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Our consulting team has just finished their first major study of the year, and we are releasing it just for you!

Our competitive intelligence professionals did a deep dive into the voluntary benefits world in an effort to provide important insights to organizations looking to compete on voluntary benefits in the insurance market.

Learn what is happening, how consumers are acting, what major carrier moves to be aware of, and get ahead of some potential major disruptors.

2021 Voluntary Benefits Trend Study

Key Findings

The key findings from the study span four major categories.


Voluntary Benefits Trends

Some of the key trends the study found in how voluntary benefits are being offered include:

  • Sales and implementations of voluntary plans, supplemental and dental in particular, have seen significant YoY growth in the past few years (9% and 12% annualized sales growth, respectively)
  • Dental and vision plans offered by employers also offering health benefits are growing – Vision plans are growing (+6% YoY) twice as fast as dental (+2% YoY)
  • Dental benefits are increasing and being integrated with health plans (+6% since 2018) – In doing so, employers overwhelmingly (77% of the time) pair vision plans with a single carrier

Benefits Extended to Employers and Employees

Supplemental health benefits offer employers ways to better serve their workforces and cut cost. Main benefits include:

  • Benefits offering improvement: 87 million American workers are given access to at least one supplemental insurance product as employers look for way to improve their benefits offerings
  • Recruitment: 78% of employees say that they would likely remain with their employer because of their benefits
  • Support for employee financial health: 25-30% of brokers expect to see an increase in student loan benefits
  • Cost: 30% of employers may consider supplemental plans as an effective cost management approach
  • Employee satisfaction: A comprehensive benefits package is a Top-5 driver of employee satisfaction

Notable Carrier Movements

There has been some interesting movement amongst carriers in how they offer voluntary benefits that are important to be aware of: 

  • MetLife has the most comprehensive approach to growing their voluntary benefits business – Table stakes for all carriers is organic growth and partnering
  • MetLife is primarily buying its way to a robust voluntary offering (e.g. the $1.7b purchase of Versant Health to become the #3 US vision insurer)
  • Anthem is looking to deepen its presence in its voluntary markets to bring $4-6 in operating gain per member per month and will narrow the risk-based/fee-based earnings contribution from 5:1 to 3:1
  • Cigna’s partnership with Oscar opens the door to small group insurance to Oscar and, in turn, offers Cigna access to a digital first, direct-to-consumer selling platform
  • Aetna is investing in technologies (e.g. bswift and iCAP) to more effectively put their products in the hands of their customers

Non-Traditional Threats

And lastly, the study breaks down some of the non-traditional threat vectors for anyone operating in the voluntary benefits space:

  • Technologies like AI/ML and IoT (e.g. remote monitoring, telemedicine, wearables) will likely be at the forefront of the changing Insure-Tech landscape
  • Examples of digital disruptors that have ramifications for insurance carriers include Bind, Brella, Corestream, and Oscar

Major Industry Disruptors

The study is incredibly comprehensive, and is a great deep dive into the current landscape of voluntary benefits, but one of the most interesting pieces of the study is the identification of major industry disruptors on the horizon.

The biggest category of disruptors are technology companies that have built models directly addressing supplemental insurance, or are offering unique ways to meet business priorities around cost reduction or access to care. Some of the companies to be on the lookout for are:


Corestream is a leading voluntary benefits technology provider that believes the success of any organization relies on the holistic wellness of its workforce, from physical and mental health to financial wellbeing. Corestream’s revolutionary SaaS platform scales the distribution and adoption of voluntary benefits to become an integral part of protecting and enhancing the employees’ livelihood. By removing barriers, streamlining administration and optimizing the user experience Corestream has become a powerful tool in the arsenal of HR teams, brokers, vendors and employees.

Goals: Reduce costs, and improve access to care.


Brella offers a simple supplemental plan covers 13,000+ conditions and pays cash on diagnosis that can be used for almost anything

Goals: Reduce costs, and improve access to care.


An online health insurance company that offers free doctor visits, customers can speak to doctors for free over the phone at any time and the intends to explore expanded free preventative care and generic drugs. Oscar focuses on individuals and small group.

To date, Oscar has raised $1.3 billion in venture capital funding, including from investors such as Alphabet, Fidelity, and Thrive Capital.

Goals: Enhance care quality, reduce costs, and improve access to care.


Bind personalized health plans offer consumers choice, flexibility and cost transparency. Deductibles or coinsurance are no longer obstacles to needed care. Members have access to a broad network of doctors, clinics and hospitals, and treatment options in the palm of their hand.

Bind members have personal control over how their benefit works for them—with the ability to shape and change their health plan as their health needs change. Enrollment in Bind grew eight-fold from 2019 to 2020, Bind has raised $300 million from investors including UnitedHealth Group, Lemhi Ventures and Ascension Ventures.

Goals: Reduce health inequalities, improve access to care, and reduce costs.


MIDATA is a Swiss-based, nonprofit cooperative that serves as a trustee for data collection, that helps to ensure citizens’ control over their personal data. Members with an account can grant and control access to their personal data to actively contribute to medical research and clinical studies

Goals: Enhance care quality.

Want to see the full study?

There’s 21 more pages packed with intelligence and information to help you compete in the voluntary benefits space. Download the study now.