COLUMBUS, Ga., Feb. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the United States, is making it even easier for customers to access much-needed financial support while they are in the hospital.
Among the enhanced customization options, the new Aflac Choice hospital policy features an industry-first benefit: the Initial Assistance Benefit. Most times, hospital visits are unplanned, and you may not be prepared for the immediate expenses that may pop up, such as hospital parking, meals for your family or babysitters. And it can sometimes take weeks for hospitals to send the necessary paperwork to file claims. That's where this benefit delivers – payments are made directly to the insured when first admitted to the hospital, even if it's for less than 24 hours – with just a simple signature from the physician.
Designed as a small-business solution
For small businesses, balancing benefits value and cost containment is a constant challenge. Aflac Choice is available at no direct cost to the employer and helps alleviate medical and daily living expenses that can negatively impact employee morale and productivity. And because the base plan is guaranteed issue, any employee who applies for coverage can get it – so there's no pressure to make sure a specific number of employees participate in order for all to qualify for coverage.
"Small-business owners understand the importance of a strong benefits package, but they also have to keep costs in check," said Stephanie Shields, vice president of Product Innovation and Marketing at Aflac. "Aflac Choice makes it simple. Employers offer employees a customizable plan they can tailor to their lifestyle and budget without impacting their bottom line. And employees' lifestyles are better protected when an injury or illness requires hospitalization."
Customizable to meet employee needs and budgets
Major medical insurance is designed to cover everything from a stomach bug to appendicitis, as well as other illnesses and injuries that can result in a hospital visit. However, even people who have major medical coverage often forget to consider that their insurance may not cover the total financial impact of an unexpected hospital stay, which, on average, lasts 4.6 days and costs $11,000.1 These unforeseen costs can overwhelm employees, causing a ripple effect of challenges that may force them to choose between paying bills not covered by health insurance and paying for day-to-day needs, like transportation or child care. Intended to help employees supplement their existing major medical coverage, Aflac Choice helps provide financial peace of mind by paying a set amount directly to the insured, unless otherwise assigned, helping employees keep their lifestyles intact and focus on recovery, not on bills.
Aflac Choice has a more simplified base plan design and higher benefits for inpatient rehabilitation facility care, short hospital stays and emergency room visits than previously available, allowing policyholders to customize their coverage to their specific needs and the needs of their families:
- Hospital Stay and Surgical Care Rider: This rider includes the Initial Assistance Benefit, which pays a covered person $100 once per calendar year as soon as they are admitted to the hospital. It also offers benefits for second surgical opinions.
- Extended Benefits Rider: This rider provides additional financial protection through a physician visit benefit, which now covers psychologist visits, acute/urgent care and telemedicine. With telemedicine, policyholders can save valuable time by choosing where to consult with a doctor – whether it's from home, work or on the go.
Receiving hospital coverage has never been easier
The base plan and Extended Benefits Rider are guaranteed issue, meaning they are available to any eligible employee regardless of medical history. And with no participation requirements, any employee who applies for coverage can receive it.
Aflac Choice is currently available in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas. The company intends to introduce Aflac Choice in additional states across the country throughout 2017. To determine when it will be available in your state and to learn more about Aflac Choice, please visit aflac.com/hospital.
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leading provider of voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac individual and group insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 10 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2016, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 18th consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 15th time, ranking the company No. 1 in innovation for the insurance, life and health category for the second consecutive year. In 2015, Aflac's contact centers were recognized by J.D. Power by providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. Aflac Group herein means Continental American Insurance Company and/or Continental American Life Insurance Company.
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1 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Trends and Projections in Inpatient Hospital Costs and Utilization, 2003-2013, Statistical Report No. 175, accessed Nov. 11, 2016 - http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb175-Hospital-Cost-Utilization-Projections-2013.pdf
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