Health benefits and wealth benefits are converging in the workforce. Employers seek to curb rising healthcare costs without compromising their ability to attract and retain employees. Carriers and brokers look to minimize risk and seek a larger pool of participants in their plans. Then there are employees, who want to protect themselves and the families of their associates. According to a Gallup Poll, health care costs are the top financial problem among middle-income Americans. (Source: LifeHealthPRO)
The goals of the three constituents are not mutually exclusive. Voluntary benefits coupled with data-driven support tools can help employers, carriers/brokers and employees achieve their goals without compromising cost, coverage or risk.
Let’s take a look at three ways voluntary benefits can help protect employees and their families in addition to protecting the employer and carrier bottom lines.
1. Health Savings Account (HSA)
A health savings account (HSA) is offered with a high deductible health plan (HDHP). Unlike a flexible savings account (FSA), an HSA is yours to keep. If you don’t use it, you won’t lose it. You, and in some cases, your employer can fund a percentage of it as well.
Why choose an HSA?
HSAs can help reduce the financial impact of a healthcare deductible. This is especially a concern when you enroll in an HDHP. While the premiums in an HDHP can be lower than an HMO or PPO, you’re responsible for a larger portion of the doctor’s visit vs. a $40 or $50 co-pay. A typical visit to a general practitioner could cost as much as $200. The HSA allows you to use pre-tax dollars to create a fund from which you’ll draw to pay the deductible. Further, as your medical needs continue into retirement, you can use HSA funds to assist with other medical-related expenses.
2. Catastrophic illness and out-of-pocket expenses
This benefit is similar to life insurance. Thinking about the unthinkable possibility of death or a major illness is uncomfortable. Catastrophic illness is a benefit that brings piece of mind that you can still provide for your family; you won’t go bankrupt from medical costs. For example, the average cost to treat various cancers can run well into six figures. Not surprising, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical expenses (Himmelstein,, David U., MD, Deborah Thorne, PhD, Elizabeth Warren, JD, and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH. "Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study." The American Journal of Medicine (2009): n. pag. Web.)
Why choose catastrophic illness insurance?
Similar to the example above, if you have an HDHP, then catastrophic illness can help reduce your financial risk in the event of a major illness. However, even with an HMO or PPO, the costs associated with medical treatment for a catastrophic illness can represent a major concern for some employees, with just the 20 percent out-of-pocket expenses alone. Catastrophic illness can help cover the out-of-pocket expenses that medical insurance does not cover, such as lost personal income.
A supplemental disability policy can help make up the difference between your regular salary and wages and what your employer or state disability insurance will pay, should a medical condition require you to take time off from work.
Why choose disability insurance?
For obvious reasons, a supplemental disability policy will ensure that you can pay your bills while you’re out of work recuperating. What most people don’t realize is that it takes time to file the paperwork and receive payment. While you’re waiting, your bills continue to arrive. A supplemental policy typically pays immediately, bringing peace of mind that you won’t fall behind in your bills while waiting for payment.
From healthcare to wealthcare, Benefits are good.™… but a pain to manage.
When it comes to your health and wealth, the selections you make aren’t mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they’re becoming even more inextricably linked and often complex—complex for employees to choose and for employers to manage and administer. Benefits technology is simplifying the complexity by allowing employers and carriers to manage all types of benefits from a single platform—billing, payment, enrollment, even setting up a private exchange. This same technology is also helping employees understand the implications of their choices and making the selection process as easy as shopping online. The best part is that the benefits shopping experience is becoming more personal thanks to underlying “big data” and simplified software interface design—reviews, suggested products, costs, shopping carts and more—are helping employers, carriers, brokers and employees tackle cost, complexity and coverage.
There’s an easy way to provide voluntary benefits and protect health and wealth without all the hassles. Learn more from Benefitstore, Inc.