News Release

WASHINGTON – New research finds women with children are likely to be financial decision makers for their households and oppose a proposed federal regulation that would eliminate many supplemental insurance benefits as a financial planning option for their families.

Conducted February 22-27 by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nationwide survey of 1,006 adult women with children found that 93 percent reported they’re either the sole household financial decision maker (51 percent) or they share the responsibility with another household member (42 percent). Among the parents surveyed, 86 percent reported it either very important (55 percent) or somewhat important (31 percent) for the federal government to support access to supplemental insurance benefits. The federal “Tri-Agency Proposal” targets supplemental benefits.

Supplemental benefit policies cover health expenses excluded from primary medical insurance -- coverage a worker receives on the job, for example. They help cover costs not normally covered by medical insurance such as safety modifications to an apartment or home, transportation to a medical facility, co-pays and deductibles, and many other things normally paid for “out-of-pocket”. Earlier research found that these benefits are important for middle-income families: 80% of adults with annual incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 view supplemental insurance benefits as valuable for financial protection.

“Health events often deliver significant blows to family budgets,” said ACLI President & CEO Susan Neely. “It’s clear from this Morning Consult research that women with children view supplemental benefits as a valuable option to protect their family’s finances.”

The research found most mothers, 82 percent, believe supplemental insurance benefits are valuable; 77 percent of those who are currently employed say that having the option to purchase this coverage through their employer is appealing.

Supplemental benefit policies are commonly sold through employers, though they also can be obtained individually.

Supplemental benefit products are not a form of primary medical coverage and are therefore distinct from the limited medical insurance products, such as short-term limited duration insurance, discussed in the Tri-Agency proposal. Life insurers are committed to ensuring that consumers are informed on what supplemental benefits products cover and the financial protections they provide prior to purchase.

Among other things, the proposal would disallow many benefits now available to policyholders of certain supplemental products. It also questions whether certain benefits from cancer or other specified disease products should be disallowed. The proposal would also create new requirements for employers by making them report supplemental benefits paid to their employees as wages. For the policyholder, that would mean these benefits are taxable and could discourage people from obtaining the financial protection they need.

The combination of higher taxes and the elimination of many existing benefits could make these products much less protective for families.

Nearly half of the women with children surveyed reported having faced financial hardships as a result out-of-pocket medical expenses.

“An average 3-day hospital stay is $30,000. And last year, an average U.S. employee paid $1,763 out-of-pocket in medical expenses. These are very high costs for middle-income families.

“Proposing structural changes to supplemental benefit policies and tax changes that would make them inaccessible to the very people who need to protect their family finances makes no sense at all,” said Neely.

See ACLI supplemental benefits information.


The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) is the leading trade association driving public policy and advocacy on behalf of the life insurance industry. 90 million American families rely on the life insurance industry for financial protection and retirement security. ACLI’s member companies are dedicated to protecting consumers’ financial wellbeing through life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, reinsurance, and dental, vision and other supplemental benefits. ACLI’s 275 member companies represent 93 percent of industry assets in the United States.


Jack Dolan, 202-624-2418

Jack Dolan, 202-624-2418