Employees are financially stressed — but voluntary benefits can help

Today, many employees are looking to their employers for help when it comes to managing and safeguarding their finances — and guarding against financial stress. And one way employers can boost productivity is by offering different financial wellness solutions.

Those were among recent findings by researcher PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 2018 PWC Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that a substantial 54 percent of U.S. workers across generations are stressed about their finances. And when asked which additional employer benefit they wanted most, 25 percent pointed to unbiased financial counseling and 20 percent wanted more help in understanding workplace benefits.

The year before, the threat to productivity attributed to financially stressed employees was addressed in a comparable PWC study in which a third of respondents reported being distracted by personal financial issues at work. Those identifying as financially stressed were three times more likely to spend at least five hours of weekly work time wrangling their finances, twice as likely to miss work due to financial issues and more inclined to cite health issues caused by financial worries.

When it comes to demographics, financial stress is especially common among the millennial generation, which collectively faces massive student loan debt and an unprecedented need for hefty retirement savings to hedge against longer life spans, reports financial analyst Manisha Thakor on Benefitspro.com.

As such, many companies are working harder to address those financial concerns with voluntary benefits such as insurance bundles that can help their workers better prepare for future financial demands. One tool in that regard is the extra accident and critical illness insurance that can supplement traditional health care policies to protect employees against astronomical costs. A few examples:

Critical illness insurance. With today’s longer life expectancies and the odds of undergoing a major issue like cancer, heart attack, stroke or an organ transplant, unfortunately your out-of-pocket costs with traditional health insurance could still easily have significant negative impact on your finances — especially if you have a high-deductible plan. In fact, some 67 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are caused by medical problems, either from bills, income loss due to illness or both, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Critical illness insurance can help avert such financial difficulty by providing cash benefits if you are diagnosed with an eligible critical illness which can be used however you like to help cover the costs not covered by your regular health insurance and other costs related to your illness such as living expenses, transportation, child care, home renovations or vacations.

Accident insurance. This is different from disability insurance in that it provides lump-sum payments for specific injuries resulting from accidents — regardless of whether the injuries keep you from working. Like critical illness insurance, it complements health insurance by providing cash benefits that can be used to help cover your expenses.

Hospital indemnity insurance. This safeguard supplements your regular health insurance by providing fixed benefit amounts for each day of a hospital stay. In addition to overnight stays, hospital indemnity policies may provide additional benefits for other services such as ambulance trips, surgery, living expenses, transportation and a range of other costs related to your stay in a hospital. Some even cover your loss of income when you’re hospitalized.

Seeking to make smart benefits choices that offer your employees the best possible protection against financial stress? Talk to Ochs for customized solutions that fit your needs.

DOFU 05-2019