Accidents occur every day and without warning – that’s why they’re called accidents. Small accidents that can be treated with supplies from a standard medicine cabinet are the norm. But sometimes the injuries are much bigger and significantly more expensive to treat.
Of course, most people are optimistic and tell themselves that serious accidents, the type that require treatment at a clinic or hospital, only happen to other people. But the truth is they can strike anyone at any time. Sometimes they occur in the course of everyday life: think kitchen accidents, sports injuries, or even tripping and falling. Other times, accidents leave us shaking our heads in disbelief. Just Google “freak accident” and you’ll come up with more than 13 million results.
Who pays for that?
Many people believe the Social Security Administration will step in to lend a financial hand if they’re seriously hurt, but that’s often an incorrect assumption. The Social Security Administration received more than 2.5 million applications for disability assistance in 2014 but approved just 811,000 of the requests.1 What’s more, upward of 90 percent of disabling injuries aren’t work-related, so they’re not covered by workers’ compensation.2
Adding insult to accidental injury is the fact that many U.S. families simply aren’t good at saving money. Half of all households fall into the financially fragile category: Just 48 percent of participants in the Federal Reserve System’s most recent survey on economic well-being said they could completely cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money.3 That echoes the results of the 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report, where 44 percent of workers surveyed said they would have to borrow from a 401(k), or another retirement account, to pay expenses related to a serious illness or accident.4
How employers can help
The good news? You can help your company’s employees cope with costs stemming from an unexpected injury by providing access to voluntary accident insurance. It’s a smart business decision when you consider that coverage may help them keep their minds on their jobs and not on personal financial issues.
According to the Aflac survey, 20 percent of workers have had difficulty paying medical bills. What’s more, 17 percent have been contacted by collection agencies about outstanding medical expenses and/or received dings on their credit reports for nonpayment. With that kind of trouble on their minds, it’s no wonder that 20 percent of employees named personal financial issues as the top non-work-related issue that distracts them on the job or that 59 percent said they’re likely to take a job with slightly lower pay but better benefits.
To find out how to help keep your workers more focused and productive – not to mention away from the “help wanted” ads – check out Aflac’s accident insurance.
1Social Security Administration, “Disabled-worker disability statistics,” accessed June 30, 2015 - http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/dibStat.html
2Facts from LIMRA, “Disability Insurance Awareness Month,” accessed June 30, 2015 – http://firstchoicebenefits.com/pdf/FCB_2014-DI-Fact-Sheet.pdf
3U.S. Federal Reserve, “Report on the economic well-being of U.S. households in 2013,” accessed June 30, 2015 - http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/2013-report-economic-well-being-us-households-201407.pdf
4The 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report, conducted in Feb. 2015 by Research Now on Aflac’s behalf, accessed June 30, 2015 – http://workforces.aflac.com
5Likely = extremely, very and somewhat likely, 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report
Bank of America, N.A. engages with American Life Insurance Company of Columbus (“Aflac”) to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Aflac Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Aflac. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.