We know that lack of healthcare access is a challenge for many Americans. While there are many reasons for this, a primary barrier and driver of delays in care continues to be due to cost and affordability. Health plans are the primary financial tool in affording care. Without health insurance, common surgeries and/or periods of confinement in a hospital can cost patients tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet even those who are covered by health insurance worry about affording care. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, half of insured adults under the age of 65 say they have postponed getting health care they need due to cost, and more than a third with insurance do not get provider recommended tests or treatment due to cost.
Avoiding care and preventative screenings regardless of the reason has consequences.
Aside from the increased risk of severe symptoms, avoiding care can also result in longer hospital stays, more expensive medications, or the need for a more aggressive treatment plan. Chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension can become life threatening without the appropriate care.
Affording care alone is a big financial concern for many. And those aren’t the only expenses patients must worry about after an unexpected injury or illness that can add up. Other expenses can include:
- Filling a prescription medication.
- Scheduling a consultation with a specialist provider that isn’t in-network.
- The cost of fuel and parking for an appointment.
- Child or elder care for primary caregivers.
- Lost wages for people who are unable to work.
- Or simply staying out of medical debt and other financial tradeoffs like cancelling a long awaiting vacation or tapping into retirement or tuition funds.
Most of these aren’t covered by health insurance but are equally as important for managing healthcare.
Fortunately, there are financial tools available to help close coverage gaps by making care more affordable and thereby more accessible. Products that help patients financially by paying them a cash benefit directly that can be used to help alleviate concerns around care affordability or protecting one’s lifestyle and financial goals. Supplemental health benefits provide financial protection against many injuries, severe illnesses, or periods of inpatient hospital confinement and many of these products are offered guaranteed issue meaning there are no medical or treatment history questions asked during the application process.
Good supplemental health plans also mean getting benefit payouts easily and quickly. These plans are designed to pay when care is delivered, and bills come due. Making it easy means not only being able to completely submit a claim on a smart phone or laptop but also working with a carrier that is actively looking to find payable claims the member forgot to or has yet to submit.
We foresee healthcare access remaining a significant challenge for Americans. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are provider availability and care affordability. For the latter, supplemental health benefits can help offset medical costs and other expenses to help people focus on living healthier lives and getting the care they need.
For more information on how Sun Life is responding to this important topic, please visit Sunlife.com/healthcareaccess
In all states except New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA). In New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, MI).
1150417569 6/23 (Exp 6/25)