All of the employee benefits that you offer your employees are important. Extended health, dental and even life insurance get a lot of attention. What isn’t so widely understood or discussed is critical illness coverage. It may not get a lot of attention, but it should. Critical Illness coverage can mean so much to an employee battling a life-altering illness.
Critical illness Coverage in a nutshell.
Critical illness coverage pays out when a covered employee or their spouse is diagnosed with a qualifying critical illness. Depending upon your policy, examples include:
- Cancer (life-threatening)
- Heart attack
- Multiple sclerosis
- Kidney failure
A long recovery dramatically impacts a family’s income; critical illness coverage can give your employee the means to focus on recovery, not finances. It is paid out as a lump sum that the employee is free to use as they choose.
Critical illness is not a replacement for disability or life insurance; it’s best considered a companion coverage. Unlike life insurance, it pays out if the employee lives. Unlike disability coverage, it pays out a lump sum at the onset of illness.
Fighting a critical illness will likely be the hardest battle your employee will ever encounter. It’s hard physically and emotionally, but also financially. A critical illness likely means an interruption in work, which means loss of income. This can affect the employee’s ability to pay rent or mortgage, as well as groceries, daycare or other normal household expenses.
There will likely be new expenses as well, expenses related to medical co-pays, deductibles, special equipment, private nursing and home modifications. For critically ill employee and their family, these expenses can be overwhelming.
Critical illness coverage means that the employee and their family will have money that can be used for these expenses or any others that may arise. It helps preserve the quality of life and protect personal assets. This money can be a game-changer.
Critical Illness is a reality.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 90% of people in Canada have at least one risk factor for heart conditions, stroke or vascular cognitive impairment. That’s a lot of people at risk, and that’s just a few types of critical illness. The reality is, critical illness occurs far too often.
- 62,000 strokes occur in Canada each year (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada).
- 225,800 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in Canada this year (Canadian Cancer Society)
- 11 Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis every day (MS Society of Canada)
- 50,000 Canadians are diagnosed with heart failure every year (Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada).
Despite our world-class healthcare, the list of possible critical illnesses is long. It’s not hard to think of someone you know that has experienced a critical illness. They affect people of all ages and backgrounds. For your employees, having financial support when experiencing a critical illness can mean so much.
Critical Illness coverage: the nitty-gritty
Critical illness coverage can be offered as part of your main employee benefits package or as optional coverage. Depending on the size of your group, medical evidence may not be necessary. Coverage can be purchased so the payout is a specified dollar amount or a percentage of salary.
Each insurer is different, but most cover anywhere from 29-40 critical illnesses. The benefit pays out if the employee survives the critical illness for a specified period of time (for example, 14 days). The lump-sum payment is not limited by an employee’s ability to return to work or whether they make a full recovery.
Many insurers also allow for multiple event coverage. This means that if an employee experiences more than one covered critical illness, they could receive the lump sum payment more than once.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
Likely, one goal of your employee benefits plan is to help attract new (awesome!) employees, while also retaining the ones you already have. Having a comprehensive employee benefits package that includes more than the basics can go a long way. Keep in mind, critical illness coverage used to be more like a “specialty” benefit. These days it’s becoming the norm. Not only is it a great way to support employees, but it’s also a great recruiting and retention tool.
Good Advice is Key
Are you interested in supporting your employees with access to critical illness coverage? Are you wondering if you have room in your budget to add it to your current plan? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.