Would it surprise you to learn that more than half of all U.S. workers don’t know what type of coverage their group health insurance provides for serious illnesses?
It shouldn’t. Insurance agents and employers often say that many employees don’t realize what their group health insurance covers until they actually experience a serious illness, such as a heart attack or cancer. Recent Harris Interactive surveys illustrate just how true this is.
51 percent of employees surveyed say they don’t have a clear understanding of what their health insurance covers for cancer-related treatment. When asked if their health insurance would cover most expenses if they or a family member were diagnosed with cancer, 40 percent say they don’t know.
84 percent of employees surveyed say they’re concerned that they or someone in their family will be diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, or another serious illness in the future. As a result, 71 percent of employees are interested in buying personal insurance products at work to help cover expenses for cancer or other serious illnesses that their health insurance may not pay for.
People with serious illnesses today may survive longer because of advances in medical technology and prevention. On the flip side, however, these same people usually have longer recovery times and more expensive treatment. Imagine the strain on a family’s budget if the primary wage earner can’t work while recovering from a heart attack or undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In addition to out-of-pocket medical expenses, the bills for the house payment, electricity, and groceries keep coming in.
Even if your clients offer comprehensive health insurance to their employees, their plan may not cover all the medical expenses. It also probably won’t cover nonmedical expenses, such as lost income, mortgage payments, rehabilitation, home health care, child care, and travel expenses to and from treatment centers. An employee who has a heart attack or stroke, for example, can face very expensive treatment that leads to bills that health insurance doesn’t cover. They may also want the choice of going out-of-network for treatment.