The number of employers offering voluntary benefits is on the rise. Many employers are choosing to offer products — such as critical illness and accident insurance — to help cover gaps in their high-deductible medical plans. Others believe a more comprehensive benefits package will aid employee recruitment and retention.

Even though voluntary benefits are becoming more widely available, many employees don’t sign up for coverage because they don’t fully understand how these products can protect their financial assets. One way to help make this connection is by focusing enrollment efforts on the protection these products provide to families, as voluntary products are designed to provide coverage for children, in addition to their working parents.

Voluntary benefits can provide crucial financial protection in the current era of high-deductible healthcare plans. Here’s how to help make the case at your next enrollment meeting:

Critical illness coverage: detail robust coverages for children
Most children make it to adulthood with nothing more serious than colds, cuts and scrapes, but parents can’t take good health for granted. Families affected by serious childhood illnesses or conditions can be caught off guard — both emotionally and financially.

Critical illness insurance can’t eliminate the emotional strain of having a sick baby or child, but this type of coverage can help relieve financial strains by providing a lump-sum cash payment upon diagnosis of a covered illness. The benefit can help cover medical-related expenses that aren’t covered by insurance, such as experimental treatment or medical deductibles, or address everyday bills such as mortgages, utilities or groceries.

When talking with employees, provide detail about the list of critical illnesses that are covered and make sure that you’re connecting employers with a plan that has a robust list of coverages. In addition, don’t forget to speak to millennials who may be planning to start families in the near future, as some plans automatically cover children at birth if they are born with certain diseases or conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida or cystic fibrosis.

Accident insurance: play up unique benefits for active families
Whether minor or catastrophic, accidents can happen to anyone. But not everyone is prepared to handle the costs associated with medical treatment and recovery following a child’s accidental injury.

Unfortunately, health insurance likely won’t cover all the costs that come with a broken bone or trip to the emergency room. Voluntary accident insurance coverage can prevent an accident or unexpected injury from turning into a financial crisis.

During your enrollment meetings, be sure to detail the carrier’s offerings and focus on coverage that includes payouts for children. When meeting with employees, also discuss potential risk factors that could make their children more vulnerable to accidents. For example, participation in organized youth sports may trigger a need for supplemental accident protection, as children’s participation in sports can lead to unexpected injuries — such as concussions or broken bones.

In addition to providing tangible examples of coverage, rely on decision support tools from your carrier to educate employees on the importance of protecting their families with critical illness and accident coverage. By taking the time to understand individual employees’ family situations, you can help them make decisions that will ensure they’ll be ready for unexpected moments.

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Danielle Lehman

Danielle Lehman

Lehman, product marketing manager III with Standard Insurance Company (The Standard), is responsible for the product strategy and development of the company’s supplemental product offerings.