Offering critical-illness insurance as a voluntary benefit allows employers to provide high-deductible health plans while guarding employees against the resulting higher out-of-pocket health care expenses, Bob Patience writes. The product isn't widely known, but its potential market is promising -- the number of employers switching to high-deductible health plans increased from 12% in 2010 to 26% last year, Patience writes, citing a Mercer report.

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