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Deductibles Shift Drives Interest in Critical Illness Cover

If you want to provide your employees with the one voluntary benefit that can give them peace of mind should tragedy strike, critical illness coverage is the answer.

Demand has grown for critical illness insurance over the last year thanks to the pandemic and as a result of employees taking on more of the cost burden in their employer-sponsored health plans.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “20120 Employer Health Benefits Survey,” the average deductible for self-only plans of all types was $1,644 in 2020, up from $917 a decade earlier.  And many employees have deductibles upwards of $6,000 if they are in certain high-deductible health plans, which have become increasingly common.

As a result, many employers have begun enhancing their voluntary benefits offerings to include critical illness or cancer coverage to help offset the risk for employees and increase satisfaction and retention.

Interest grows

In part, employee interest in critical illness insurance stems from the chain of events that may have cut back their benefits and caused their deductibles to skyrocket. They are looking for peace of mind should they be stricken by a serious illness.

In addition, advances in medicine and technology that have prolonged life also make critical illness coverage more attractive. 

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic put into sharp focus just how quickly someone can be sidelined by a sudden and serious illness.

Consider that out-of-pocket costs for treating a critical illness can start at around $15,000 and climb from there, and that lost income can be as much as $60,600, according to a 2020 MetLife study.

In other words, battling a critical illness could be just the tip of the iceberg. If someone’s lucky enough to survive a critical illness, they may still suffer major financial damage due to high medical bills and restricted income. 

To stave off debt, some people dip into, or deplete, their retirement savings and end up paying extra due to resulting taxes, fees and reduced health insurance subsidies. 

However, other adults don’t even have enough, or near enough, of a nest egg saved to cover all the costs.

Enter critical illness coverage

Critical illness coverage provides a lump-sum payment that a policyholder can use for any expense if they’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness. 

Mostly, this insurance only pays out for one occurrence of a listed condition. And once that payment is made, the policy is terminated.

But insurers have started offering policies that cover a wider variety of conditions and allow beneficiaries to receive multiple payouts if they suffer from a reoccurrence or another condition entirely.

As a result, more employers are offering voluntary critical illness coverage. According to Mercer’s “2020 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans,” more organizations are offering this insurance in a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Willis Towers Watson’s “2021 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey” found that 57% of employers polled were offering critical illness coverage to their staff in 2021, and that 75% were planning to offer it by 2022 or beyond. That’s an increase of nearly one-third. 

Often offering this coverage costs the employer nothing or very little. Call us for more information on this valuable benefit that more workers are demanding.

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