Young adults (Photo: Thinkstock)

How many times have you heard the term “millennial” in the last five years? Probably more than you can count. Often, millennials are the topic of conversation because of their purchasing power. As the largest living generation by population size (79.8 million in 2016), millennials will continue to be major influencers in the marketplace, but what they’re purchasing may soon change.

Often thought of as the youngest generation in the workplace, millennials were targeted in the past with retirement planning and the idea to start saving early. However, many millennials have grown up and are now becoming parents, which means more products are applicable for them. In fact, millennial women accounted for about 8 in 10 (82%) U.S. births in 2015.

With more millennials becoming parents, there is a greater concern about the gaps they have in medical coverage due to employer-sponsored high-deductible health plans. You can help your clients’ millennial employees address these gaps and reduce their out-of-pocket expenses — for them and their children — with voluntary insurance.

(Related: 3 Ways to Hire, Work With Millennials in 2018)

Here are a few ways you can communicate the benefits of voluntary insurance, which not only provide coverage for working parents but also for their children.

1. Accident insurance: Cover the unexpected

The definition of “accident” includes terms like “unexpected” and “unintentional.” Accidents can’t be predicted and can happen to anyone, yet not everyone is prepared to handle the costs associated with medical treatment and recovery following an accidental injury.

Research collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows recreational activities, including sports, account for an estimated 3.2 million visits to emergency rooms each year for children aged 5 to 14 years. For parents with children participating in sports, accident insurance could help reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses for trips to the emergency room or urgent care caused by unexpected accidents.

Additionally, there are carriers that cover transportation and lodging expenses for injuries sustained in a covered accident occurring more than 100 miles from home. Since accidents don’t always happen close to home, these benefits can provide employees with peace of mind knowing that they will have some coverage for those additional expenses of traveling to be with their child while he or she is recovering.

2. Critical illness: Help relieve financial burden

Colds, cuts and scrapes are common for children, but, unfortunately, some will face more serious illnesses or conditions before they make it to adulthood. Those illnesses or conditions can catch families off guard — both emotionally and financially.

As you discuss critical illness coverage with your clients’ millennial employees, it can be useful to offer a detailed list of critical illnesses that are covered to help provide tangible examples. It also can be important to note the critical illness coverage can help cover medical-related expenses, such as experimental treatment or medical deductibles, that may otherwise be covered out of pocket with a high-deductible health plan.

Millennials who are considering starting a family may be interested to know that some plans automatically cover children at birth if they are born with certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida or cystic fibrosis. This coverage can often be included at no additional cost to the employee.

3. Connect the dots: Coverage can help protect the family

Additional financial protection in the case of an unexpected or catastrophic event is more than just about the money. It means that even with lost income, children can stay in daycare or continue their extracurricular activities. To help make the need for voluntary insurance realistic for millennial parents, it can be helpful to use decision support tools combined with real-life scenarios of how benefits are paid.

Interactive decision support tools help employees understand the need for certain coverages by providing employees with a personalized experience or recommendation. These decision support tools communicate the need for these products in short videos or claims examples.

For instance, a claims example about an accident insurance product could use a child’s sports injury to highlight what benefits an employee would receive. The example would provide information on the type of expenses incurred — deductibles, coinsurance, travel expenses — and then provide the actual dollar amount paid under the accident plan. Decision support tools often have a variety of scenarios for employees to select from based upon their own personal concerns or situation. This type of education can help highlight the importance of accident and critical illness coverage for millennials who may have previously devalued voluntary benefits.

By using this information to communicate to clients about voluntary insurance, you can help them protect their employees and their families. Overall, it’s important to highlight how voluntary insurance can help prevent unexpected life events from turning into a financial crisis. And, as an added benefit, most voluntary insurance benefits are portable, so no matter where life takes millennials next, their coverage will remain in effect for the employee, their spouse and dependent children.

— Read Millennial Homeownership on the Rise on ThinkAdvisor.


Danielle Lehman Danielle Lehman

Danielle Lehman is senior voluntary product manager at The Standard. She has developed products for the life, disability, critical illness, accident and hospital indemnity voluntary benefits markets.