NU Online News Service, June 15, 2004, 6:22 p.m. EDT – Standard Insurance Company, Portland, Ore., has added extra features to the basic benefits packages for 3 of its group insurance products.[@@]

Standard, a unit of StanCorp Financial Group Inc., will be bundling an employee assistance program into long term disability coverage for employers with 15 to 2,500 covered employees.

The company also will be building an international travel assistance program into its group life coverage for employers of all sizes and an “air bag benefit” into its accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies.

Horizon Health Corp., Lewisville, Texas, will be running the EAP. The EAP will provide eligible LTD plan members with up to 3 in-person counseling sessions each year and an unlimited number of telephone consultations. The program also will provide legal and financial counseling.

MEDEX Assistance Corp., Towson, Md., will run the travel assistance program for group life plan members. The program will help insured employees and dependents cope with problems that crop up when they are more than 100 miles from home or in a foreign country.

The third new benefit, the air bag benefit, will pay extra benefits when an insured employee dies in an automobile accident even though the vehicle’s original air bag system deploys in an effort to protect the employee.