16 April 2021IT & claims management analysis

Sun Life unveils Stitch to broaden access to employee benefits for gig workers

Sun Life has unveiled Stitch, a platform allowing employers to offer supplemental health benefits to employees, including part-time and gig workers who are typically not eligible for benefits.

Stitch is fully administered by Sun Life and gives employees access to its portfolio of supplemental health benefits and team of benefits counselors and agents. It is initially available in Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, and will be rolled out to other markets in 2022.

Deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and co-insurance can add thousands of dollars to the cost of health coverage, which research by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows can be over $4,000 per year for a family. Stitch frees employers from the administrative burden of offering such benefits, allowing them to purchase coverage online or via mobile at any time of the year. Employees can also take their coverage with them if they change jobs.

Supplemental health benefits pay members directly if they have an accident, experience a critical illness such as cancer, stroke, or heart disease, or are hospitalised for several days. There are no conditions on how the lump-sum payments can be spent.

Sun Life said the benefits help close the coverage gaps in health insurance by cushioning the out-of-pocket financial burdens that can accompany a major health event.

David Healy, senior vice president of group benefits at Sun Life US, pointed to the number of employees who don't have access to benefits that complement their health insurance.

"With Stitch we are broadening access to supplemental health benefits by eliminating the administrative work for employers, making the benefits available to a wider range of employees, and making it easier for them to enroll, ask questions, and even take it to their next job," he said.