Because of its ubiquitous advertising campaigns featuring its duck mascot, Aflac is a well-known provider of supplemental health insurance.
What you may not know is that one of its supplemental policies is critical illness insurance (CII). Many third-party analysts consider Aflac one of the top CII providers.
CII is supplemental insurance that pays a lump sum benefit if you are diagnosed with a covered illness. It is designed to help people financially who incur the cost of treating and recovering from expensive illnesses and procedures.
The most common covered conditions include cancer, heart conditions, stroke, and organ damage, including transplants. Some policies may also provide coverage for less common conditions, such as blindness, deafness, ALS, cystic fibrosis, severe burns, major head trauma, and coma.
The severity of your condition will determine whether you receive a benefit. The more serious your prognosis, the more likely you are to receive a full benefit from the policy. Critical illness insurance policies pay partial benefits for less serious conditions. And you may not receive benefits at all if the condition is easily treated.
CII policies generally do not cover chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or multiple sclerosis. They also do not cover pre-existing conditions.
Aflac, founded in 1955, is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s for its financial strength. The company offers a number of insurance products, including accident, hospital, cancer, dental, life, and short-term disability. Most of its products are sold through agents and brokers, as well as group policies available through employers.
Aflac's CII plans are guaranteed issue up to $20,000, meaning you automatically qualify when you apply for coverage without medical underwriting or health questions to answer. When available, higher coverage amounts do require medical questionnaires.
You need to work with an Aflac agent in order to get a quote for coverage. On its website, the company says its CII policies offer “weekly rates as low as a gallon of milk.”
Aflac’s CII policies typically cover:
- End-stage renal failure
- Heart attack
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Ischemic stroke
- Major organ transplant
- Bone marrow transplant
- Severe burns
- Loss of sight, hearing, or speech
Aflac says it will pay a lump sum benefit to the policyholder upon initial diagnosis of a covered illness when the diagnosis is caused by or solely attributed to an underlying disease. Cancer diagnoses are subject to its cancer diagnosis limitation. Benefits will be based on the face amount in effect on the date of diagnosis.
According to Aflac, most claims are paid out in around four days.
Some conditions, like non-invasive cancer or coronary artery bypass surgery, pay out less than your policy amount. For example, Aflac offers a skin cancer benefit that pays $250 for the diagnosis of the condition once per calendar year.
Supplemental insurance for cancer diagnoses is available as a separate cancer policy or as an optional rider for an additional cost on its CII policy.
Aflac also provides the ability to add other condition-specific medical riders, including those for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, HIV, and brain tumors.
Aflac’s CII policies also offer the following features.
- An additional diagnosis benefit that pays benefits for each different critical illness after the first, provided at least six months have passed between the two diagnoses.
- A reoccurrence benefit that pays out if you have the same critical illness a second time, provided at least six months have passed between the two diagnoses.
- Free coverage for dependent children. Your Aflac CII policy covers each of your dependent children at no additional cost. The benefit amount for children is 50 percent of the primary insured’s benefit amount.
- A waiver of premium after 90 continuous days of total disability due to a covered critical illness, for up to 24 months. This means you will not be charged a premium to keep your coverage active during this period.
- A successor insured benefit. If spouse coverage is in force at the time of the primary insured’s death, the surviving spouse may elect to continue coverage. Coverage would continue at the existing spouse face amount and would also include any dependent child coverage in force at the time.
- A health screening benefit for the primary insured and spouse. On group plans, Aflac may pay up to $50 for an annual preventative health screening.
Keep in mind some of these benefits may not be available on all Aflac policies. It may depend on whether you have an individual or group CII policy, and whether your group plan offers some of these benefits.
Joel Palmer is a freelance writer and personal finance expert who focuses on the mortgage, insurance, financial services, and technology industries. He spent the first 10 years of his career as a business and financial reporter.
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