UnitedHealthcare has introduced nationwide new Hospital Indemnity Protection plans that provide a cash benefit to help fund employees’ out-of-pocket medical expenses or meet other financial needs after a hospital stay.
The plans are now available in 45 states, and offer flexibility for employers and financial protection for their employees and their family members, especially for people with consumer-directed health plans.
Hospital indemnity coverage gives crucial financial support to employees following a hospital stay, including emergency and non-emergency situations. Following a hospital visit, plan participants receive a lump sum payment ranging from $700 to more than $5,000, which can be used for any reason, including covering everyday living expenses, meeting deductibles or paying medical bills.
“These new plans are an important resource for employees and their family members, especially the almost two-thirds of the workforce with less than $1,000 on hand to pay out-of-pocket expenses related to an unexpected, serious illness or emergency,” said Tom Wiffler, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits. “UnitedHealthcare’s Hospital Indemnity Protection plans help make it easier for people to focus on healing from their medical situation instead of their bills.”
The average cost of a hospital stay – including ambulance transportation – exceeds $11,000, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The Hospital Indemnity Protection plans offer greater flexibility for employers and employees, including:
- coverage for hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) admission, hospital and ICU stays, emergency room visits, lodging, transportation and more;
- variable funding arrangements providing cost certainty for employers and the ability for employees to purchase the additional coverage they need; and
- compatibility for people enrolled in consumer-directed health plans with health savings accounts (HSAs).
More employers are offering ancillary benefit plans, including hospital indemnity coverage, as a way to add financial certainty for employees, especially with more than 80 percent of employers now offering consumer-directed health plans. Approximately one in five (21 percent) employers with more than 500 employees now offer hospital indemnity coverage, according to the Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans.
Research shows that adding these types of ancillary benefits to a core medical benefits offering can help improve companies’ bottom lines by increasing productivity and employee engagement. According to a report by LIMRA, a worldwide association of insurance and financial services companies, ancillary benefits can help attract and retain employees while improving morale.
UnitedHealthcare’s Hospital Indemnity Protection plans are available to businesses with 51 or more eligible employees in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Ancillary benefit plans are available as standalone products or in addition to medical coverage.
UnitedHealthcare also offers hospital indemnity plans to individuals who buy their own health insurance in 32 states.