Where Are Those Stand-Alone Elder Care Benefits?

The CBS Nightly News covered a topic very important to employee benefits this week. Caregivng.

In her segment on caring for aging loved ones, Katie Couric spoke about how companies are increasingly helping employees by adding workplace benefits similar to those that have been offered for child dependents. One workplace consultant said that in the next five to ten years, employees will expect their employers to offer elder care support services much like employees in the 1980s expected their employers to offer child care resource and referral services (driven by the demographic trend of increasing women returning to the workforce).

This is a big deal because prior to the 1980s, less than 1% of employers offered child care resource and referral services to employees. Today, over 70% of large employers offer such services. This translates into hundreds of millions of new revenue streams for these vendors. Expect the same thing with elder care benefits - maybe more.

This is great news for Work/Life and Employee Assistance (EAP) companies who deliver such benefits to employers. Yet, I know of only one Work/Life and EAP company who has carved out and branded an elder care only service! They continue to market their child and elder care services as a packaged suite.

BIG mistake.

This reminds me of the mid 1990's when the World Wide Web came into existence. Only one Work-Life company (interestingly, it is the same company) capitalized on this shift and began offering "Internet" delivered work/life services. The rest of the industry poo poo'd the idea - to their peril.

It looks like history may repeat itself.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: Mark Willaman

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