, and more 

Prepare for Open Enrollment 

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This article is intended to provide general information about insurance. It does not describe any Metropolitan Life Insurance company product or feature.