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When working with PEO companies, one issue that may come up is understanding what benefits your employees are looking for. Medical insurance is one of the most important benefits because it helps cover the cost of medical treatment if workers or people in their families become ill. However, medical insurance won't necessarily pay for every expense incurred at the time of a critical illness, such as lost wages, rehabilitation or living expenses. Some employees may not be aware of this.

To help attract and retain top talent, as well as to emphasize how much you care for employees' well-being, you may want to consider discussing certain voluntary benefits. These include critical illness insurance and hospital confinement indemnity.

Statistics underscore risks
In a guest column for HR Professionals Magazine, experts from Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company cited several statistics indicating the risks of chronic and critical disease events in the U.S. For example, about 85 million people in the country are living with cardiovascular disease, which puts them at risk for heart attack and stroke. While the cost of treatment for these critical events may be paid for by medical insurance, there are other related costs that aren't covered, such as travel expenses and home modification. Critical illness insurance would help cover these by making lump payments to employees who have come down with a compensable condition. There are even some policies that are specific to certain situations, such as hospital confinement and cancer.

"Allowing your employees to purchase these voluntary benefits – at no direct financial cost to your company – can help them pay their mortgages, keep the lights on, fill up the car with gas and pay other bills if they are out of work for an extended period of time," the guest columnists from Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company wrote.

Make sure employees understand policies
If your employees are confused as to how valuable critical care insurance is, remind them of the potential pitfalls of relying entirely on medical insurance. According to Critical Illness Planning, 62 percent of bankruptcies are attributable to medical problems. Within this group, 78 percent had medical insurance at the start of their illness, and more than 60 percent of those policies were private plans.

However, Critical Illness Planning also revealed that 58 percent of full-time employees who had critical illness insurance explained to them were interested in buying a policy.