If you’re in the employee benefits business — and I’m pretty sure you are or you wouldn’t be reading this — you know all about life and disability insurance. After major medical, they’re widely considered the two most important types of insurance protection America’s workers need. I’d be willing to bet you make sure all your clients offer these benefits to their employees.
And while life and disability are the foundation of financial protection benefits, they’re only two of the solutions you should have in your portfolio. Stopping there would be like trying to support yourself on a two-legged stool. To help your clients offer a truly well-balanced — and highly competitive — benefits program, you need to ensure they’re protecting their employees against “minor” as well as major health emergencies.
Accidents can be a major pain — in the wallet.
I use quotation marks around the word “minor” because accidental injuries can have a major impact on a worker’s financial future.
Even with the best major medical coverage, out-of-pocket costs for accidental injuries can add up quickly. An emergency room visit can cost several hundred dollars, according to CostHelper. Depending on the treatment, diagnostic tests and lab fees needed, the bill could total several thousand dollars. Accidents requiring follow-up treatment — removing a cast or physical therapy, for example — often involve additional costs for co-pays or coinsurance.
(Related: ACLI to Lobby for Supplemental Benefits)
And employees with high-deductible health plans will be responsible for many of those expenses before their medical plan kicks in. Those plans — which require deductibles of at least $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family — are increasingly popular as employers scramble for solutions to control rising benefits costs.
Don’t get me wrong: HDHPs are a good solution for employers struggling to keep premiums affordable for their workers. In fact, Mercer’s 2017 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans found that 46% of employers planned to take steps to reduce cost growth this year, such as offering lower-cost, high-deductible health plans.
The problem is HDHPs increase the potential financial exposure for employees. Milliman’s 2017 Medical Index found an average family has more than $4,500 in out-of-pocket medical costs each year. And more than half (55%) of Americans say they’ve received a medical bill and didn’t have money set aside to pay it, according to a 2017 Ipsos/Amino poll.
Accidents happen. A lot.