Many employees put off getting the care they need due to concerns about out-of-pocket costs. According to a recent consumer survey conducted by OnePoll for MDLIVE, 39% of Americans said prioritizing their health care would be too expensive or force them to dip into money earmarked for other things. Another 47% admitted to putting off health care routines because they're too busy. Delaying care can result in further health complications over time, ultimately increasing costs for employees and their employers.
Creating a safety net for employees
A serious illness or injury can cause immense stress and anxiety. According to KFF, half of U.S. adults are unable to pay an unexpected $500 medical bill in full. And with a record number of people delaying medical care due to cost concerns (38% of Americans), employers have the opportunity to create a safety net with supplemental health solutions — helping employees avoid overwhelming health and financial burdens now and down the line.
Without a safety net, these moments of need translate to reduced employee well-being and financial distress. As one patient who had experienced a serious medical event said, "You lose control. You don't know what to expect. It's scary because it's almost like a new chapter in my life. It's really hard to focus and understand the magnitude of what's happening at that time."
Cigna Healthcare research found that 75% of workers said that having a supplemental plan provided peace of mind during an unexpected health event, and 72% said that supplemental benefits made unexpected health events more affordable. But your employees may not realize that they can tap into these benefits in different ways to alleviate stress and financial strain during times of need.
By offering and encouraging the use of supplemental health solutions that support holistic health — such as dental, vision, critical illness, hospital care, and accidental injury benefits — employers can create a culture of health that empowers employees to take charge of their complete well-being.
Supporting unique employee needs
Without question, it's a challenge to meet the diverse needs and expectations of the unprecedented five generations represented in the workforce while addressing social determinants of health. Employers can effectively appeal to a diverse and multigenerational workforce by offering supplemental health solutions that cater to health and financial needs across different age groups.
For example, younger employees expecting the birth of a child may value newborn benefits, which help minimize financial burdens during this happy time in their life. With Cigna Healthcare's hospital care insurance, an employee may choose to use the extra money to help with childcare costs or for help around the house.
On the other hand, employees diagnosed with a serious illness, such as diabetes, may appreciate the sense of control they get from the additional financial protection as they learn to live with their condition. That may mean using the cash they receive from their critical illness insurance to help pay for out-of-pocket costs or travel to see a specialist.
Employers can further enhance their culture and diversify their support for employees by incorporating digital-first wellness programs, preventive care initiatives, and mental health support into their supplemental offerings. With a holistic and integrated approach to benefits, employees of all ages and backgrounds can thrive, improving health outcomes, fostering a healthier and more productive workforce, and reducing costs in the long run.
Integration reduces complexity
Employees often purchase supplemental benefits but forget about them. If these benefits go unused, employers and employees will continue to struggle to achieve the peace of mind that comes with supplemental coverage. The key to maximizing the value of these benefits is ensuring employees understand them and will use them in moments of need.
This is where an integrated approach is critical. Integration should create a seamless experience for employees, enabling them to take advantage of the benefits they've purchased. At Cigna Healthcare, we connect our supplemental health solutions with Cigna Simple File to drive awareness, utilization, and convenience for employers and employees by automatically comparing medical claims and sending employees reminders to file eligible supplemental health claims. In addition to making it easy for employees and their families to get the maximum benefits they deserve, this approach promotes proactive care and wellness by automatically submitting and sending payment directly to the employee for qualifying wellness incentive claims for preventive visits.
Mitigate unexpected health care costs
As we’ve learned over the last few years, things can change quickly and unexpectedly. For employers, unexpected and high-cost health events are inevitable, but with supplemental health solutions, they can make these events more affordable for their employees and their business. At the same time, a connected approach that integrates medical and supplemental benefits will enable employers to support and grow a diverse workforce by creating an environment where everyone can thrive.
To explore how we can help you craft a supplemental health solution that fits your employees' holistic needs — and reduces costs for your bottom line — contact your Cigna Healthcare representative or broker today.
Your New Growth Plan: A happy, healthy workforce
By investing in personalized health care, employers can help close gaps in care, improve employee health outcomes, and growth for their business.