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As consumers are asked to assume more health care costs than in the past, it’s important to consider benefits packages that offer more holistic support besides the usual health, dental and vision policies. Consumers should know that there are plans available today that will promote their overall well-being, which includes physical, mental and financial health.
Luckily, many employers see the need for robust benefits offerings, with some incorporating new solutions to meet increased employee demand for more from their benefits provider. In fact, 34 percent of employers surveyed in a Towers Watson study indicated they already offer more customization with voluntary benefits. Companies like Aflac are expanding services, ranging from credit monitoring to supplemental accident benefits to helping provide employees and their families with financial protection.
As consumers select benefits options provided by their employer, here are three additional services to look for that go above and beyond a typical benefits offering:
• Fraud protection. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, by the middle of 2015, there were a total of 424 data breaches, compromising millions of consumers’ personal and financial data. It’s no surprise that the use of mobile technology and digital transactions has left consumers vulnerable, so benefits that include services to help protect employees’ personal and financial information should be viewed as a must-have option in employer-sponsored packages.
• Telemedicine. A Towers Watson survey showed that almost half of employers offer telemedicine, and by 2018 that number is expected to rise to 90 percent. Companies are starting to connect consumers to highly qualified health care professionals who can evaluate common conditions and provide personalized treatment remotely, offering a low-cost and convenient option, as opposed to a hospital or urgent care visit.
• Benefits management support. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, medical debts account for 52 percent of debt collection actions that appear on consumer credit reports. Not to mention, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 1 in 3 Americans struggle to pay medical bills. Companies are beginning to offer administrative support to help negotiate employees’ unpaid medical bills. Consumers who are concerned about expenses should investigate these options further, as it could help them protect their financial future.