Voya Financial, announced today that it has enhanced its critical illness insurance offering to help employers meet the evolving financial wellness needs of their employees.
The enhancements come at a time when, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns of getting sick and possibly being out of work or incurring unexpected medical costs have become a focus for American workers — and they are increasingly looking to their employer for solutions, Voya said in a news release.
Voya’s critical illness insurance pays a lump-sum benefit upon the diagnosis of a covered illness or condition, such as a heart attack, cancer or stroke. This benefit can be used for out-of-pocket medical costs, as well as household expenses like paying rent, utilities or mortgage. Voya has now made the following enhancements available on its critical illness insurance offering:
- Absence from Employment Premium Waiver – This benefit enables an employee who is on an employer-approved leave of absence such as Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), furlough, temporary layoff, material work schedule change, and/or quarantine to have their premiums, including premiums for riders, waived for a specified period of time. For many employees, time away from work means less income — which can lead to difficult choices, such as whether or not to continue paying for supplemental insurance coverage. The absence from employment premium waiver, which is an optional benefit that is chosen by the employer for an additional cost, can help lessen this burden for their employees.
- Infectious Disease Benefit – While COVID-19 has always been a covered infectious disease benefit, to help avoid any confusion for our customers and better address their financial wellness needs, the critical illness insurance product offered by Voya now specifically names COVID-19 on its list of covered severe infectious diseases. The pandemic has changed day-to-day life for just about everyone, and the infectious disease benefit is designed to ease employee stress and help an individual effectively care for themselves or a family member if they become seriously ill. To qualify for this benefit, the covered individual would need to be diagnosed with a severe infectious disease by a doctor and confined to a hospital for a specified period of time, which is standardly five or more consecutive days.
New Voya research shows 81% of employees are interested in employer support that would help improve their overall financial wellness, and 75% of working Americans want help navigating an unexpected life event such as a critical illness.1
“The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the convergence of health and wealth, and the value workplace benefits can provide in helping employers better prepare their employees for unexpected life events,” explained Rob Grubka, CEO of Health Solutions for Voya Financial. “For example, prior to the global pandemic, an infectious disease benefit, while available, was not always top of mind for employers and brokers. Now, it has become a common discussion point with our customers, and we want to ensure it’s clear that our infectious disease benefit includes COVID-19, which is a severe infectious disease that Voya has been covering since the pandemic first started.”
“Voya’s enhanced critical illness insurance offering allows a covered individual to focus on what matters most — their recovery,” added Grubka. “Plus, the absence from employment premium waiver is a differentiator in the market as this benefit provides additional financial relief to employees who might need to leave work for a period of time to care for a loved one who suffers a critical illness. It allows them to not worry about having to make premium payments while on an employer-approved leave of absence, while also keeping their critical illness coverage active.”
Caregivers of people with special needs and disabilities regularly incur significant out-of-pocket expenses, and unexpected medical costs and potential insurance gaps can drastically affect their overall financial wellness. In a survey conducted by Voya Cares® — a program that underscores Voya’s commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities and special needs — nearly half of caregiving employees (47%) report living paycheck to paycheck and are barely getting by financially, compared to 3 in 10 general population employees.2 The pandemic has not made these financial challenges any easier. Voya research reveals 1 in 5 of caregivers (21%) report an increased difficulty in meeting the financial needs related to providing special care for themselves and/or their family due to COVID-19.3
“When caregivers are faced with an unexpected situation, the added emotional and financial challenges can be overwhelming,” said Jessica Tuman, vice president of the Voya Cares® Center of Excellence at Voya Financial. “Voya provides support and guidance through our Voya Cares program, in addition to offering valuable workplace benefits like critical illness insurance, to help employees address both their own and their families’ complex health and wealth needs when circumstances change. At Voya, we are committed to providing solutions and services to help all Americans achieve the quality of life they seek today and through retirement.”
Voya’s supplemental insurance solutions — including the enhanced critical illness insurance product — are offered through the workplace as “voluntary” or employee-selected coverage that is processed and administered similarly to traditional group insurance. Employers may choose to: fund the plan for their employees; offer it as an option employees can purchase through their workplace benefits; or create a combined option in which the employer pays a portion of the benefit and the employee can purchase additional coverage.
As an industry leader focused on the delivery of health, wealth and investment solutions to and through the workplace, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its mission to make a secure financial future possible for all Americans — one person, one family, one institution at a time.
1) Based on the results of a Voya Financial survey conducted June 3-4, 2021, on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,005 adults aged 18+ in the U.S.
2) “For the Benefit of All: How Organizations Win When They Recognize and Support Caregivers and Employees with Disabilities,” Voya Cares, May 2019.
3) Caregiving and special needs in the time of COVID-19, Voya Financial, results based on AYTM COVID-19 Consumer Tracker conducted via online survey among 1,000 adults. The sample includes 252 adults who are part of the special needs community, which is defined as an individual with a special need or disability or a parent/caregiver of a person with a special need or disability. The research was conducted May 6-7, 2020.