More options, greater flexibility help employers struggling with rising health insurance premiums
August 23, 2016 — COLUMBIA, S.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Employers and their workers struggling with ever-increasing health care costs have access to a new solution with Colonial Life’s newest group hospital confinement insurance plan.
Group Medical BridgeSM provides benefits including hospital confinement, outpatient surgery, diagnostic tests, doctor’s office visits, emergency room visits, prescription drugs and ambulance service. These benefits help pay for deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket medical and nonmedical expenses employees face.
“To combat rising health insurance premiums, employers are shifting more health care costs to their employees through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, this is occurring at a much faster rate than wages are increasing,” says Steve Hesler, assistant vice president for products at Colonial Life. “Some cost-sharing can help engage employees in making better health care spending decisions, but too much financial exposure can be detrimental to their wellbeing and create an unmanageable burden for employees and their families.”
The average single coverage deductible for employer health plans increased 9 percent last year, while workers’ wages grew less than 2 percent.* In fact, the average health plan deductible has more than tripled over the past decade, from $300 to more than $1,000.* That growth is seven times faster than wages increased in the same period. A quarter of employers now offer only a high-deductible health plan as an option for health care coverage for their employees and their families — nearly double the number just a few years ago.**
Colonial Life’s enhanced Group Medical Bridge insurance offers more coverage options with a simplified plan design. In addition to standard benefits, employers can now choose from 12 optional benefits to customize the coverage for their employees’ needs. Employers with multiple medical plans can even offer two different Group Medical Bridge plans to provide more coverage options.
The policy also can include new telemedicine, prescription drug and inpatient mental and nervous condition benefits.
Other enhancements include:
- Higher outpatient surgery benefit to address today’s higher out-of-pocket costs.
- Stronger HSA-compliant plan to better align with high-deductible health plans.
- New critical illness rider for expanded coverage.
- Waiver of premium after 30 days of hospital confinement.
Group Medical Bridge isn’t health insurance, or a substitute for it, Hesler points out. As a voluntary financial indemnity product, it pays benefits directly to the policyholder to help offset the larger financial exposure that results from cost-sharing in today’s high-deductible health care environment.
“Group Medical Bridge helps employers continue to manage their benefits program costs and still offer a competitive benefits package so they can recruit and retain quality employees,” Hesler says. “It also offers employees valuable financial benefits to protect what they’ve worked so hard to build.”
* Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, 2010-2015; and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index and Employment Statistics Survey, 2010-2015.
** PwC 2015 Health and Well Being Touchstone Survey.
This is a limited policy. The policy or its provisions may vary or be unavailable in some states. The policy has exclusions and limitations that may affect any benefits payable. Colonial Life insurance products are underwritten by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, for which Colonial Life is the marketing brand.
About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support 85,000 businesses and organizations, representing 3.5 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit www.coloniallife.com or connect with the company at www.facebook.com/coloniallifebenefits, www.twitter.com/coloniallife and www.linkedin.com/company/colonial-life.