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It’s spring break! Here’s how to help protect your workforce

Come late March, spring will have sprung regardless of the pandemic – and spring break will happen, too.

It might look different in the wake of Covid-19, but the spring break stalwarts of travel, leisure and adventure haven’t disappeared – and neither have the risks that accompany this time. By offering supplemental insurance coverage to your staff members, you can help protect them.

Understand spring break risks

As vaccine distribution continues, some Americans may travel, even if their wanderlust contradicts public health advice. Fifty-eight percent of travelers said they would feel safe to travel once reliable vaccines are available, and in the fall of 2020, 46% said they were either already traveling or planning to travel within six months.1, 2

When you imagine a travel-related illness or injury, you might think of someone breaking a limb while rock climbing or contracting a rare illness. Those things happen, but so do things like trips, falls, heat stroke, car accident injuries and food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges particular caution on car accidents. There were 4.5 million motor vehicle injuries that were serious enough to need medical consultation in 2019,3 and the CDC considers road safety a top concern for spring break travelers specifically.4

Of course, people don’t need to travel to incur a spring break injury. With time away from school comes family activities such as local hiking and bike riding, which can still bring risks. And when our brains are still trying to process the reality of living with the threat of the coronavirus, we might even be more accident-prone than usual.5

Meanwhile, the cost of medical care continues to rise. A typical copayment for an emergency room service for an insured person hovers around $2506 – but that doesn’t necessarily matter for people who have high-deductible health plans, which are growing in popularity.7 For those individuals, even relatively straightforward emergency care could cost them their entire $1,400 deductible.8 Considering that only 40% of Americans report that they could afford a $1,000 unexpected expense, an unexpected injury is both a medical and financial risk.9

Because common illnesses and injuries can quickly derail a trip and result in unexpected expenses, it can ease employees’ minds to know that the benefits they’re offered by their employers can help protect them whether they’re going on an adventure or just relaxing poolside.

Employee benefits that can help

Health insurance can help mitigate the cost of health care while traveling, but health insurance wasn’t designed to cover everything. Vacationers may still struggle to afford the out-of-pocket expenses for their medical care, especially those with high-deductible health plans. And if an illness or injury keeps an employee away from work longer than she anticipated, that can present another financial challenge. Fortunately, supplemental insurance can help with expenses health insurance doesn’t cover.

Accident insurance can help cover copays or other out-of-pocket expenses related to an accidental injury, as well as nonmedical costs, such as transportation and lodging necessary to receive treatment. Benefits are paid directly to the insured, not to the hospital or health provider (unless otherwise assigned), so injured employees can use the benefit to help pay for whatever expenses they need, including child care, groceries or even rent.

But injuries aren’t the only reason a traveler might seek medical care while on vacation. If an employee needs to be hospitalized, hospital indemnity insurance can help cover the associated costs. As with accident insurance, hospital indemnity pays policyholders (unless otherwise assigned), helping cover necessities if an employee is hospitalized. Unlike accident insurance, employees have additional protection for covered hospitalizations for illnesses, not just injuries.

Given the precarious financial position many are in, taking a vacation can seem like just another expense for cash-strapped employees. But taking time away from work is important for their well-being, and for your business’s productivity.10 A generous paid time off policy is one way to encourage employee well-being, but helping employees feel financially confident taking leisure leave can help them make the most of their time off.

When it feels safe to travel again, many Americans will be eager to book their next trip, whether this year or next. Offering employee benefits that help cover the additional costs associated with an unexpected health problem could go a long way to make your employees feel more secure and better able to enjoy their time away from the workplace – and away from home.

Ready to help your employees feel more secure? Contact your Aflac benefits advisor today.