Congratulations Again to Mark Booth!

Congratulations to Morgan Planning Group’s Partner Mark Booth on being featured in this month’s Fortune Magazine for the second year in a row as a Five Star Wealth Manager Under 40! Mark is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with over 15 years of experience. He will be finishing his Masters in Business Taxation at the Carson School of Business this year, and we look forward to his continued success in the years to come.

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Congratulations Mark Booth!

Mark Booth, a young and dynamic financial advisor, has recently been awarded the prestigious Five Star Wealth Managers Under 40 Award and featured in Fortune Magazine for his exceptional contribution to the financial industry. As a seasoned professional, Mark has established himself as a advisor, working closely with clients to create personalized investment strategies around their unique financial goals.

In addition to his accomplishments as a wealth manager, Mark is currently pursuing a Master of Business Taxation at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Furthermore, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a testament to his commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism in his field. With his combination of experience, education, and dedication, Mark Booth is poised to continue making a significant impact in the world of wealth management for years to come.


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Using Voluntary Benefits to Enhance Existing Benefits Packages

Overview: What are Voluntary Benefits?

One of the most important ways to recruit and maintain the best talent is to offer a competitive benefits package. As premiums for health insurance continue to rise in the individual market, offering group coverage is effectively mandatory for any competitive benefit offering. Although there are still a number of choices in terms of health plans that can help set you apart, it is with voluntary benefits where you can really make a difference. Making sure that you offer competitive dental, disability, life, and other coverage, will go a long way to recruiting and retaining employees.


There are a number of studies which link good oral health to better overall health.[1] Thus, an important part of keeping your employees healthy and happy is to ensure they have access to dental insurance. Dental offerings can be a relatively inexpensive option for your employees. We will be looking at dental plan design in a later post, but most plans offer coverage for basic and major services. For your employees with children or who may require adult braces, there are plans which offer an orthodontic component. Dental plans are usually available to employers with ten or more employees, but there are exceptions. Given their cost and the known importance of oral health, dental insurance remains one of the most common and desired types of voluntary benefits that employees look for when evaluating a benefits offering.


Vision is one of the most cost effective voluntary benefits. With plans costing as low as $4 a month, employees who require glasses or contacts can receive a substantial benefit. An eye exam is included in most health plans. So why offer vision coverage? Vision plans are often material benefit plans. This means that they provide significant savings if your employees need to purchase glasses or contacts. The material discount can provide assistance with frames, lenses, contacts, and other necessary vision correction. With around 75% of the adult population requiring some form of vision correction[2], this is an excellent benefit that would appeal to many employees.


Even with good health insurance, the fear of an extended illness or disability leaving an employee unable to work and collect an income is common. Fortunately, disability insurance exists to cover the gap when an employee is unable to work for an extended period of time. Both Short Term and Long Term disability are available. Short Term disability protects an employee when they are unable to work after several days due to the same condition. These policies typically pay for 13 weeks, and can be used to cover absence due to pregnancy, as well as illness or accident. Long Term disability comes into effect once an employee has either exhausted their Short Term coverage or after 90 days of absence. Long Term benefits pay usually until the Social Security Normal Retirement Age.

Short Term and Long Term disability benefits are an important part of any benefit offering. They ensure that employees have a sense of security should they experience an unexpected illness or accident. These are plans that can be designed around your needs and the needs of your employees. Some employers cover the cost of these for their employees. Others offer the disability coverage as a voluntary benefit. Either way, disability insurance is a reasonably cost effective way to ensure your employees have some peace of mind in the event of a health crisis. A recent study found that 40% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency, meaning that many cannot live on their savings.[3] Protecting your employees’ income is thus a vital and popular benefit.

Life and AD&D

Many companies provide a group life and AD&D policy for their employees. This benefit is often included to ensure that employees’ families are take care of in the event of death. However, these benefits often have a modest amount of coverage, sometimes not covering the employee’s annual salary, for example. In these cases, it can be a positive benefit to offer your employees the option of adding voluntary life and AD&D coverage. Whether on top of existing group coverage, or as a standalone benefit, voluntary life and AD&D is an important way to ensure that your employees have peace of mind for their loved ones if the worst should come to pass.


An often overlooked benefit, Accident coverage can be very popular when offered to employees. Accident coverage provides a set payout in the event that a person is injured as the result of an accident. These payout vary, but they are often enough to help cover the incurred medical expenses that result from the accident. Accident coverage also works well in tandem with disability coverage. It can help to cover initial expenses until any Short Term disability benefit pays out. Finally, many accident plans offer a wellness benefit. This benefit pays employees if they receive their routine physical or vaccination during the course of the year. This payment can help defray some of the cost of the coverage itself, and has the added benefit of encouraging your employees to get their annual physical!


We’ve presented here some common voluntary benefits that employers offer. These benefits can help you to round out your benefits package in a way that won’t break your budget. It also allows your employees some control over the benefits they want. If you’re interested in learning more, or want to add some voluntary benefits to your benefits package, please contact us! We can be reached at, or by phone at 800-484-2199.




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Open Enrollment: Managing Employee Expectations

Open Enrollment is an exciting time. It is a chance for you to review the benefits you offer to your employees, and make changes or additions. It is also a time for your employees to make decisions about their insurance plans for the coming year. Remember, employees will be not be able to enroll in your group health plan if they waive coverage during open enrollment, unless they have a qualifying event. It is therefore important for you and your employees to have regular communication, especially if you’re going to be making changes to your plans.

Open Enrollment can also be a stressful time for your employees, as plan changes come into effect and premiums increase. This can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction. It is important that you keep in regular communication with your employees, so you can manage expectations and resolve complaints before they turn into larger problems. In order to keep your employees happy, and ensure that you have a successful open enrollment, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you out!

Talking About Premium Increases

One of the inevitable points of contention during open enrollment is the increasing cost of insurance. This mostly concerns health insurance, but applies to dental and other voluntary benefits as well. Premium increases occur during open enrollment, and premiums are often a top concern for employees. Further, they will certainly notice when they are paying more for their premiums than they were the year before.

First, it is important to address these concerns by ensuring your employees know that you have shopped the market. Much of this is done by your broker, but we keep in touch as we look across different carriers and plans. It can also be useful to demonstrate the pricing on the individual market, which is typically more expensive than group insurance. Finally, by encouraging preventative care, employees stay healthier, which affects the overall premium cost.

Benefit Concerns

With benefit changes, there is always an initial amount of uncertainty among employees as they are unsure what their new benefits will be. Particularly compared to the old benefits package, employees may express dissatisfaction over rates (as discussed previously), network and service coverage, and customer support. During these times it is important to make sure that employees stay informed of the changes so they feel as though they are in the loop. Benefit meetings, both on a group and individual level, go a long way toward educating your employees and easing their concerns.

If you are changing carriers, be sure to highlight the benefits that the change will mean. These could be a lower premium, a wider network, or a richer benefit. If the provider network will be changing, work with your employees and your broker to make sure that they have access to an in-network provider they trust. And if the coverage benefit is changing, be sure to highlight the premium savings or increased coverage over the old plan.

Soliciting Input

Employees are more likely to feel concerns about benefit changes during open enrollment if they have not been consulted during the process. Both during open enrollment and around halfway through the plan year, it is a good idea to check in with your employees to determine how they feel about their benefits. What is working? What isn’t? Are they any benefits they don’t currently have that they would like? Do they feel knowledgeable about their benefits?

Education about benefits leads to higher happiness among employees regarding their benefit package, and can be a helpful tool during open enrollment. Also, employees who are well educated about their benefits can provide more meaningful feedback on benefit surveys as you continue to tailor your benefits package to meet the needs of your employees.


Open Enrollment is an important time of year for you and your employees. A successful open enrollment can lead to increased employee satisfaction and retention. In order to ensure that your Open Enrollment is the best it can be, it is important to manage your employees’ expectations. As premiums increase every year, it is vital to demonstrate the advantages, both coverage and rates, of group health insurance. Communication, soliciting feedback, and education are effective tools to make sure your employees understand their benefits, make informed decisions, and know that their opinions matter. Benefit meetings are one of the most important parts of open enrollment, whether they are group meetings or individual discussions.

For those of our clients who would like to know more about the open enrollment process, or who would like to hold meetings with their employees, we are happy to provide those services. If you’d like to set up meetings, or just get more information, please email us at, or give us a call at 800-484-2199.

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