The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF, TSX:SLF) today announced a series of voluntary critical illness employee benefits to help protect workers against the out-of-pocket costs of a qualifying critical illness, such as a stroke, heart attack, and cancer. According to a Sun Life Financial critical illness report, even U.S. workers with health insurance are financially unprepared for a critical illness. Nearly one-third of workers who experienced a critical illness had to dip into savings earmarked for future needs, according to the critical illness survey, while over 10% had to sell their homes and/or declare bankruptcy. Such financial sacrifice reflects high out-of-pocket medical costs for critical illness, which average approximately $17,000 for stroke, $14,000 for a heart attack, and nearly $7,000 for cancer, according to Sun Life’s proprietary claims data. 1 Loss of income from disability can further add to the burden, the Sun Life critical illness report revealed. “When a critical illness strikes an employee or their loved ones, even robust health coverage may only go so far,” said Bob Klein, Sun Life’s Senior Vice President of Voluntary and Multiline. “For many workers, a critical illness’s out-of-pocket expenses could easily cost 15% of household income. That means critical illness coverage represents not only an important recruitment and retention tool for employers, but a way for employees to protect themselves against serious financial loss.” Features of Sun Life Critical Illness Insurance Employers can select from three different Sun Life group plans:
- Critical Illness insurance, to provide coverage against illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke
- Cancer insurance, to provide coverage against cancer and non-life threatening cancer
- Critical Illness and Cancer insurance together
- Recurrence benefit rider, which pays a benefit for a new diagnosis involving a recurring illness
- Coverage levels from $5,000 to $50,000, payable as a lump sum cash benefit upon diagnosis of a covered condition
- Cash benefits can be used however the claimant wants—for example, to cover out-of-pocket medical costs, transportation and parking costs for hospital visits, exploratory treatments, or mortgage liabilities.
- Health Care Support Service2, provided by ComPsych® Corporation, includes telephone access to professionals who can help employees and family members, whether or not they are critically ill, to:
- Understand medical coverage, diagnosis, and treatment choices,
- Coordinate with health care providers,
- Help prepare for health care visits, tests, and procedures, and
- Navigate medical bills and other administrative issues.
- Option to cover dependents for all categories of coverage, plus childhood diseases, such as cerebral palsy, complex congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and muscular dystrophy.
- Wellness screening benefit, which promotes healthy lifestyles, pays employees each calendar year if they submit proof of a wellness screen, such as an electrocardiogram, diabetes test, or mammogram.
- Depending on the group size and participation, option to offer plans as Guaranteed Issue, which means employees may elect to participate without providing evidence of insurability.
About Sun Life FinancialSun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including group and voluntary life, disability, dental and stop-loss insurance products. These products are issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in all states except New York. In New York, these products are issued by Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, visit www.sunlife.com/us. About ComPsych ComPsych ® Corporation is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs (EAP) and is the pioneer and worldwide leader of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, HR and FMLA administration services under the GuidanceResources ® brand. ComPsych provides services to more than 19,000 organizations covering more than 53 million individuals throughout the U.S. and over 120 countries. By creating “Build-to-Suit” programs, ComPsych helps employers attract and retain employees, increase employee productivity and improve overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.compsych.com. 1 Based on medical claims data of 319,580 employees (including their spouses and dependents) who are covered under multiple employer-sponsored health plans. First dollar claims data provided by Sun Life Stop-Loss policy holders. Though cancer, heart attack, and stroke are the three most commonly occurring critical illnesses, the average total out-of-pocket costs for “critical illness” ($7,575) include numerous and varied diseases weighted by incidence rate. 2 HealthChampion® health care support services are provided by ComPsych®. It is not insurance, and it carries a separate charge, which is added to the cost of the insurance. The cost is included in the total amount billed. Sun Life is not responsible or liable for care, services, or advice given by any provider or vendor of the Service. Sun Life reserves the right to discontinue the Service at any time. ComPsych® and HealthChampion® are registered trademarks of ComPsych® Corporation. SLPC 24984 appvd: 6/13; exp: 6/14