You have health insurance, right? So what’s that heavy weight you feel?
It’s probably the increasing burden of health care expenses you’re shouldering. The cost for a family of four covered by a typical employer-sponsored health plan was $10,473 last year, according to the Milliman Medical Index.
And this would include your premiums. On average, about 40% of your load is out-of-pocket expenses: the part you must pay before your insurance kicks in or what your insurance won’t cover. Think deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance. In addition to that, you may also face nonmedical expenses, such as child care, special equipment, travel to treatment or lost income caused by time away from work.
Unfortunately, most experts think costs will continue to rise.
But, there’s some good news. You may be able to better manage your out-of-pocket expenses with voluntary insurance coverage available at work.
“Voluntary insurance is coverage beyond what your major medical plan offers,” explains Kathy O’Brien, vice president of voluntary benefits at Unum. “It’s designed to supplement your medical plan by helping to cover out-of-pocket expenses that can really put a strain on your family’s financial security.”
Common types of voluntary insurance include disability, life, accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity insurance. Never heard of that last one? It basically pays a lump sum to help cover hospital stays, outpatient surgery, diagnostic tests, doctor appointments and emergency room visits.
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Depending on the type of coverage you buy, you could receive benefits when, for example, you have an accident that keeps you out of work, you break your arm, are diagnosed with cancer, suffer a stroke or have an x-ray. Most voluntary insurance pays a set amount when the covered events happen and don’t depend on what your bills are or what other insurance you have. The money is paid directly you so you can use it however you need – for medical bills or even to buy gas and groceries.
You pick the type of coverage that makes the most sense for you and your family’s needs, and pay for it yourself, O’Brien said. “Because the coverage is offered to everyone in your workplace, it’s more affordable and easier to qualify for than buying your own plan on the open market.”
If your employer doesn’t offer these kinds of benefits, you can ask them to. With employees paying for the coverage themselves, there’s no direct to cost to your employers. It’s a win-win.
And maybe it will help take some of that load off your shoulders.