While the coronavirus is radically changing every aspect of our world and economy, it is also affecting employee benefit strategies. While “voluntary” or ancillary employee paid benefits once took a backseat to other lines of coverage, they are now at the forefront of this change. As the pandemic continues to grow, here are some solutions and programs that are gaining in popularity and are now widely being leveraged:

Legal Benefits

During the coronavirus epidemic, legal plans have seen an increased utilization of document services and consultations. Due to this increase, many legal plans are adding coverage for funeral directives, hospital visitation authorizations and tax support. Employees are thinking more about the need for these benefits and there is increased demand and appreciation for these types of programs.

Critical Illness Infectious Disease Benefits

Many national carriers are acting quickly and adding COVID-19 to covered benefits on their critical illness policies. This benefit pays a designated amount when an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been hospitalized for a defined period, usually 3-5 days. A wellness benefit can pay a lump sum to the employee between $50-$200 for preventive screenings. Taking advantage of this benefit can reduce the net cost for employee coverage by 20% or more.

Identity Theft/Employer Breach Services

With more employees working remotely than ever before, there is an increased risk of cyberattacks. While many employers have cyber insurance, many would not be able to provide protection and remediation (a live person to assist you in restoring your identity if you have become a victim to identity fraud) down to the employee level. Many identity theft providers will provide employer breach services even if the plan is offered on a voluntary basis. This service would provide remediation services to all employees, even for those not enrolled, if the employer is breached.

Many voluntary benefit vendors are preparing their call center services and self-service solutions to support onboarding new employees remotely and returning employees to the workplace, with no additional costs to the employer.

Social Determinants of Health and COVID-19

In addition to the direct health threats imposed by COVID-19, this pandemic has exposed the radically disparate social landscape of our country. Dr. Joel Axler has examined the impacts of social determinants of health (SDOH) since the start of the pandemic in various contexts including education, economic stability, and built environments. Click here to read more about this topic.

Please be advised that any and all information, comments, analysis, and/or recommendations set forth above relative to the possible impact of COVID-19 on potential insurance coverage or other policy implications are intended solely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal or medical advice. As an insurance broker, we have no authority to make coverage decisions as that ability rests solely with the issuing carrier. Therefore, all claims should be submitted to the carrier for evaluation. The positions expressed herein are opinions only and are not to be construed as any form of guarantee or warranty. Finally, given the extremely dynamic and rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, comments above do not take into account any applicable pending or future legislation introduced with the intent to override, alter or amend current policy language.

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