Voluntary Insurance-What is it?
“This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.”

“This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100% mine.”

It is vital to have great, quality health insurance. If something happens, most probably do not have enough savings accumulated for a major operation, or maybe there is enough in savings, but people would rather use that savings to TRAVEL!

So, which sounds better? Extra money for stitches or a two-week trip in Dubai? Most would choose Dubai it! This is also how most millennials think, which is why they have no or very little health insurance. And for those that have full-time jobs that do offer health benefits, the plans offered are just too expensive and who wants that large amount of money taken out of their pay checks, on top of taxes–there goes that trip to Dubai! DARN IT!

While traveling and trips are important, health care is also important, and if God forbid, something happens to you while on vacation, if you have health insurance, you are able to get treated and still enjoy the rest of your trip. The perfect time to explore and research your health care options is now while we are in open enrollment season. When you research, you are able to make the best decisions for whatever your situation may be. While you are doing your research, you should also consider the voluntary options that are available to you. So what is voluntary insurance?

Voluntary insurance complements major medical plans to help fill the gaps where policyholders are most vulnerable when it comes to an unexpected illness or injury. Entrepreneurs put a lot on the line to make their business goals a reality and often times this means emptying their savings, but if they were to experience even something as routine as an X-ray of a sprained ankle, they may be looking at a bill they cannot afford. Voluntary insurance puts cash in their pockets to help pay costs that major medical does not and can even cover a missed rent check, groceries or other responsibilities that they may have had to put on hold in order to pay their medical expenses.

Aflac is an example of voluntary insurance that offers plenty of great benefits. Here some of the basics of why voluntary insurance is important.

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  • Voluntary insurance is a key component of health care – especially for millennials who are often in denial about being diagnosed with a serious illness or a disability.

  • Voluntary insurance policies such as accident, critical illness and hospital help to protect millennials from high out-of-pocket costs that major medical insurance was never designed to cover.

  • Many pay cash benefits that can be used for groceries, child care, lodging or parking at the hospital.

I feel that the first statement really resonates with many of today’s young adults. Come on admit it…you have a pride issue where you think because you are young, you don’t need to worry about health insurance, or you may be one of those millennials that predict you will never have to use insurance because you rarely get sick. Yes, you may be healthy, but haven’t you heard the saying it is better to be safe than sorry, or in this case prepared than ‘out of luck’.

However, you are not alone in your thinking. Employers are now more than ever pushing health care costs to their employees, and over half (56%) of millennials are still choosing a major medical plan based on factors that may have little to do with the total cost of care they’re increasingly responsible for. Millennials are concerned about being able to afford the medical costs that are being pushed to them.

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  • 53% completely or strongly agree and 81% at least somewhat agree that even with their health insurance coverage their medical co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs are more than they can afford at times.

  • However, that doesn’t necessarily translate into how they choose a health insurance plan. The most important factors considered when selecting a major medical plan for the upcoming year:

  • 33% say it’s the amount of the monthly premium

  • Despite the potentially high costs of co-insurance and deductibles, which can present significant risks to personal and family finances, few (18%) of millennials say the most important decision factor is the percentage of co-insurance they’ll pay for health care services and only 20% say it’s the amount of the annual deductible

So while half of millennials are worried about the cost of health care, what are the other half doing or thinking about? To be honest, they are not even thinking about what health options are available to them. In a recent 2015 Aflac Open Enrollment survey, it was found that 55% of millennials spend less than 30 minutes researching their benefits and 31% stated that spend less than 15 minutes. Wait, what!?! So what are they doing or rather be doing with all that extra time then?

  • 45% would rather clean out their email inbox

  • 26% would rather clean their toilet

  • 23% would rather pull weeds

  • 22% would rather do their taxes

  • 13% would rather have a dental cavity filled

Some of those answers are just bizarre to me! Like really!?! You rather clean a toilet or pull weeds than invest in something that will benefit your life in the long run. I don’t know about you, but cleaning a toilet or doing some household chore is not going to help my future. Yeah my house will be spiff and clean, but um, it really isn’t helping my future in case something happens. Plus, if I can’t fork up a hospital bill, then it is going to fall on a family member and I don’t want that when they have their own issues that may pop up or already be popping up.

So why else should millennials be thinking about this health benefits? Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Combined with stagnant raises and rising health care costs, workers are walking financial tightropes. In fact, more than half (55%) waste up to $750 annually with mistakes made during open enrollment with insurance benefits. Just imagine how much more you can do with that extra $750 dollars. You can book a plane ticket, hotel, and still have spending money to use to travel to somewhere new. If you’re not a traveler, you can use that extra money to go to that concert that you’ve been dying to go to and still have money leftover to eat out someplace nice, do something extra special for that special someone in your life, or just save it.

To learn more about Aflac, visit www.aflac.com.

“I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Sway Group, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.”

Naomi K. Bonman is the founder and editorial director of Purposely Awakened, a digital media agency for millennial activist and change agents of color. A digital media maven at heart, Naomi is also a journalist, screenwriter and digital content creator. Originally from Southern California, Naomi received her B.A. in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism from Clark Atlanta University and her Masters of Public Administration from Keller School of Management of DeVry University.