With the sharp increase in HDHPs (high deductible health plans) offered by employers, utilization of voluntary benefits to fill related coverage gaps has not kept pace. Businesses must find a better way to help their employee acquire and maintain appropriate coverage, and those that do gain significant competitive advantage.
Nearly 60% of employers with 500+ employees offered HDHPs as a plan option in 2015, up seven percentage points from just one year prior, according to a 2015 bswift Benefits Study. Yet voluntary benefits such as critical illness, hospital indemnity, and accident insurance are still not regularly offered alongside HDHPs, according to a new survey released by Benefitfocus, a Charleston, S.C.-based HR and benefit technology solutions company. This creates significant gaps in coverage – especially for those with health issues that require periodic visits to the doctor and/or pharmacy.
While the aforementioned voluntary benefits products generally assist employees with financial hardships, only 36% of employers surveyed by the company offer at least one of these three gap products, with a scant 10% offering all three. To further exacerbate the challenges in providing adequate coverage, only 14% of employees are enrolling in them, the company’s 2016 State of Employee Benefits study finds. Communication is key to encourage employee participation in voluntary benefits, the study says. Experts say the timing of those communications is also important.
To learn more about HDHPs, gap coverage, and employee benefits communication, contact us.