Aflac moves to cover mental health, citing ESG and rising employee concerns
Flexible benefits cover changing needs of workers in post-pandemic environment
COLUMBUS, Ga., May 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac Incorporated, a leading provider of supplemental insurance products in the U.S., today announced the launch of its newly redesigned Aflac Group Critical Illness Insurance to help employers better support the changing needs of their valued workers in a post-pandemic environment. The newly designed product includes more standard and optional benefits, giving employers greater flexibility to design the coverage plan that meets the unique needs of their workforce. This has become increasingly important as critical illness insurance is one of the five fastest-growing benefits employers offer.1
Aflac's redesigned Group Critical Illness Insurance is a next-generation product, offering coverage for a growing list of acute and chronic conditions. In addition to benefits for serious health events and illnesses — like heart attacks, stroke and cancer — that are traditionally part of a critical illness plan, the redesigned product now gives employers the option to include coverage for infectious diseases, including the flu, pneumonia, human coronavirus and chronic conditions like diabetes.
Aflac's new Group Critical Illness Insurance product also offers a mental illness rider that covers serious mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. This benefit helps address alarming survey data that shows 80% of workers are worried about their mental health,2 particularly as studies show that chronic illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes, may increase the likelihood of having or developing a mental health condition.3 Health screenings, including mental health exams that can help detect potential problems before they become more harmful to a covered individual's health, are also available in the plan.
"The past two years have taught us that being prepared for potential medical challenge is essential for employers to maintain a safe and healthy workforce," said Bob Ruff, senior vice president, Aflac Group Voluntary Benefits. "Aflac's new Group Critical Illness Insurance, including new mental health and infectious disease coverage, allows employers to keep their benefits program robust in a way that is meaningful and relevant for today's workforce, while not impacting budget and cost constraints."
"Employees bring their whole selves to work. That includes everything they're dealing with physically, mentally and financially, and the last two years have been especially challenging," said Kim Rudeen, vice president, Aflac Product Development and Management. "Aflac's Group Critical Illness Insurance products were designed to meet today's rapidly changing benefits environment with flexible coverage that helps take care of expenses health insurance doesn't cover. Insured individuals can use their benefits to help with medical co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions or everyday living expenses like rent, utilities or child care."
Highlights of Aflac's strengthened Critical Illness Insurance product include:
- Hospitalization benefit for treatment of a covered infectious disease that is payable on day one of intensive care unit confinement or day four of hospital confinement, whichever is the highest applicable benefit.
- Expanded tests and screenings: New health screening benefits encourage people to seek care that can help detect health concerns, including annual vision exams, testing for certain human coronaviruses, biopsies, immunizations, genetic screening tests and mental health screenings.
- Customizable coverage: Modular expansions cover more chronic and serious illnesses that can be expensive to treat and could possibly lead to higher health insurance costs. The progressive disease rider provides optional coverage for conditions like COPD, Crohn's disease, advanced Parkinson's disease and advanced Alzheimer's disease, while the specified disease rider now covers human coronavirus, pneumonia, influenza, bird flu and Ebola.
- Cancer treatment rider: Rarely seen on a critical illness plan, this new rider provides benefits for therapy, hospitalization, inpatient and outpatient surgery, blood and plasma.