insurance

5 tips for maximizing employee health care

Voluntary benefits can pay off handsomely
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Voluntary benefits can pay off handsomely

Voluntary benefits can be sweet deals if you need them. These employee health care benefits can include disability insurance, vision care or dental insurance. Some employers make contributions -- if yours does, strongly consider signing up. For example, in 2009 nearly half of U.S. companies paid for long-term disability insurance for their employees, according to the industry association LIMRA.

Even if your company doesn't pick up the tab, long-term disability insurance is still worth buying, says Carolyn McClanahan, founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Fla. A 20-year-old has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration. With a private disability income policy, you can expect to replace about 50 percent to 70 percent of your income should you become disabled, according to the Life Insurance and Market Research Association, or LIMRA.

"Group plans are cheaper than buying them on your own," she says. And payouts are usually tax-free when you buy your own policy.


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