Simple ways to help protect employees against unexpected medical insurance costs

3 minute read

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Health care reform protects your employees
from runaway health care costs with government-regulated limits, right? The
answer is yes, but with a surprising caveat: Out-of-pocket limits are
restricted to only those costs for essential health benefits covered under an
individual’s health plan.1 That means patients can rack up bills for
procedures, treatments or prescriptions not covered under their plan or outside
their network. These costs won’t count toward their out-of-pocket limit but
will directly affect their wallets.

A few simple tips can help you prepare your
employees for and protect against unexpected medical bills.

1. Educate your employees about unexpected
medical bills by explaining:

  • “Covered” doesn’t mean “paid in full.” In insurance
    lingo, it actually means that deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for the
    procedure will count toward their out-of-pocket limit.

    ·      

  • Incremental health insurance costs may incur
    throughout the year, not just up front.
    Forty-six percent of workers say the amount of
    monthly premium or the coinsurance they have to pay for health care services is
    the most important factor when choosing their major medical insurance each
    year.2 That’s why having voluntary insurance can be essential to
    helping many employees pay for unexpected costs. And voluntary insurance pays
    even if a procedure isn’t covered under an individual’s major medical plan.

2. Voluntary insurance is a perfect complement. Many employees focus
on the upfront cost of having health insurance instead of the incremental costs
they may incur throughout the year. In fact, 46 percent say the amount of
monthly premium or the coinsurance they have to pay for health care services is
the most important factor when choosing their major medical insurance each
year.2 So that’s why having voluntary insurance can be essential to
helping many employees pay for unexpected costs.

Voluntary insurance works
hand in hand with major medical plans to help make sure individuals who are
sick or hurt have the funds they need to pay health-related costs their primary
insurance might not cover, such as daily living expenses, like bills and
groceries, as well as medical deductibles and insurance copayments, expenses
major medical insurance isn’t designed to pay for. The important part is that
voluntary insurance pays even if a procedure isn’t covered under an
individual’s major medical plan.

3. Are employees interested in purchasing voluntary? Here are just a
few statistics that point to a resounding yes:3

  • Overall, 88 percent
    of employees at least somewhat agree they consider voluntary as part of a
    comprehensive benefits package.
  • 64 percent of
    employees see a growing need for voluntary.
  • Among employees
    who aren’t offered voluntary at work, 70 percent of them say if their employers
    offered the benefits options, they would be at least somewhat likely to
    purchase them; 28 percent of workers are very or extremely likely to purchase
    them.

As the saying goes, “An
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Taking steps now can help
employees prevent high out-of-pocket costs not covered under their health plan
and to be prepared when, and if, they do have unexpected medical costs.

To learn more, see the out-of-pocket
limits fact sheet
.

1 Under nongrandfathered
health plans

2 2015 Open Enrollment Survey, conducted by Lightspeed GMI from June
23 – July 2, 2015, among 2,000 adults ages 18 and older who are employed full
or part time at a company with three or more employees.

3 The 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report is the fifth annual Aflac
employee benefits study examining benefit trends and attitudes. The study,
conducted in January 2015 by Research Now, captured responses from 1,977
benefits decision-makers and 5,337 employees from across the United States, at
companies with at least three employees. To learn more about the Aflac WorkForces
Report, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com.