Specialty Coverage: A Vital Aspect of Comprehensive Benefits Coverage


| 3 min read

Specialty Coverage: A Vital Aspect of Comprehensive Benefits Coverage
There’s nothing like feeling prepared when faced with one of life’s unexpected moments, especially when it comes to health care and personal finances. But that’s easier said than done: A recent survey shows that 44 percent of Americans would not be able to cover a $400 emergency medical expense. Christina Hix, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Director of Specialty Benefits, and Rick Vaccarella, Blue Cross’s Manager of Specialty Sales, know that Blue Cross Specialty benefits can help employees worry less when unexpected medical expenses occur. Because of this, their goal is to make sure employers stay educated about how it all works. “Years ago, employee benefits simply consisted of HMO and PPO options,” says Vaccarella. “Then these packages became more robust with the addition of dental, vision and other benefits options.” But as health care costs increased, employers were forced to make changes to their employee benefits plan designs and find more cost-effective ways to enhance the benefits they offered. “As a result, employees ended up paying more for their care as a way for employers to afford the premiums of coverages they offered,” says Vaccarella. Blue Cross’ specialty coverage can now step in to fill the gap for what employees’ existing medical plans may not cover. “Specialty plans such as Critical Illness, Hospital Recovery and Accident insurance cover many of the expenses that come along with situations like injuries and serious medical illnesses which could lead to extended hospital stays,” says Vaccarella. “Because of this, they are a vital part of medical coverage because they protect employees’ physical, mental and financial health.” In the end, it could be what attracts and retains top talent, as well. “It behooves employers to offer these solutions to get and keep the best employees,” says Hix. Here are additional things to know about the need for specialty plans:
  • They can cover all sorts of everyday needs. There are a variety of specialty options to choose from, including:
    • Accident insurance that provides coverage for costs not covered under employees’ medical coverage;
    • Life insurance that protects family and loved ones against the loss of the insured’s future earnings
    • Critical Illness coverage that helps pay for out-of-pocket costs and treatments not covered by one’s health plan or lost income;
    • Hospital Recovery insurance that provides funds to cover the unexpected costs incurred while in a qualifying hospital stay; and
    • Long- and short-term disability coverage that protects an employee’s pay check while out of work.
These plans ensure employees have what they need to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives by covering things like lost wages, home help, out-of-network care and transportation needs.
  • Specialty coverage looks out for employees’ mental and financial health. With medical debt representing the top cause of personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S., health-related bills can keep employees up at night (even with medical insurance). Thankfully, specialty coverage can offer peace of mind. “When employees are mentally sound about their finances, they’re often more productive, have less absenteeism and are more engaged,” says Vaccarella.
  • Education is a must. Most employees understand the benefit of having medical insurance, but don’t know the value of specialty offerings. This presents the opportunity for employers to be an informational resource for employees, so they take advantage of the options they may not have been aware of.
Learn more about specialty coverage by visiting Blue Cross’s Specialty Benefits page and reading these other blogs:
Photo Credit: Christina Morillo
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association