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Financially Protect Your Employees By Offering Voluntary Insurance

Providing health care coverage to eligible employees is a requirement for many employers under the Affordable Care Act. The intricacies (and expense) of complying with the requirements can be complex, but of course, the non-monetary advantages of providing your employees with health benefits—a happier, healthier workforce, higher productivity, more competitive recruiting—can make the time and energy spent by your benefits team well worth the effort. 

However, even though the stress and demand of providing basic health care coverage is already high for employers, you must ask yourself, what if one of my employees falls ill or has an accident that leaves him or her temporarily incapacitated? How will they protect or supplement their income while they recuperate, and what if their health insurance plan doesn't cover all of their medical costs? Sure, it may seem like the potential accidents that your employees have is out of your hands, but as a business owner, investing in your employees is one of the most strategic investments you can make in your company because the success of your business is contingent on their well-being.   

Offering voluntary insurance is one simple way to give your employees access to a financial "safety net" in the event that they suffer an accident or disability. The fact remains; health insurance costs are going nowhere but up, so your employees may need some extra financial protection that major medical insurance doesn’t provide. Voluntary insurance is one of the best solutions for these situations. As a bonus, overall benefit costs don’t increase for your group benefits plan. Voluntary insurance can alleviate the challenges your company faces with health care costs, and you’ll be able to protect valuable employees from the added monetary and emotional stress that comes with an accident that causes hospitalization or short-term disability. Just imagine, employees will be in a better position to pay for out-of-pocket costs that aren’t covered, which will make them less distracted by financial woes, keeping productivity at its best. 

Employees can benefit from voluntary insurance in several medical cases such as accidents, illness, hospitalization, or short-term disability. It can supplement their income, as well as cover additional medical costs. It helps employers:

  • Support their overall benefits package (or program)

  • Provide employees with additional benefits options

  • Provide employees with cash benefits for out-of-pocket medical costs

  • Provide relief of financial stress and anxiety so workers can focus and be more productive

Below are some of the various types of voluntary insurance options available to add to group employee benefits plans. Keep in mind that they can be customized to meet the needs of your business and your employees. 

Accident Insurance

For employees who are unable to work because of accident-related injuries, accident insurance can cover expenses not covered by major medical plans. The insured can receive a cash benefit for bills and personal expenses until they are able to return to work.

What it covers:

  • Treatments for X-rays, diagnostic exams, physical therapy, and follow-up treatment

  • Ambulance and air transportation to a hospital

  • Hospital confinement due to injuries sustained in a covered accident

  • Optional accidental death benefit rider

Cancer Insurance

Treatments for cancer can be very costly, creating stress not only from the pain and discomfort from the medical treatment, but also from the financial stress of medical and personal bills. If an employee has been diagnosed with cancer, cancer insurance could provide them with cash benefits that can cover their living expenses. Unfortunately, the impact of cancer on American citizens is catastrophic. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.6 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2016. The number of Americans impacted by cancer—either directly or indirectly through the diagnosis of a family member—is startling. With no cost to your business, you can give your employees the option to purchase voluntary cancer insurance to help them with the astronomical costs associated with cancer treatment.     

What it covers: 

  • Income loss due to hospitalization or inability to work

  • Travel expenses to cancer treatment center

  • Cancer treatment, trial procedures or experimental treatments

  • Home care and household bills

Hospitality Indemnity Insurance

For employees who are hospitalized, medical insurance will not normally cover the entire cost of the stay. Hospital indemnity insurance can cover the out of pocket costs for a hospital stay. According to the Healthcare Cost Institute, the average out-of-pocket cost of a hospital stay in 2013 was $800 per person, and since health care costs, in general, are trending up, I wouldn't be surprised to see this number much higher once 2016 statistics are released.    

What it covers: 

  • Hospitalization

  • Diagnostic procedures

  • Outpatient surgery

  • Ambulance Transportation 

Short-Term Disability Insurance

In the event that an employee’s temporary injury or illness prevents him or her from returning to work immediately, a short-term disability insurance plan will help to replace a percentage of their income for a short and specified time period, sometimes up to a year. 

What it covers: 

  • Rent

  • Groceries

  • Car payments

  • Cell phone bills 

While there are obviously many things to consider for your company's health benefits, consider making voluntary insurance your next order of business. Your employees will be healthier, happier, and more productive. 

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Andrew Grove

Andrew Grove is Executive Vice President of Sales & Account Management for the Employee Benefits Consulting division. He leads several aspects of the division, including the management of the sales team and its resources. Andrew is a Licensed Health Insurance Counselor as well as a Licensed General Lines Agent—Life, Accident, Health, and HMO, and he has received numerous training certifications and awards.

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