Don’t Mess With Success

Mar 28, 2023

A recent story in the New York Times highlighted the ongoing challenge that employers across the United States are having filling job openings. Earlier this year the unemployment rate was at its lowest point since 1969.

One proven way that employers can attract workers is by offering better benefits, especially those that employees can’t easily get on their own. A prime example: supplemental benefits, which include accident, critical illness, hospital indemnity, cancer, and other specified disease plans.

These benefits help families after an unexpected illness or accident. By offering supplemental benefit products, employers can differentiate themselves in today’s ultracompetitive employment market with benefits that provide workers with financial certainty.

These benefits are a supplement to medical health insurance, not a replacement. Many consumers are at a severe financial risk from steep costs that are not covered by their medical insurance. Supplemental benefits can provide the financial cushion that families need.

Unfortunately, policymakers in the nation’s capital are being pressured to make a change that could make it harder for employers in communities across the nation to offer these benefits. This will result in many Americans losing practical support that makes a positive difference in their lives.

Policymakers have announced plans to amend regulations concerning short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI) plans because of worry they undermine the integrity of the Affordable Care Act. ACLI does not have a position on that proposal. However, some well-intentioned but ill-informed advocates are asking them to include supplemental benefits in the rule and make sweeping changes in what protections can be included in those products, potentially decreasing their protective value significantly.

Supplemental benefits serve a different purpose and are marketed and sold differently than STLDI insurance. Lumping them together in federal regulatory action is wrong, and consumers throughout the United States will be impacted negatively as their coverage won’t be protected.  

Washington should focus on the problem at hand, and not do something rash that would create another problem for everyday Americans. Any efforts to change STLDI plans should avoid making it harder for employers and their workers in all 50 states to access valuable supplemental benefit policies.

Lauryl Jackson

Lauryl Jackson is Vice President, Federal Relations for Financial Income Security and Diversity & Inclusion for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). Prior to joining ACLI in January 2020, she led government affairs strategy for the priorities of the pharmaceutical industry.