Go with the group or go it alone? Understanding the difference between group and individual insurance coverage

2 minute read

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We all need to be alone sometimes, but it’s often hard to escape
the throng. After all, our days are filled with work activities, shopping in
crowded stores, and the hustle and bustle of family time.

The “group vs. alone” conundrum also comes into play when it
comes to insurance: Sometimes it’s smart for employers to make group insurance
available to employees, while at other times it’s best for them to provide
individual coverage options.

Most employer-paid health insurance benefits options, including
major medical coverage, fall into the category of “the more the merrier,” with
employees enrolling in group plans. But when it comes to voluntary insurance,
both group and individual plans have distinct advantages, and employers can
choose to provide workers with access to one or the other — or even both.

One way today’s companies are keeping expenses under control
while providing employees with the health care options they want is by making
voluntary insurance available, including critical illness, short-term
disability, accident, dental and life insurance plans. These options give
employees the freedom to select coverage that suits their particular needs and
life stages and, at the same time, allow businesses to differentiate their
benefits plans from those of rival companies. After all, voluntary insurance
can be a powerful tool when it comes to attracting and retaining a talented
workforce.

The advantages of voluntary benefits options are clear, but it’s
up to employers to decide what type of coverage they’ll make available to
workers:

Facts about individual plans:

  • They may offer coverage options without needing applicants to answer health-related questions and may not have a maximum issue age after the age of 18 absent of age requirements or other such factors.
  • Coverage is generally not guaranteed-issue
    and may feature more strenuous underwriting.
  • The policy belongs to the insured and is
    portable, meaning it remains in effect if the employee changes jobs or retires,
    as long as premiums are paid.

Facts about group plans:

They may
offer coverage options without needing applicants to answer health-related
questions and are absent of age requirements or other such factors.

Coverage may be guaranteed-issue, with
fewer underwriting stipulations, although participation requirements must be
met.

Coverage is portable, but with certain
limitations. If the employer cancels the group’s master policy, the employees’
coverage may be terminated.

Learn more about the differences between individual and group
voluntary insurance — and make informed decisions about which to make available
to employees — with Aflac’s handy guide.