Before getting involved in employee benefits, I always thought that medical insurance was all that anyone needed. I was not aware of the value and importance of voluntary benefits above and beyond a basic medical plan.
Increasingly, employers are providing high deductible health plans to their employees. These health plans require employees and their families to satisfy large deductibles ranging from $1,000-$10,000 per year before the plan will start to pay for covered services. Many employees have the option to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to assist in meeting their deductibles. Although these savings accounts provide a great way to build up a reserve, not everyone is in the financial position to set aside that extra income from their pay checks.
People visit the doctor for many different reasons. Cold, flu, and minor aches and pains are types of doctor visits that you can often foresee and are somewhat easy to plan for financially. But what about the unexpected urgent care or emergency room visits? Most people cringe when they receive their urgent care or emergency room bill in the mail. This is where voluntary coverage, such as accident insurance, can come in handy. Accident coverage is insurance designed to pay a cash benefit to you to assist in paying your medical deductible and/or coinsurance amounts due to an accidental injury.
Looking back on many of my own life experiences, accident insurance would have been extremely beneficial. I am an avid softball player and a volleyball coach so sport-related accidents are no stranger to me. A few years ago, I was playing on a summer league when I dislocated my knee and was rushed to the emergency room. After all was said and done, I ended up receiving an MRI, an immobilizer knee brace, and a pair of crutches. You can imagine my reaction when that bill came in the mail. Had I had accident coverage at that time, I would have been able to submit a claim and received cash to help pay my bill.
This is one voluntary benefit that I strongly encourage employers to consider offering to their employees as part of their benefits package. Employees can feel at ease knowing they have this extra assistance in funding their accident related medical expenses.
Project Manager, Employee Benefits