The number of employers offering voluntary health insurance benefits as part of their overall benefits package grew by 9 percent in 2014 compared to 2012, according to a study by Aflac, a major provider of voluntary options.

Aflac's release announcing the results of the survey didn't say whether employee demand or employer plan design changes is the primary driver of this uptick. But Aflac noted that 42 percent of respondents said they weren't prepared to pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with a serious illness or accident, precisely the kinds of events voluntary options cover.

Further, the research found that employees who work for an employer that includes voluntary benefits in their plan report being more satisfied with the jobs than workers who don't have access to voluntary options.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.