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METLIFE expands benefits choices and flexibility for small business


Enhanced Dental, Disability and Life Products Available ~

NEW YORK. – MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer and a leading provider of employee benefits, today announced that it has enhanced its dental, disability and life insurance products available to smaller employers (those with 10 to 499 employees) to include features popular among larger employers. The enhancements provide greater flexibility and additional benefit features to help smaller businesses effectively deliver competitive benefits programs that meet the needs of their diverse employee populations and their business objectives.

“Benefits programs can be strategic differentiators for employers since benefits satisfaction has been linked to employee retention, according to the 6th annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends. The enhancements enable small businesses to optimize the value of their benefits programs by tailoring features to meet the needs of their unique employee populations, while addressing their employee retention and cost sensitivity issues,” said Todd Katz, senior vice president, MetLife Institutional Business.

Included among the key enhancements are:

For workers at smaller employers, dental benefits are among the top four benefits of importance, according to the MetLife study. To help smaller business employers optimize the inherent value of their dental benefits programs to increase employee satisfaction, MetLife has made the following enhancements available:

* Graduating Dental Benefits, an option that increases the annual maximum benefit for dental plan participants each year for up to three years (capped at $3,000) regardless of their claim history. For example, an employee could have an annual maximum of $1,000 for year one, $1,250 for year two and $1,500 for year three. MetLife’s Graduating Dental Benefits offers increased benefits without a rollover of unused benefit dollars, eliminating the need to “save” benefit dollars for later calendar years. Graduating Dental Benefits encourages employees to continue to access appropriate levels of oral health care each year. Participants and their covered dependents are rewarded for simply maintaining their dental coverage with MetLife.
* Increased flexibility in choosing annual maximum, deductible and allocation of services options, which help smaller business employers keep the plan features they want, while meeting their desired price points. In addition, MetLife offers increased flexibility on coinsurance and orthodontia maximums.

According to the Social Security Administration, three in 10 workers entering the work force today will become disabled before retiring. To help smaller employers provide employees with valuable disability income protection, MetLife now offers additional options that can help employers tailor their benefits programs to their unique needs. The enhancements, which are designed to provide greater overall flexibility to meet the needs of small business customers, include:

* Wider range of options on provisions such as eligibility requirements, maximum benefit amounts and pre-existing condition limitation/exclusion (subject to state variation).
* Lower participation levels available for employers meeting certain requirements for contributory Short Term Disability and/or Long Term Disability.

To increase the value of group life insurance programs beyond a death benefit and to keep these programs top-of-mind with workers at smaller employers, MetLife has arranged with its service partners to make available the following value-added options:

* Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are now an option with all Basic Term Life and Core Buy-Up coverage – a combination of basic and supplemental life insurance coverage.
* Travel Assistance with Identity Theft Solutions is available with Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D), Core Buy-Up, and Optional AD&D.

In addition, the payout of the Accelerated Benefit Option for both Basic Life and Core Buy-Up Life has increased up to 80% of the benefit, to a maximum $500,000.

The 6th annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends was conducted during the third quarter of 2007 and consisted of two distinct studies fielded by GfK NOP. The employee survey polled 1,380 full-time employees, age 21 and over, at companies with at least two employees. The employer survey consisted of 1,652 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with a minimum of two employees, representing a mix of industries and geographic regions.


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