Published by Trustmark Voluntary Benefits on August 19th, 2019

Whether you currently own or plan to purchase voluntary benefits, you may or may not be aware of the differences between group and worksite voluntary benefits. These differences are important: knowing the advantages and limitations of each can help you better understand your policy or your coverage options.

What are the main differences?

There are several major differentiators between worksite benefits and group voluntary benefits:

1. Keeping your coverage

Worksite benefits: You own the policy, which means it is fully portable and can be taken with the you even if you leave your employer. There is no age or time limitation on the policy. 

Group benefits: The policy is owned by the employer, which means that they are responsible for annually renewing the policy and employees could lose coverage if the master policy is cancelled or if they leave their job. There may also be age limitations in which you could lose coverage after reaching a certain age. Portability is often limited, you may be able to keep your coverage at a reduced benefit or at a higher premium (and sometimes only for 12-36 months).

2. Premiums/Pricing

Worksite benefits: Premiums are based on your age at the time you purchase the policy and don’t increase over time. You don’t have to sign up for these benefits each year since there is no annual renewal process.

Group benefits: Premiums are step rated, meaning that there are predetermined points in the insurance policy indicating when premiums will increase. The rate guarantee you receive when purchasing coverage may only last 2-3 years; otherwise, rates can change 

3. Renewability

Worksite benefits: Worksite policies are guaranteed renewable and cannot be cancelled by the carrier. No annual renewal process means you don’t have to sign up for these benefits on a yearly basis.

Group benefits: The employer owning the benefits is responsible for annually renewing the group policy. However, the employer can also cancel the group policy at any time so long as there is a 60-day notice given to the employees.

4. Enrollment

Worksite benefits: Enrolling in worksite benefits will likely involve a one-on-one session with an enroller. You are the end customer and all communications about the policy go directly to you. 

Group benefits: Group voluntary enrollment offers informational group sessions, but you usually enroll on your own. The employer is the end customer, so policyholders are less engaged and have fewer customization options. 

While you may not be able to choose whether your employer offers group or worksite voluntary benefits, understanding the differences between them can help you better navigate your policy. Take the time to review your options before every open enrollment season and you’ll be in great shape to get the coverage you need.