When we shop for important things such as cars, appliances, and electronics there is a natural tendency to stay with what we know from past experiences and buy the same brand and model. It is a safe, dependable decision that we can feel good about. When it comes to insurance plans, many people have the same decision-making process and want to stick with “something and someone I know”. Again, a safe decision but maybe not the right one as we move ahead in the new work of benefits. The Affordable Care Act has changed the way we think of all our insurance plans, not just medical.
In order to maintain a proper balance of risk versus protection of their assets such as their health, people need to look at new benefit options. Cancer, accident, and critical illness insurance plans are just a few examples of benefits people should be looking at as their health insurance deductibles increase as a way to self-insure themselves in the event a health incident impacts them. The best way to access them? Through their employer. Most employers today offer options and employees may not have given them much thought, and those that do not are probably going to in the very near future. Employers like the products because it gives additional choices as well as easy access to pay for them through payroll deduction. The plans are normally tax-advantaged as well, meaning the premiums may be available on a pre-tax basis and/or the benefits payable not subject to income tax.
Many traditional insurance companies are now entering the voluntary benefits market in addition to those most people are familiar with (Aflac, Colonial, and Allstate are good examples of companies that have been in this market for many years), and can be purchased at the same time as medical, dental, and life insurance.