Crowdfunding the Unexpected Comes at a Cost

Crowdfunding the Unexpected Comes at a Cost

More Americans are turning to the generosity of strangers to pay for unexpected expenses, potentially ignoring more predictable options through their workplace enrollment benefits.
Generosity is part of our DNA. The U.S. is among the top 20 nations in the world for charitable giving, according to the Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index.1 We dig deep for causes that matter to us and people who matter to us – even those we don’t know.
It seems, however, that more and more Americans may be banking on that generous spirit of crowdfunding to get them through unexpected, tough times – especially when it comes to health issues. Requests for charity grew even more common during the pandemic, but the success of those campaigns often missed the mark. Un recent study of crowdfunding campaigns found that 43% of them didn’t draw a single dollar.2 And more than 90% never hit their goals.3
There are more predictable options to help pay for unexpected costs that people may overlook right in their own workplace.

You’ve Selected Your Health Insurance, Here’s What’s Next

Many U.S. workers have a chance to review, choose and update their insurance benefits options annually. Their main focus at enrollment time is selecting a health insurance plan that’s best for them, their family and budget. But employees sometimes skip right past other insurance benefits that can help protect their income and pay for things that health insurance doesn’t cover.
For example, there are insurance benefits that pay cash directly to employees and their families in times of injury, illness, and sadly, even death. The cash payments can be used to supplement their income and fund household bills, childcare, transportation, high health insurance deductibles, co-pays or other costs.
Some of these insurance benefits are offered by employers at no cost to employees.  Others are available to employees for a relatively small monthly fee. Here are a few of the insurance options – other than health insurance – that pay cash benefits and may be offered during open enrollment.

Seguro por incapacidad

If an employee is sidelined for an extended period due to a non-work-related injury or health condition that prevents them from working, disability insurance, also known as income protection benefits, pays them a portion of their salary on a regular basis. Short-term income protection benefits often come with professional clinical and emotional support to help employees quickly return to work as safely as possible. Long-term income protection benefits may also provide professional support to help individuals manage disability-related challenges when they are unable to return to work.

Seguro de vida

This benefit helps during the most devastating times in someone’s life – the death of a loved one. The beneficiary receives a lump sum payment upon an employee’s death. In addition, a severely ill employee may have the option to withdraw cash from the plan to pay for end-of-life expenses, long-term care or even pay off a mortgage or start a college fund to alleviate a family’s future burdens.

Supplemental Health Insurance4

These insurance benefits generally provide lump sum cash payments for eligible services, treatments and/or hospitals stays relating to accidents, injuries and/or severe illnesses and conditions:
  • Accident insurance, also known as accidental injury benefits
  • Critical illness insurance, also known as critical illness benefits
  • Hospital indemnity insurance, also known as hospital cash benefits
  • Accidental death & dismemberment insurance, also known as accidental loss of life and severe injury benefits
The plans can often be layered to help create a stronger financial safety net. Consider that a heart attack sufferer could get a cash benefit for the diagnosis under a critical illness plan and another cash benefit for a hospital stay under a hospital cash benefits plan. Plans like accidental injury benefits have “wellness benefits”, so a follow-up preventive care appointment, like physical therapy, could provide an additional lump sum payment.

Personal Pleas or Personal Empowerment

Unlike the high costs of monthly health insurance premiums, supplemental health insurance is relatively affordable. A monthly premium for some of these plans costs around the same as a cheese pizza. For example, for $11 a month, an individual could buy $20,000 in critical illness benefits.
Rather than feeling helpless and relying on the kindness of strangers to pay for things like hospital bills or funeral costs, employees have an opportunity to prepare for these setbacks. Taking a closer look at these often-ignored benefit offerings is a great first step. 
Kindness is always good. But so, too, is self-empowerment.
1 Charities Aid Foundation’s World Giving Index, June 2021. Reviewed 4/13/22
2,3 A cross-sectional study of social inequities in medical crowdfunding campaigns in the United States, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Washington, Bothell, WA 2020. Reviewed 4/13/22
4 Supplemental Health products (Accident, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Accidental Death & Dismemberment) are independent and do not coordinate with any other health coverage.
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