Choosing employee benefits during annual enrollment is often one of the most important financial decisions you make each year.
If your company is like most, it offers benefits to protect you and your family physically, emotionally, and financially.
In fact, 9 out of 10 employers in a Dynata survey on behalf of Colonial Life and Unum said they have no plans to eliminate or reduce employer-paid insurance benefits.
Some employers even plan to boost comprehensive coverage, increasing benefit options or adding telehealth coverage.
Before you enroll, understand your needs and the different coverages available, especially supplemental benefits you can usually pay for through payroll deduction.
Supplemental Benefits Add Coverage and Financial Protection
Supplemental benefits allow you to customize your benefits package with coverage most important to you and your family.
Because you sign up through work, it’s usually more affordable than buying coverage on your own.
It can also be easier to qualify for coverage as part of a workplace group, often without answering any health questions.
The major types of supplemental benefits include:
- Life insurance provides financial protection for your family should anything happen to you. It can help loved ones pay for living expenses, debts, medical bills and funeral costs in addition to future needs such as college tuition or retirement. Even if your employer provides life insurance, it may not be enough for your family’s long-term needs.
- Disability insurance is designed to pay a portion of your income if you’re sick or injured and unable to work. It can be offered as short-term – typically 3-6 months – or long-term coverage that can last several years or until retirement.
- Dental insurance helps reduce out-of-pocket costs for common dental procedures like cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, oral surgery, orthodontia and other treatments.
- Vision insurance helps cover costs for exams, glasses and contact lenses, and may include access to discounted materials and services through a network of vision service providers.
- Accident insurance offers a lump sum financial benefit if you have an accident or injury. It helps pay out-of-pocket expenses such as doctor bills, co-pays or emergency room fees.
- Hospital insurance helps pay for hospital stays and, on some plans, outpatient surgery and diagnostic procedures.
- Critical illness insurance provides a lump sum financial benefit if you’re diagnosed with conditions such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, organ failure, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and more.
- Cancer insurance provides more specific coverage for the costs of treating cancer. It can also provide additional benefits for treatments and services such as ambulance transportation, hospital confinement, radiation, chemotherapy, medications, and surgery.
Why You Might Need Supplemental Benefits
Even the best medical insurance likely won’t cover all your out-of-pocket costs for illnesses and injuries.
The average health care deductible for single coverage was nearly $1,500 last year and almost double for family coverage, according to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.
Add in co-pays, coinsurance and other non-covered costs and an average family may have more than $4,700 in out-of-pocket medical costs each year not counting health insurance premiums.
Supplemental benefits can help bridge the financial gap.
You can use your benefits for uncovered medical costs such as deductibles and copayments or nonmedical expenses such as travel for treatment or child care during recovery.
You also don’t have to be sick or injured to take advantage of some supplemental coverage.
Many plans include a wellness benefit that can pay a set amount for preventive screenings or diagnostic tests.
Visit unum.com/enrollment to learn more about common insurance benefits.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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