Employee Benefits

Employee benefits are a significant expense line item for small businesses, international companies and every business in between. Controlling this expense, while retaining and attracting employees is certainly a balancing act. Our employee benefit professionals are here to assist you by providing current market knowledge, as well as in-depth expertise to design and implement a cost-effective yet employee friendly benefit program.

Employee benefit plans fall into a number of categories.  Here is more information on the full range products and services The Heritage Group offers:

What are the State and Federally Mandated Benefits?

Employers are required, by law, to participate in certain programs, either through paying taxes or making contributions. These mandated benefits include: workers compensation coverage, unemployment insurance taxes; Social Security taxes; Medicare contributions; and state disability laws, where applicable.

What are Group Benefits?

The majority of employers voluntarily offer health-related benefits to employees. In most instances, the cost for employee health-related insurance is shared by the employer and their employees. A wide range of group benefits that are available to employers are listed below:

What is Group Health Insurance? Medical insurance is an important part of an employee's overall compensation package. Premiums for medical insurance have historically been very costly, it is almost prohibitively expensive for someone to purchase outside of an employer-sponsered plan.

There are a number of different types of health insurance plans. One main difference in each of these plans is the number of participating doctors. 

What is a Fee-for-Service Plan? In this plan an employee may go to any doctor for treatment and pay a deductible and coinsurance.

What are Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)? In this plan employees have to options, they may go to any doctor they choose and pay a deductible and coinsurance, or visit one of the participating doctors in the plan and pay lower copayment.

What is a Point of Service (POS) Plan? This plan offer some flexibility of a PPO plan, but the employee must choose a primary care physician within the plan.

What are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)? These plans allow the employee to see doctors only within their plan, sometimes at an HMO facility.

Whichever plan you choose to offer to your employees, there will be those who insist on seeing their own doctors, and are willing to pay extra premiums and deductibles and coinsurance.  The Fee-for-Service or PPO plans are a good fit. Other employees may not have that need and will appreciate a less expensive, more restrictive plan, such as a POS or HMO. In order to satisfy the majority of their employees, many employers offer their employees a choice of a Fee-for-Service for PPO plan, as well as a POS or HMO plan.

What is Group Dental Insurance? Dental insurance plans pay for a majority of services offered by dentists, orthodontists and endodontists. Services are classified as preventive (routine exams and x-rays,) restorative (fillings, endodontics,periodontics, crowns and prosthetics) and orthodontia (braces). Benefits are payable as a percentage, based on the classification of the service. There is usually an annual maximum benefit per insured, and a lifetime limit on orthodontia. Riders are available for services such as adult orthodontia.

What is Group Term Life Insurance?  Gorup term life insurance is generally offered as either a fixed amount, or based on a multiple of salary. For example, an employer might offer employees a fixed benefit of $50,000, or two times their annual salary.

What is Group Disability Income? Disability income insurance replaces a percentage of an employee''s earnings, in the event that he/she becomes unable to perform the regular duties of his/her job. Typical benefits range from 50 to 70 percent, up to a monthly maximum benefit. Some disability income plans pay beneifts for a number of years, or until age 65. Most offer additional provisions via policy riders, designed to improve coverage, as well as encourage the employee to return to work as soon as he/she is able. Some of these policy riders include residual or partial disability payments and cost-of-living adjustments.

What is Vision Insurance? Vision plans generally provide a benefit for the purchase of eyewear or contact lenses, and may also pay for eye exams.

Retirement Benefits:

Like health insurance, retirement benefits are an intergal part of an employee's overall compensation. There are a number of different retirement options available, such as:

What is a Pension Plan? (defined benefit, definded contribution, or profit-sharing) Pension plans provide employees with a retirement benefit, payable based on the employee''s length of service, salary and a benefit formula that typically calculates the average of the employee''s earnings over a prescribed period of time.

What is a 401(k) Plan? This plan allows employees to contribute a percentage of pre-tax salary, with restrictions, into a retirement fund. An employer has the option of matching contributions up to a predetermined percentage and is subject to a maximum contribution.

What are Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs)? These are a common retirement plan option for employers with 100 employees or fewer. In SEPs, employers utlize Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) as a way of providing employees with a pension benefit.

What is a Saving Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLEs)?  This plan is also designed for employers with 100 or fewer employees, and utilize either IRAs or 401(k)s to provide a retirement benefit for their employees.

In deciding which type of retirement plan to offer, an employer should consider: ages and compensation histories of employees, the anticipated level of employers contributions, the company''s profit history, the plan adminstration costs and the expected length of time the plan will exist. There are a wide range of plans available to employers, and it makes sense to consult with professionals who specialize in retirement plans for businesses.

Other Benefits:

This is a catch-all category, that includes program and benefits offered by the employer on either an employer-pay-all or contributory basis. These additional benefits serve to improve the employee's quality of life by offering services and programs that make the employee's life easier, and hopefully, more pleasant - translating to improved satisfaction levels and employee productivity.

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1184 Troy-Schenectady Rd.
Latham NY 12110
Phone: 518-782-0001
Toll-Free: 800-233-7988
Fax: 518-782-9908

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