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Critical Illness Insurance

Author: Colonial Life

Published: 2011-02-17 : (Rev. 2011-04-26)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Critical illness insurance pays an amount when diagnosed with heart attacks, cancer, strokes, coronary artery bypass surgery, major organ failure, transplants or other specified major medical conditions.

Main Digest

Critical Illness Insurance Gets to Heart of the Matter - Heart-related conditions top claims on critical illness policies.

Heart and vascular conditions account for more than half of all claims paid on Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company's critical illness insurance policies.

Critical illness insurance pays a set amount to insured people when they're diagnosed with or suffer heart attacks, cancer, strokes, coronary artery bypass surgery, major organ failure, transplants or other specified major medical conditions.

According to Colonial Life claims statistics, heart attacks, stroke and coronary artery bypass surgery together made up 58 percent of critical illness claims in 2010. Cancer accounted for another 35 percent. Other conditions, including kidney failure and transplants, were responsible for the remaining claims.

"National Heart Month in February is a perfect reminder to think about whether you have enough insurance protection for a critical illness such as a heart attack," says Randy Finn, assistant vice president, product development for Colonial Life. "Not only can these illnesses can be extremely expensive to treat, there are often significant non-medical expenses, so even employees with good major medical coverage may be left with large bills unpaid."

Voluntary critical illness plans pay benefits directly to the insured individuals, unless they specify otherwise. They can then use the money for non-medical expenses "such as mortgages, groceries, electric bills, child care, or travel to and from a treatment center "or for uncovered medical expenses, including deductibles, treatment bills, rehabilitation or home health care expenses.

Without adequate protection, people who suffer a heart attack or stroke, or undergo coronary artery bypass surgery, might have to use their savings or rely on the financial aid of family members to cover their expenses. In fact, nearly a third of Americans report their family has had problems paying medical bills, with 18 percent reporting bills in excess of $1,000.(1)

"A critical illness plan is for survivors," Finn says. "Some people may never be able to return to their old lifestyle, go back to the same jobs or return to work at all. Instead, they'll face a new way of life focused on recuperation, recovery and rehabilitation. Benefits from a critical illness plan can help ease financial worries so they can focus on getting well instead of paying the bills."

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through the workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service. Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, Mass. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group, one of the world's leading providers of employee benefits. For more information about benefits communication, call Colonial Life at (803) 798-7000 or visit

(1) Kaiser Tracking Poll, 2008, Kaiser Family Foundation.

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