Help Your Group Health Clients Keep Their Workers’ Hearts Healthy
By Simon Milazzo
February is Heart Health Awareness Month, but the prevalence of heart issues is something brokers should be prepared to advise employers on year-round.
Cardiovascular claims continue to top the charts as one of the most likely illnesses to put people out of work. In fact, according to a recent study by Unum, nearly 30 percent of those surveyed experienced a cardiac event within the past five years, and nearly 60 percent of those people missed work because of it. While the majority was out for less than a month, more than 25 percent were out of work for up to four months.
And when employees are out of work, your clients are forced to consider potential impacts to productivity, employee satisfaction and retention. Not only that, but employees without the right coverage are susceptible to financial risks during an already challenging time in their lives. That’s why it’s in the best interest of both clients and their employees to consider plans that can fill the widening gap between covered conditions and out-of-pocket costs, particularly as high-deductible plans become more commonplace and as medical premiums skyrocket.
As you consider contract reviews and proposals for your clients, be on the lookout for the right suite of benefits to protect their workforce. Some products and services to consider are:
Another misperception about disability insurance is that it costs too much, and this misperception prevents more than a third of workers from enrolling. In fact, the average daily cost for long-term disability coverage, for example, is much less than that of a daily cup of coffee.
Hospital Indemnity Insurance
Hospital indemnity insurance can provide a lump-sum benefit for hospitalization.
Even health care plans with good coverage can leave a worker in dire straits should they have a hospital stay that incurs out-of-pocket costs - and what hospital stay doesn’t? Medical bills are the cause of most bankruptcies, and with the high-deductible plans that are becoming increasingly common, it follows that the trend will continue.
Preventing heart disease before it occurs, or minimizing the severity of an incident, is a benefit to all concerned, and studies show that workplace wellness programs have a positive effect on worker health. Coverage of screenings and tests designed to catch problems early, or prevent them altogether, is a product offering that more than pays for itself. Employers should be on the lookout for carriers who provide a wellness benefit as part of their package.
An organization whose benefit package includes wellness and prevention, coverage of unexpected costs, and security for those who may be out of the workforce for a time because of injury or illness, offers their employees something truly invaluable - peace of mind. And that’s something that any customer can take heart in.
Simon Milazzo is a product manager for voluntary benefits on Unum’s Offering Development team. Simon may be contacted at [email protected].