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Employee Benefits: Rounding Out Your Coverage


Here’s a chance for you to round out your coverage through our recent insurance discussions. I’ll briefly explain some of the different plan types generally found amongst the slough of options that could be available through an employer. Many of which are also available via individual purchase as well as most of the options I bring up here are offered as group or individual products in the market. The difference is that the group plans are owned by the employer and certificates are issued to the employees. If you leave that business, you may or may not be able to keep your plan.  Individually owned plans are most always portable if employment changes.

Disability: My opinion is that disability coverage is the second most important for people during their working years, right behind health insurance. In essence, disability coverage is paycheck insurance to keep the money coming in if you are unable to work due to an extended illness or injury.  You pay for insurance to cover your house, cars, phones etc., so why not protect your income? Common parts to consider when evaluating these plans are the elimination period, benefit period, benefit amount, and definition of disability within the contract offered by the company.  All of those parts impact the cost, but typically you get what you pay for with disability coverage. Realistically, there is no such thing as a bad disability plan, so long as it fits your needs and you know exactly how it works.

Dental: This type of plan helps with everything from routine teeth cleanings to extensive dental work.  Three major components of these plans are deductible, annual maximum, and network. Coverage for orthodontia and cosmetic procedures for dental care is becoming increasingly rare and typically has longer waiting periods. If that is a possible need in the future, ask and know what options there are before it is necessary. Like the disability option, know the coverage

Vision: These plans help cover eye exams and corrective materials. A few things to look at when comparing these plans are the deductible and how often the plan can be used for exams, frames, lenses etc.  A few companies even offer coverage that helps with diseases and disorders of the eye, which would pay in addition to any coverage from a health insurance or Medicare plan.

Worksite: This is a fairly broad category with many options.  Unlike other plans, these are indemnity based, meaning they pay the benefits directly to the insured and not the doctor or hospital. They are designed to cover out-of-pocket costs that may or may not be directly associated with the accident or illness. However, since the benefits are paid directly to the insured, the money is yours to spend how you desire. Typically, these plans pay out a specific amount for a covered loss. Examples include a lump sum for a heart attack, a specific amount paid out for each day spent in the hospital, or a specific amount for transportation to and from facilities away from home for treatments.  These plans generally cover more specific types of loss so some things to consider are: exclusions, or what isn’t covered, deductible (if any), benefit maximums, coverage for re-occurrences, and timeline requirements in submitting the claim.

A quick shout out to the businesses that offer a more robust benefits package here. In a lot of cases employers don’t offer any of the plans we just reviewed. Those employers that make these benefits available do so because they care about their employees even when the costs and overhead of offering benefits isn’t always easy to swallow. Note that every benefit that a business offers is only worthwhile if their employees know about it and take advantage of the offering.  Keep your benefits package and what your true “paycheck” is in mind when looking at options for the upcoming year, considering a new employment opportunity, or going out on your own. As always, if you have questions, a trusted agent will welcome the opportunity to help you review options.

Mike Wilken is President and Agent of Beacon Insurance. He graduated from Class 20 of Leadership Kearney and Class 7 of Leadership Nebraska. Mike graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2005. Raised on a farm in southeast Nebraska, where there is one stoplight in the entire county and it is always red.

Beacon Insurance in Kearney,  is a locally owned agency that is invested in Nebraska. With over a decade of expertise, we specialize in health, life, and voluntary coverage for businesses, families, and individuals. Let our FFM, SHOP, LTC Partnership, and AHIP Certified Agents serve you!  Contact us at (308) 646-0683 or at