Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is between the ages of 25 and 44 years old – and within this key demographic of talent, many may be experiencing professional and personal firsts.1 Whether dealing with recent new graduates, first-time benefits enrollees or those starting a family, employers can play a role in supporting these employees during significant life milestones.

Understanding the different decisions and experiences of their workforce, businesses can better communicate the benefits and resources available to support life’s different junctures during open enrollment season.

A college grad’s guide to insurance

A provision in the Affordable Care Act extended dependent health insurance coverage to 26 years old to cover more young adults who historically had low access to affordable employer-based insurance.2 As a result, many recent college graduates now opt to stay on their parents’ dental, vision and major medical insurance.

Even if their health insurance premium is covered by their parents, out-of-pocket medical care can still be costly. Young adults may want to consider enrolling in supplemental critical illness, hospital indemnity or accident insurance, which help provide additional financial protection from expenses health insurance doesn’t cover.

In addition, the wellness benefit on certain supplemental plans may pay cash for going to the doctor for an annual physical, dental or eye exam, immunizations and more, meaning money directly in the insured’s pocket, regardless of what their health insurance pays.

First-time enrollees

When an individual turns 26 or is otherwise ready to enroll in an organization’s benefits offerings for the first time, figuring out what they need can be daunting. Giving employees the option to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a benefits consultant is a way to address questions and concerns and help employees feel confident in their selections.

According to the 2020-2021 Aflac WorkForces Report, about half of employees said they value recommendations from a benefits professional over those of their family, friends and employer when looking to buy insurance.3 Employees who understand the total annual cost of their health care coverage more often say they are extremely or very satisfied with their current benefits – a difference of 49 percentage points from those who do not understand their costs very well or at all.3

To help first-time enrollees, employers need to address benefits education and understand its importance as part of any company’s benefits program. Benefits consultants can also work with businesses to create a plan for educating workforces on their offerings year-round as well as during enrollment season.

Starting a family

Whether getting married or welcoming children into the world, family growth brings about new financial and health considerations. Yet, the vast majority of employees (92%) choose the same benefits year after year.3 Instead of running on autopilot, employees should consider benefits specific to families’ needs, especially those with children.

For example, group critical illness insurance can help families with costs associated with serious illnesses such as cancer or heart attack as well as childhood conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, Type 1 diabetes, sickle cell disease and more.

Another benefit families of all ages should consider is life insurance. In fact, LIMRA reports that almost half of millennials say they are more likely to buy life insurance due to COVID-19.4 Life insurance helps ensure families are not overwhelmed by debt or expenses in the event of an untimely passing and can help support and protect future financial goals such as paying for a child’s college tuition.

Benefits for many milestones

While changing life stages are some of the most common times employees will have questions about benefit options, employers should encourage all workers to review their insurance selections and ensure they suit their lifestyle.


2 “Young Adults and the Affordable Care Act: Protecting Young Adults and Eliminating Burdens on Families and Businesses.” Accessed July 28, 2021.

3 The 2020-2021 Aflac WorkForces Report is the 10th annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The surveys, conducted by Kantar, captured responses from 1,200 employers and 2,000 employees across the United States in various industries. Learn more at

4 LIMRA and Life Happens. “2021 Insurance Barometer Infographic”. Accessed July 20, 2021.

Content within this article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or accounting advice regarding any specific situation. Aflac cannot anticipate all the facts that a particular employer will have to consider in their benefits decision making process.

Virgil Miller, president of Group and Individual Benefits at Aflac

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