Does your benefits package align with YOUR business strategy, culture, and compensation.

When expenses outweigh income potential

If you are fortunate enough to be a member of an employer-sponsored group benefits plan, you are no doubt familiar with the extended health benefits that your plan offers. Coverage for dental cleanings, prescription medications, eyecare, and many other services can help you to focus on your health and wellbeing without being weighed down by the burden of occasional healthcare costs. But what if your medical needs suddenly became much greater than a yearly checkup or a monthly prescription, and you found yourself unable to work, either through illness or injury? Does your group benefits package include the financial support that you would need to stay afloat during a period of disability?

Statistics for disability are staggering: 1-in-4 will suffer a disability before retirement. Remember, a disability that lasts two years can continue to cause health problems for a lifetime. For this reason, disability insurance is an integral part of any long-term financial plan, no matter your age. A disability can be more financially devastating than death as it can take away your ability to earn your regular income, while your monthly expenses remain the same – or even increase.

Income is the foundation of the lifestyle you created, and if that income is no longer available, how will you maintain the household and pay expenses? An acquaintance recently confided that despite being covered for an unexpected disability by both WCB and a group benefit plan, financially, things were touch-and-go for months and he simply couldn’t afford to take the time for the recovery his doctors recommended.

There’s a difference between the non-evidence maximum and the overall maximum

To that point, employee group benefit plans have maximums and non-evidence maximums and are therefore an unlikely source for full income protection, as many employees do not bother to complete the medical questionnaire necessary to achieve the overall maximum. For higher income earners, the monthly maximum may still fall substantially short of their needs.

It is critically important for anyone eligible for an employee group benefit plan to understand their disability insurance coverage. This allows you as an employee to assess whether your coverage is sufficient based on your monthly expenses and life circumstances. Start by reviewing your employee benefits handbook and speaking to your benefits coordinator to clarify how much your disability insurance would pay if you became disabled. Find out whether you have maximized the amount you are eligible for, and if you haven’t, ask how to apply for an increase in coverage.

Having a financial plan

If your current level of disability insurance coverage is just not enough given your monthly financial obligations, or if you don’t have any disability insurance at all, speak to your life/accident and sickness insurance advisor about your options for individual disability insurance. No matter how young or healthy you may be, disability does not restrict itself to the old or infirm, and the time to act is before you’re unable to work. Your ability to earn an income is often your most valuable asset and it is worth protecting!

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Note: this was written without the aid of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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