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Quick guide to open enrollment

Understanding the different types of insurance

We know insurance can be a confusing topic! To help ensure you don’t miss an opportunity during open enrollment to help protect your financial future, here is a quick explanation of some of the benefits your employer may offer.

Life insurance

Life insurance pays a death benefit to the beneficiaries you designate if you pass away while you’re covered. The purpose is to provide financially for your loved ones and help to maintain their quality of life when they no longer have your income to rely on.

The coverage you get through your employer is typically group insurance, meaning it’s priced based on the health and make up of a group of people, rather than individually.

Advantages of life insurance

  • Many employers provide some level of coverage to employees automatically, without requiring you to contribute toward the premium.
  • Employer-provided coverage is typically guaranteed and does not require you to complete a medical exam or health questionnaire.
  • Usually you have the option to apply for additional coverage and pay the additional premium. Additional coverage may be subject to underwriting approval.

Life insurance considerations

Summary

Life insurance coverage through your employer is offered at affordable group rates, so if you find you need a higher level of coverage than your employer offers, purchasing extra coverage through your employer’s plan may be a good deal for you.

On the other hand, you can also own more than one policy. An alternative to increasing coverage under your employer’s plan is to purchase individual insurance on your own. There are circumstances when this may be advantageous for you.

Learn more about the advantages and considerations of buying life insurance through your employer.

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance provides a lump sum payout in the event of a fatal accident or a nonfatal accident that results in the loss of limb(s), finger(s), eyesight, hearing or other key functions.1

Qualifying accidents are covered regardless of where they happen — at work or elsewhere.

Advantages of AD&D insurance

  • In most cases, AD&D is a relatively low-cost type of insurance.
  • Your beneficiaries can use the accidental death benefits in any way they like.
  • Dismemberment benefits are paid to you, and you may use them any way you wish.
  • The benefit is typically paid in addition to any life insurance coverage you have.

AD&D considerations

  • To receive the death benefit, the cause of death must be due to an accident.
  • Illnesses are not considered accidents.
  • Other limitations may apply; be sure to read the exclusions and limitations prior to purchase.

Summary

There may be a huge upside when you consider there are 185,000 amputations performed each year2 and more than 145,000 people die from unintentional injuries annually.3 These types of accidents may be covered by AD&D insurance.

An AD&D insurance benefit can be a great advantage when bills are high and money is tight after an accident.

Critical illness insurance

Critical illness insurance provides a lump sum cash payment to you if you are diagnosed with a critical illness or condition covered under the policy — typically cancer, a heart attack, stroke or major organ failure.4

Critical illness benefits are paid in addition to any benefits you might receive under any other insurance coverage in force and regardless of your income or the expenses you incurred. You can use the money any way you want.

Advantages of critical illness insurance

  • When offered through an employer, critical illness insurance is available at group rates.
  • You receive and can use the benefit amount while you are alive.
  • You can use the benefit in any way you like.
  • Depending on your plan, you may also be able to obtain coverage for your dependents.

Critical illness insurance considerations

  • To receive the benefit, the illness must be a type specified in the policy.
  • The illness must be medically diagnosed.
  • Other limitations may apply; be sure to read the exclusions and limitations prior to purchase.

Summary

While you can’t prevent critical illness from affecting your family, critical illness insurance may be a relatively painless way to help protect your family’s finances. Learn more about critical illness insurance.

Accident insurance

Provides a lump sum cash payment to you if you suffer injury from an accident covered under the policy.

Accident benefits are paid in addition to any benefits you might receive under any other insurance coverage in force and regardless of your income or expenses incurred. You can use the money any way you want.

Advantages of accident insurance

  • When offered through an employer, accident insurance is available at group rates.
  • You receive and can use the benefit amount while you are alive.
  • Most plans allow you to use the benefit in any way you like.
  • Some plans allow you to obtain coverage for your dependents.

Accident insurance considerations

  • To receive the benefit, the accident must qualify according to the provisions of your employer’s plan.
  • Other limitations may apply; be sure to read the exclusions and limitations prior to purchase.

Summary

In 2015, 38 percent of Americans had a hospital expenditure,5 and 13.6 percent had a visit to the emergency room — at an average cost of more than $1,500.6

Accident insurance can provide an extra cushion of cash at a time when you may be faced with many unexpected costs, yet are sidelined and less able to meet them. Learn more about accident insurance.

Hospital indemnity insurance

Provides a lump sum cash payment while you are hospitalized, as long as it is resulting from an injury or illness as defined by your policy. The benefit payment can be used in any way you wish.

Advantages of hospital indemnity insurance

  • When offered through an employer, hospital indemnity insurance is available at group rates.
  • You receive and can use the benefit amount while you are alive.
  • Most plans allow you to use the benefit amount in any way you like.
  • Some plans allow you to obtain coverage for your dependents.

Hospital indemnity insurance considerations

  • Hospital indemnity insurance is not a substitute for medical insurance and does not satisfy the federal requirements that you have health insurance coverage.
  • To receive the benefit, your hospital stay — and the reason for it — must comply with the provisions of your employer’s plan.
  • Other limitations may apply; be sure to read the exclusions and limitations prior to purchase.

Summary

The average length of a hospital stay in the U.S. is 4.5 days7 at a total cost of $10,400.8 While medical insurance may pay much of the cost, it rarely pays for everything.

Additionally, you may incur unforeseen expenses, such as daycare, lawn help, etc. Hospital indemnity insurance may be an additional, affordable way to help cover those extra costs. Learn more about hospital indemnity insurance.

 

1. Coverage varies, so be sure to check the policy prior to enrolling to verify the types of injuries that are covered and those that are excluded.
2. K. Ziegler-Graham, E.J. MacKenzie, P.L. Ephraim, T.G. Travison and R. Brookmeyer. “Estimating the Prevalence of Limb Loss in the United States: 2005 to 2050.”
3. National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Health, United States, 2016: Table 19 (page 1 of 4). Leading causes of death and numbers of deaths, by sex, race, and Hispanic origin: United States, 1980 and 2015."
4. Coverage varies, so be sure to check the policy prior to enrolling to verify the illnesses that are covered and those that are excluded.
5. National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Health, United States, 2016: Data table for Figure 23. Personal health care expenditures, by source of funds and type of expenditure: United States, 1975, 1995, and 2015."
6. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). "Table 6: Emergency Room Services-Median and Mean Expenses per Person With Expense and Distribution of Expenses by Source of Payment: United States 2014."
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fast Facts, 2014.
8. ProducersWeb, October 2015.

Life insurance products contain fees, such as mortality and expense charges (which may increase over time), and may contain restrictions, such as surrender periods.

Accident insurance, critical illness insurance and hospital indemnity insurance are limited-benefit products and have exclusions, limitations, reduction of benefits and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, contact Securian Financial Group. Product availability and features may vary by state.

Understanding your benefits

For questions about the benefits your employer offers, talk to your HR or Employee Benefits staff.

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