Women may be more likely than men to lend money to friends and relatives who are in need due to medical problems.

Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, says 55% of women surveyed said they had lent money to friends or family members who were in medical distress. Only 34% of men said they had done so.

Guardian has published those figures in a summary of results from a February telephone survey of 504 men and 511 women, ages 18 and older, who live in private households in the United States.

Guardian says it undertook the survey to see how illness and the current poor economy have affected employees’ decisions about worksite benefits, particularly voluntary, employee-paid products.

Guardian found that 68% of full-time employees say they, their relatives or their friends have been disabled, seriously ill or too sick to work.

The company also found that 41% of those employees would consider paying the full costs of some benefits not currently offered by their employer, if the employer were to make those benefits available.

Asked which benefits they would consider paying for on a voluntary basis, 58% of the survey participants said disability insurance; 56%, critical illness insurance; 55%, dental insurance; 52%, life insurance; and 48%, vision benefits.

But 38% of the survey participants said they did not what the difference was between critical illness insurance and disability insurance, and 38% said they did not know the difference between critical illness insurance and medical insurance.

-tt