What are Group Benefits?

Mary McMahon

Group benefits are financial benefits like pensions and insurance available to members of a group who share a common characteristic like all being employees of the same company or members of a professional organization. People can often obtain better rates and options with group benefits and they can be a valuable and useful resource. Many employers offer them as part of a compensation package for their personnel, and they can be a perk of membership in professional organizations ranging from unions to military groups.

Group health insurance plans lower the cost of premiums for members by spreading the risk to the insurer.
Group health insurance plans lower the cost of premiums for members by spreading the risk to the insurer.

Insurance available through group benefits can include car, health, and life insurance for members and their families. In addition, many professional organizations provide professional liability insurance like malpractice, premises liability, and so forth to their members. Group insurance benefits are often low cost, as the risk pool is highly variable and the insurance company is willing to offer a bulk rate in exchange for a set number of customers. The sponsoring organization may cover part of the cost and can also help people file claims and navigate the insurance system.

Financial benefits like pensions, retirement accounts, and mutual funds are other examples of group benefits. Pooling resources can generate a greater financial return and higher benefits for everyone in the group. People may opt in to these plans or automatically enter them by starting employment, depending on policies. Some employers offer matching contributions or pay all contributions as a benefit, depending on the situation. One advantage to receiving compensation through group benefits is a reduction of tax liability; because the employer does not pay the employee directly, no tax is due on any contributions.

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Other group benefits can include things like access to discount car rentals, hotels, and plane tickets, along with offers for local businesses. Companies may negotiate these benefits to offer incentives to prospective employees, or as a way of encouraging employees to be active in the local community and to consider activities like traveling. People may receive a discount card they can use in various settings, or can access benefits by providing employee identification numbers or other verifying information.

If a workplace or organization does not offer group benefits, members could research available options and present them to ask if it is possible to consider adding benefits. Sometimes the costs to the organization or workplace are very low, and they may not have considered benefits but would be willing to do so if people demonstrate interest.

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