New benefit gives employees money back if they go injury-free

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Guardian Life Insurance has updated its accident insurance product to include two new offerings which give employees money back if they are injury free for five years and provide payment for treatments that might normally exceed policy limits.

“The new benefit is valuable because they want to know that they’re getting something with their money,” says Mike Estep, vice president of group products and worksite leader at Guardian. “If you have an accident and you can’t afford your medical payments, and you only have $500 or less in your savings, the accident insurance comes in very valuable. But if you don’t have an accident, you want to know that you're getting something from having the insurance as well.”

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Guardian’s injury-free benefit will pay an employee up to $500, depending on the plan, if their family is claim-free for five years. The rainy day fund feature of the benefit will pay up to $500 annually to cover costs that are insurable by an individual policy, but are not covered by the policy due to limitations. For any amount unused over the course of the year, up to half of the original fund will be carried over to the next year, up to a limit of $1,000. The purpose of the benefit is to help employees manage high healthcare deductibles, Estep says.

“The reason why an accident product resonates so well in the marketplace today is due to healthcare costs, as they continue to soar,” Estep says. “Many American families are finding it harder and harder to cover unexpected medical expenses.”

When 60% of Americans have less than $500 in savings, and the average out-of-pocket expense for a hospital visit costs $1,000, one accident or injury can be financially damaging, Estep says.

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The number of employers offering accident insurance has risen 11 percentage points to 35% between 2014 and 2018, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. U.S. healthcare spending rose to $3.3 trillion in 2016, which is a 4.3% increase from the previous year. In context, this amount translates to $10,348 per person. Given the exponential growth of healthcare costs, employers are faced with balancing costs and employee satisfaction with healthcare coverage, according to SHRM.

Guardian tested the concept with consumers before introducing it to the market, and the company saw it was being well received by employees, Estep says. The two new benefits added to Guardian’s accident insurance will pay employees directly for common injuries and associated medical treatments and services not covered under their health insurance plan.

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Accident insurance Voluntary benefits Benefit management Benefit strategies Employee engagement Benefit plan design