By Reneé Watkins
While most health insurance policies provide excellent coverage over a wide range of scenarios, there are a number of illnesses for which the cost of treatment and recovery can far exceed what the typical insurance policy will cover.
For this reason, a growing insurance niche known as voluntary benefits is increasing in popularity. There are specific policies offered by employers and purchased by employees to cover cancer, for example. Other product offerings include “critical illness insurance” used to cover the cost of out-of-network specialists, non-medical expenses and even child care for employees suffering from chronic heart disease. Additional products can be purchased separately to assist in covering large copays and deductibles.
In addition to health-related products, there are also products available to protect individuals from losses due to “identity theft.” In fact, almost any scenario resulting in an unexpected, additional expense for the employee can be used to create a voluntary benefit policy.
These add-ons are appealing to both employers and employees alike. Employers can partner with some carriers to provide a large selection of voluntary benefit options to their employees, at no cost to the employer. Employees have the option of selecting only the voluntary benefits that interest them, or select none at all.
As health care costs continue to rise and employers turn to less expensive policies with higher deductibles and copayments, more employees are opting to purchase these supplemental policies to help pay these higher costs.