June 19, 2013
By Tom Canty, Vice President and General Manager, Empire BlueCross BlueShield Government, Labor and Special Accounts
Insurance for pets, homeowners and cars, and, first and foremost health insurance, were the items consumers thought would be available to them through the public health insurance exchanges coming this fall. Some even thought travel insurance might be offered.
However, just as florists sell flowers and burger joints sell burgers, the focus of the public health insurance exchanges will focus solely on health insurance. Early research though suggests that many people expect disability insurance to be offered. In fact, just a quarter of all Americans know that only health insurance will be offered on the public exchanges.
As fall draws near, and consumers prepare to purchase their health insurance on the public exchanges, it will be important for them to know that disability insurance – insurance that helps replace a person’s income when they can’t work due to a disabling injury or illness — will not be one their options. Instead, they will need to purchase disability insurance either through their employer, or out on the open market.
An Empire survey, conducted to celebrate Disability Insurance Awareness Month, uncovered further confusion around the issue, with most believing that if they get sick, having health insurance coverage means that all of their health care needs are taken care of.
• This was particularly the case for the younger of those surveyed, falling within the ages of 18 and 34.
• This same age group also believed that if they were injured and unable to work, they would be helped through the health care reform laws.
The good news from this survey is that most consumers see the value of disability insurance; with 65 percent equating it to being prepared for the future. The challenge becomes making sure people have access to it, and know how to go about purchasing it.