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Jul 7, 2023
Can supplemental health coverage help employers secure top talent?
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Quick Take

  • Financial wellness is a top workforce concern.
  • Supplemental health plans can provide financial protection during a serious health event.
  • Cigna Healthcare Supplemental Health Solutions cover costly health conditions that affect all generations of workers.

The financial burden of a serious injury or critical illness can easily throw a person’s life into disarray, at home and at work. Fortunately, a growing number of employers recognize the importance of supplemental health plans to help offset those costs, as well as alleviate related stress and anxiety.

In fact, supplemental health plans are a critical factor in an employer’s ability to attract and retain qualified employees. In a recent survey, 3 in 4 employees identified these and other voluntary benefits as a key reason to work for and stay with an employer.

“More and more employees want the peace of mind that comes with having supplemental health benefits when a serious health event occurs,” said Marc Jeffreys, president of Supplemental Health Solutions at Cigna Healthcare. “Offering these benefits enables employers to support their workers’ financial vitality in addition to their physical and emotional health.”

Fostering vitality during the unexpected

Roughly one-fifth of employees who experience a serious health event needed to take time off of work, according to a recent Ipsos survey, which was commissioned by Cigna Healthcare. Many of those who remain on the job are extremely stressed and have trouble concentrating on their work. In fact, the same survey found that nearly one-third of employees reported that the health event had a negative impact on their work and career advancement.

“Including supplemental health coverage as a core component of a comprehensive benefits package can help stave off these productivity issues by improving employee health and, again, providing financial and emotional peace of mind,” Jeffreys said.

Jeffreys added that offering supplemental health plans signals that an employer cares for its workforce and recognizes employees’ health and wellness needs. “These plans help boost employee job satisfaction, in addition to driving better health outcomes and alleviating stress. All of these elements contribute to enhancing workforce vitality.”

Supplemental health benefits give employees financial peace of mind

Financial wellness is a top concern among employees today. A serious injury or health condition can be a devastating burden. Nearly half of U.S. adults are unable to pay an unexpected $500 medical bill unless they borrow money, and nearly one-fifth of adults with health-care-related debt say they will never be able to repay it

Supplemental health coverage helps provide financial protection to employees and their covered family members in the event of a significant health issue. For example, critical illness plans offer a lump-sum cash benefit when an enrolled employee is diagnosed with a covered condition such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke — typically $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the coverage selected. Supplemental health plans also provide payment in the case of accidental injury or hospitalizations. Employees can use the cash provided by these policies for whatever they need, including medical expenses, transportation costs, rent, childcare, utility bills, and groceries. These cash benefits, paid at the time the employee needs them the most, help address individual employee-level health care affordability concerns.

Some supplemental health plans include financial incentives for receiving preventive care, meaning employees can still qualify for benefits even if they do not experience a covered illness or injury during the plan year. Employees who have both a Cigna Healthcare plan and Cigna Healthcare Supplemental Health Solutions can automatically receive wellness payments for qualifying preventative care visits. Cigna Healthcare clients are increasingly offering this valuable benefit to motivate their employees to complete preventive care screenings, which improve vitality and help lower the total cost of care.

Cost-effective coverage that meets workforce needs

Cigna Healthcare is among the leading medical carriers offering supplemental health plans. Jeffreys said their vast array of clinical data and expert insights help inform innovative coverage options that differentiate Cigna Healthcare Supplemental Health Solutions from competitors.

“Critical illness benefit plans, for example, tend to focus on providing benefits for specific catastrophic conditions, such as heart attack or stroke, which are not top-of-mind health concerns for younger workers,” he said. “So, we conducted an in-depth evaluation of Cigna Healthcare medical claims to expand the coverage to other serious, costly health conditions that affect employees across generations. As a result, we were the first carrier to offer critical illness coverage for neonatal intensive care, Crohn’s disease, advanced obesity, and advanced sepsis.”

A significant portion of the workforce, and their employers, can see tremendous value from this coverage, Jeffreys said.

Speaking of value, the per-member cost of supplemental health plans is low for employers and is often passed on partially or fully to employees. “These benefits are scarcely a financial investment by the employer, but they can make a tremendous difference for employees,” Jeffreys said.

In addition, these plans include Cigna Simple File, which automatically analyzes Cigna Healthcare medical claims to see if an employee would be eligible to receive supplemental health benefits. If so, Cigna Healthcare sends an automatic alert to the employee to file a supplemental health claim.

“This is another way we leverage claim information to help employees with a serious health issue receive the maximum benefits they are entitled to,” said Jeffreys. “We aim to make the employee experience as simple and seamless as possible to help ease some of the stress from the situation.”

Supplemental Health plans enhance the suite of benefits offered by employers to develop a talented and thriving workforce. Cigna Healthcare Supplemental Health Solutions is one more way we deliver value to clients by addressing employee health challenges, increasing vitality, and decreasing total medical costs.

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