Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today that it has enhanced its critical illness insurance offering to help employers address the evolving health and wealth needs of their employees. The enhancement – which provides new benefit options in the event of a covered infectious disease diagnosis and/or resulting hospital stay – comes at a time when concerns of getting sick and incurring unexpected medical costs have become a major focus for American workers.
With Voya’s research showing that nearly half of Americans (48%) say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made them think more carefully about the types of benefits offered by employers1, many companies have been rethinking their benefit lineups to offer additional voluntary benefits to their employees that go beyond core workplace benefits — like medical, dental and vision. Specifically, industry research shows that while less than a third (32%) of U.S. employers currently offer critical illness insurance to their employees, of those not offering this voluntary benefit (68%), more than two in 10 of employers (22%) are interested in offering critical illness insurance in the future.2 This aligns with growing interest from their employees – with nearly half of U.S. employees (47%) who currently do not own critical illness insurance expressing an interest in purchasing this voluntary benefit in the future.3
Voya’s critical illness insurance pays a lump-sum benefit upon the diagnosis of a covered illness or condition, such as a heart attack, cancer or stroke. This benefit can be used for out-of-pocket medical costs, as well as household expenses like rent, utilities or a mortgage. Since the onset of the global pandemic, COVID-19 has been covered under the Infectious Disease Benefit option in our critical illness insurance. That option pays a percentage of the critical illness benefit amount, if the insured is diagnosed with an infectious disease that results in a hospital stay for a specified number of consecutive days.
Now, Voya is offering employers the ability to include an Infectious Condition Additional Benefit Rider (“Rider”) as well. Using a COVID-19 diagnosis, here’s how the new Rider could complement the existing Infectious Disease Benefit, if employers include both with their critical illness insurance. This example also includes the optional Wellness Benefit, which provides an annual benefit for a completed health screening test.
Covered employee, John, completes a COVID-19 test administered by a medical professional. Regardless of the results, and because he has not yet used it, he is eligible for his annual Wellness Benefit. Under the new Rider, when John is diagnosed with COVID-19, he is now eligible for the Diagnosis Benefit. When the diagnosis results in a hospitalization of at least 20 consecutive hours in an observation unit, or confined as a resident inpatient, he then becomes eligible for the Hospital Confinement Benefit. If his hospital stay lasts for five or more consecutive days based on his diagnosis, John would then be eligible for the Infectious Disease Benefit.
Sample benefit amounts for this example are as follows:
- Wellness Benefit: $50
- New Rider – Infectious Condition Diagnosis Benefit: $100
- New Rider – Infectious Condition Hospital Confinement Benefit: $1,000
- Infectious Disease Benefit – 25% of John’s maximum critical illness insurance benefit amount of $10,000: $2,500
“A person’s road to recovery from an infectious disease is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Even if an individual is diagnosed and needs to go to the hospital for a relatively short period of time, it can be difficult and there is likely a financial impact,” explained Andrew Frend, senior vice president, Health Solutions product and strategy, Voya Financial. “Our new Rider is designed to complement the critical illness coverage already available and to offer additive benefits for covered events that can occur throughout the experience – not only for COVID-19, but for other covered infectious conditions. This way a person can focus on what matters most, which is getting better instead of stressing about the financial costs.”
Given the interest by employers in offering critical illness insurance to their employees, this new Rider offers additional features and flexibility. For example, employers can initially choose whether to offer this Rider to their employees, and then determine coverage amounts, which components to include (diagnosis and/or hospital confinement) and tailor their list of covered infectious diseases.
“Not only can this new Rider help address the evolving health and financial needs of employees, but it’s also another way to help address recruiting and retention needs. A recent Voya survey found that three quarters of working Americans (74%) agreed that they are more likely to work for an employer who offers voluntary benefits — including those like critical illness, hospital indemnity, disability income or accident insurance1,” said Katherine Read, vice president of group insurance product development, Voya Financial. “We know that employees expect more from their employers, and Voya is focused on continuously improving our workplace solutions to help companies offer value-added benefits that can help them attract and retain employees in today’s competitive job market.”
Voya’s supplemental insurance solutions – including our new Rider available with critical illness insurance – are offered through the workplace as voluntary or employee-selected coverage that are processed and administered similarly to traditional group insurance. Employers may choose to: fund the plan for their employees; offer it as an option employees can purchase through their workplace benefits; or create a combined option in which the employer pays a portion of the benefit and the employee can purchase additional coverage.
As an industry leader focused on the delivery of health, wealth and investment solutions to and through the workplace, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its mission to make a secure financial future possible for all Americans – one person, one family, one institution at a time.