Technology, Changing Demographics Will Alter Benefits

Acupuncture. Paternity benefits. Shopping discounts. Are these the benefits of the future? Companies have been offering more non-traditional benefits in recent years, but an online benefits firm says these non-traditional "voluntary" rewards will become more traditional in the future, listed as core benefits along with vacation, medical coverage, and paid sick days. RewardsPlus Inc. says technology, changing demographics, and a greater appreciation of certain services and products are behind the changes "The Internet has dramatically changed the way cooperate employers provide access to benefits of all types," says Ken Barksdale, president of Baltimore-based RewardsPlus. "And it's actually changing the benefits themselves." Barksdale says as employees get use to choosing benefits online, they will begin to expect the ability to choose exactly what's right for them as opposed to a one-size-fits-all corporate model. Some of the benefits the company expects to be commonplace soon include portable retirement benefits, coverage for alternative medical treatments, child-care programs, eye laser surgery, entertainment discounts, online bill paying, and telecommunications tools such as cell phones and Internet access. RewardsPlus Inc.

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