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Get Ahead of the Competition With Benefits That Appeal to Older Workers

Tips to improve benefits or introduce new ones to attract skilled and experienced workers.

Addressing caregiver support issues in the workplace is not just a benevolent response; it’s smart business.  It is reported that companies reap a $3-$14 return on every $1 they spend on eldercare benefits.

More than likely, your company offers a smorgasbord of employee benefits. But are they the right kind to attract the 50-plus job candidate?

See also: AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Since 2001, AARP’s Best Employers for Workers Over 50 program, cosponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management, has recognized employers whose policies and practices are ahead of the curve when it comes to attracting and retaining the 50-plus worker. Here are some tips on how to tweak existing benefits or introduce new ones to attract skilled and experienced workers, and some examples from our Best Employers winners.

Consider These Appealing Health Benefits

Comprehensive health care savings benefits, such as those provided by six-time AARP Best Employer winner, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, really impact employees’ health and wellness. For example, MD Anderson offers medical premiums paid at 100 percent for full-time employees, flexible spending accounts are offered and employees are given a $15/month WorkLife Choice Award for participating in the FSA. Moreover, retirees also receive free medical and prescription premiums, and are eligible to purchase additional life insurance, dental, vision and long-term care insurance at group rates.

Barry Barnett, former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, suggests that you "provide discounted prices on supplemental policies that cover gaps in Medicare or contribute a specific amount toward those premiums.” At the very least, they provide workers with added protection and shows employees that you care about their well-being. Do the same with concierge benefits, ranging from vision and dental to pet insurance. "Employers don't incur any expense but the employee benefits from reduced costs," he says.

Health care consultant Michelle Katz says, "Identify medicines that are most frequently used by employees. Chances are many are being prescribed for mature workers who may not be able to afford them, such as cholesterol, diabetic or heart medications. Then check into the patient assistant programs offered by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs and ask for discounts. Sometimes the insurance company has already done this, but sometimes they haven't. Cut out the middleman and go right for the gut."

"Offer health care plans that cover second-generation family members who are dependents, like grandchildren," says Dorma Kohler, owner and managing partner at AlteraMed Group in Houston. Many plans don't offer this extended coverage.

Establish group rates for long-term care and long-term disability with guaranteed issue (where no one can be turned down). "Some people who are now in their 50s are thinking they need to pick these benefits up and are finding it's very costly," adds Kohler. "Once you start having health problems, it's hard to pick these benefits up as an individual."

Another unique idea? At West Virginia University, mature employees benefit from the “Take Charge of Your Health” program, an eight-week program with weekly assignments. By the end of the eight weeks, employees will have compiled a personal health manual with information on health contacts, health numbers, medications, family medical trees, medical visits and medical reports.

Offer Training Opportunities to Help Employees Soar

Proactively offer your training programs to mature workers, regardless of their position or work status. A number of AARP’s current and former Best Employers for Workers Over 50 offer robust training and educational programs that appeal to job seekers and employees.

Next page: Flexible work arrangements attract and keep 50-plus worker. »

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