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If you’ve ever experienced an injury or illness requiring a hospital stay, you know just how expensive it can be – even after major medical insurance pays its share. Hospital inpatient care accounts for nearly a third of U.S health care costs, and there’s no relief in sight: The average length of a hospital stay is 4.6 days at a cost of $11,000.1

The sky-high cost of hospitalization combined with the likelihood of at least one inpatient experience – 37 million Americans were hospital “guests” in 20131 – is driving a growing need for voluntary hospital indemnity insurance.

What is hospital indemnity insurance?

A voluntary hospital indemnity insurance policy is one of many plans employers can make available to help workers cope with costs associated with a hospital stay. These policies help cover costs major medical was never intended to pay. In the event of hospitalization, participants receive cash benefits that can be used to help pay daily living expenses, such as rent, gas, groceries, utilities and other necessities. Benefits are predetermined and are paid regardless of any other insurance in place. It’s important to note that while some hospital indemnity plans provide only hospitalization benefits, other plans may be more far-reaching and address diagnostic procedures, outpatient surgery and transportation by ambulance.

Hospital indemnity insurance is becoming more popular as employers implement consumer driven health care plans. These include high-deductible plans and health savings accounts, or HSAs, which shift more out-of-pocket costs onto workers. Features of hospital indemnity plans may include:

  • No deductibles or copayments.
  • HSA compatibility.
  • No networks, so policyholders can be treated at the hospitals of their choice.
  • No precertification requirements.
  • Portability, which means policyholders can retain their coverage even if they change jobs or retire.

Who needs hospital indemnity insurance?

Generally speaking, all employees are susceptible to injuries or illnesses requiring a hospital stay – which means they’re all candidates for voluntary hospital indemnity insurance. This type of coverage helps give workers confidence that unforeseen difficulties won’t destroy their financial security.

Individuals who are concerned about how they’d pay the bills if they were hospitalized should consider hospital indemnity insurance. Why? Because even the best major medical insurance doesn’t typically cover an entire hospital invoice. For example, there are copayments and deductibles to consider. There are also other factors to think about, such as transportation and meals for family members, help with child care costs and sometimes even lost income. These surprise expenses add up quickly and often force people to dip into their savings or borrow money.

According to the 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report, 52 percent of American workers have less than $1,000 on hand to pay out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident. What’s more, 44 percent would have to borrow from a 401(k) and/or use a credit card to cover out-of-pocket expenses for an unexpected medical event.2

Just one hospital stay can wreak havoc on an employee’s finances. It’s a simple fact, but it’s one that underscores the importance of hospital indemnity insurance and the financial protection it can help provide.

A real-life experience

My husband received a kidney and pancreas transplant 16 years ago. He has had amazing success with this surgery, but as a result of the medications he takes to protect his transplant, his immune system is very weak.

My husband is an extremely healthy individual until he comes in contact with a virus such as the flu. His body is unable to fight the germs and he usually ends up in the hospital.

As a family, we know that hospital visits for my husband are a part of life and will happen at least once a year, if not more. The times he has been unable to work due to each illness, coupled with medical bills, has been a definite financial strain on our family.

Our Aflac hospital confinement indemnity insurance policy has helped with the out-of-pocket expenses during these periods with quick and easy responses to our claims.

We have been very grateful!

Kimberly Clark, Indiana
Testimonial valid through 10/16/16