Putting a price tag on securityNews added by Benefits Pro on February 13, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Kathryn Mayer

Proponents of voluntary products such as critical illness and accident insurance — or brokers selling certain products — often say their value is priceless.

Now MetLife is putting a price on how much it’ll cost you if you don’t have it.

A new white paper out from the carrier reveals that out-of-pocket costs associated with these unexpected health issues can range as high as $4,000 for accidents or more than $14,000 for a critical illness. For a household, lost income from these episodes ranges from nearly $27,000 to more than $50,000.

And their research means one (major) thing for brokers, employers and employees alike: Now is the time to rely on these voluntary products.

“Employees significantly underestimate the costs associated with an accident or critical illness, especially lost income. This disconnect may leave employees financially vulnerable should they face an unexpected health issue,” said Meredith Ryan-Reid, vice president of accident and health/worksite benefits for MetLife. “Further, the shift toward increased employee responsibility for health care costs through consumer-directed and high deductible heath care plans is leaving employees more exposed than ever to these financial risks. Even with medical and disability coverage, there are gaps in these coverages that could leave employees unprepared.”

As brokers and employers face challenges due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, offering voluntary products can help fill the void, she said.

MetLife said the products have the potential to boost benefits satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Their research finds that nearly six out of 10 employees reported “they would feel positive about their employers if they offered accident and/or critical illness insurance.”

To boost enrollment, Metlife says communicating the value of the supplemental products — and how they work — to employees and clients is most important.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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