Guardian Widens Availability of Critical Illness Plans*
NEW YORK, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- As employers struggle to provide quality employee benefits in a difficult economic climate, insurers are working to enhance products to meet the changing needs of both employers and employees. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee benefits, has recently made several enhancements to its critical illness plans aimed at increasing flexibility and giving access to more employees:
- Employers may now waive the pre-existing condition limitation on employer-paid plans with 10+ lives. This makes Critical Illness an even better fit when sold alongside of a high deductible medical plan and allows for a smoother claims payment process with less delays.(1)
- Employees may take the coverage with them if they leave their employer up until age 70. This gives employees more flexibility and makes the Guardian group product more competitive against individual critical illness products.
- Employers with 2 – 15 employees may now offer Critical Illness coverage to their employees. This gives small company employees access to the same benefits as large company employees.
With Guardian critical illness coverage, an employee who has a heart attack, stroke, cancer diagnosis, or other critical illness receives up to $50,000(2) to use for uncovered medical expenses as well as non-medical costs. When paired with a hospital admission rider, the plan pays a per day benefit up to $500 for as many as 10 days per year for an extended hospitalization due to a serious injury or illness not covered by critical illness.
Critical illness coverage is important because during a health crisis, families not only incur out of pocket medical costs, but can also incur enormous costs that have nothing to do with the actual medical care their loved one is receiving – a spouse's lost wages due to caretaking, high commuting costs to and from doctor's offices, and an increased need for child care. In fact, two-thirds of the costs of cancer are non-medical.(3) Health plan providers typically only reimburse eligible medical expenses.
"Our offering matches up against any other carrier's offering in the group critical illness market," says Barry Petruzzi, second vice president, Guardian Life & Disability. "The combination of the critical illness lump sum with the hospital admission rider that covers an employee for any other illness or accident is an innovative and attractive feature."
(1) Available on groups with 10+ eligible lives.
(2) Limited to $25,000 for groups with 2-9 lives.
(3) The American Cancer Society, 2007.
* The Critical Illness benefit is not available in all states.
A mutual insurer founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and its subsidiaries are committed to protecting individuals, business owners and their employees with life, long-term care, disability income, group medical and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities and other financial products. Guardian operates one of the largest dental networks in the United States, and protects more than six million employees and their families at 120,000 companies. The company has more than 5,400 employees in the United States and a network of over 3,000 financial representatives in more than 80 agencies nationwide.
For more information about Guardian, please visit: www.GuardianLife.com.
SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America