Millennials are a generation with unique financial challenges. Seven in 10 possess student loan debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success’ “12th Annual Report, Student Debt and the Class of 2016.” Combined with car loans, housing expenses and entry level salaries, it’s no surprise to learn that many young workers lack the savings necessary to cover unexpected medical costs.
To help strengthen their financial situation, experts say that this generation should take a closer look at their available workplace benefits to see if they have access to voluntary benefits, often also referred to as supplemental health insurance policies.
“Having health insurance is not always enough. Someone with a serious injury or illness can face large deductibles or significant out-of-pocket expenses even with health insurance. If your employer offers the opportunity to obtain supplemental health insurance policies, such as accidental injury, critical illness or hospital care coverage, take a few moments to become familiar with what these options provide. They can help you create and personalize your financial safety net,” says Jim Boyman, president and general manager of Cigna’s voluntary benefits business.
All Cigna products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York (New York, NY) and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company.
Sixty percent of millennials are worried they’re unprepared for medical costs, according to Cigna’s Voluntary Benefits Consumer Survey, yet many aren’t taking advantage of obtaining voluntary accidental injury, critical illness and hospital care benefits when they are offered in the workplace.
When asked how they would pay for expenses if a serious injury or illness struck, millennials were more likely than older employees to say they would borrow from friends and family, take out a bank loan or get a second job. However, these choices can often be accompanied by other drawbacks: borrowing money can sometimes impact personal relationships, and borrowing from the bank means paying interest on top of the original expense. Getting a second job may not be realistic depending upon the nature of the health condition and could also impact the ability to succeed at the primary job.
Voluntary benefits or supplemental health insurance policies can help with those unexpected medical expenses. It is important to take the time to learn what is available in the workplace.
Many employers offer educational tools and resources to help individuals understand how voluntary benefits work and how to tailor coverage to provide the most value for personal situations. Read the benefits materials and consider attending informational learning sessions that may be offered. An employer’s human resources department can also be a source for assistance. Or, use online tools to learn more.
Whether employer-funded or employee-paid, workplace benefits can help provide additional financial protection and help deliver greater peace of mind.