shutterstock_247411303-700x467We talk a lot about the need for adequate health insurance to help your employees feel more secure and worry less about their ability to pay for medical expenses. But did you know that even those who do have insurance often struggle with paying medical bills?

According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the New York Times, one in five Americans with health insurance has had to make changes to their lifestyle due to medical debt (compared to 53 percent without insurance). And of those facing medical debt, both with and without coverage, roughly the same number (44 and 45 percent, respectively) say that burden has had a major impact on their daily lives.

Seventy-seven percent put off vacations or major purchases. Seventy-five percent had to reduce their spending on food, clothes, and other basic necessities. Sixty-three percent exhausted most or all of their savings. Forty-two percent had to work more hours or even get a second job to pay their medical bills.

It’s easy to think that the health insurance you offer should be able to cover those costs and prevent these situations from happening. But in reality there are still copays, deductibles, and pricey treatments that might not be covered. Not to mention, in the event of a serious illness or injury, employees might also incur additional costs like travel expenses and lost income.

Add to that the fact that employees are bringing home less money than they did in the past, due in part to the rising cost of health care benefits that’s been shifted to workers. Premiums are going up, and so are deductibles which have increased six times faster than employees’ salaries since 2010.

As an employer, is there anything you can do to help keep your workers out of a bad financial situation as a result of medical expenses?

We’re glad you asked.

One of the simplest things you can do, in addition to the health insurance you’re already offering, is to add voluntary, or supplemental, insurance options to the mix. These policies help employees better fill in the gaps left by traditional health insurance alone. And 64 percent of employees in a recent survey said they’re more needed now than ever before.

Perhaps the best news is that there’s virtually no cost to you for adding voluntary products to your benefits offerings, since the premiums are paid by the employees themselves. So, rather than funding these much-needed coverages, you’re merely making them available to your employees who didn’t have affordable access to them before. It’s a win-win!

To talk more about the types of voluntary products you can offer to your employees, give us a call. We’d love to help your employees focus more on their work and less on making ends meet.