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Women, Health and Group Critical Illness Insurance

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May marks National Women’s Health Month and is dedicated to educating women about how to take control of their health and make positive changes.

Despite this, the inadequacy of health care coverage continues to play a pivotal role in women pursuing preventive care or services and following through on recommended tests and treatments.

In addition, the growing cost of health care means medical bills can add up quickly. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, 26% of women indicated they delayed or went without care due to costs, and the same number reported having trouble paying medical bills within the past year.

(Related: 3 Things Employers Should Know About Financial Wellness Services)

Fortunately, innovations in group critical illness insurance have helped create a turning point in addressing women’s health issues. Depending on the plan, traditional critical illness coverage can pay benefits when a person experiences a covered serious illness, such as a stroke, coma, cancer and more. Insurers understand now more than ever the challenges women face — medically and financially — and are adapting their plans to include more benefits covering diseases that impact women.

This could be a particularly time to talk about this kind of coverage with your group health clients.

Meeting women’s holistic health needs

Critical illness coverage can be particularly relevant to women’s health needs. For example, heart health is a major issue for women. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in American women, claiming more than 400,000 lives each year, according to the American Heart Association. Critical illness coverage can help with expenses related to heart attack, cardiac arrest and more — and at a time when recovery should be the most important thing, the high cost of medical treatment can be overwhelming.

But critical illness coverage is not just for the heart. Women account for almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Similarly, two to three times more women than men develop multiple sclerosis, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Companies like Aflac offer benefits as part of their group critical illness coverage for these diseases in case of a diagnosis.

Another innovative benefit for health screenings helps cover tests performed as the result of preventive care, including diagnostic procedures ordered in connection with routine examinations. This can encourage women, who often put their family’s health concerns over their own, to be proactive.

Showing care and focusing on what matters most

Workers and consumers alike are increasingly looking to businesses to do their part in helping take care of their employees beyond traditional benefits. That is why supplemental coverage, which is different than health insurance, can be important in helping demonstrate care for employees. Insureds choose how they want to use their cash benefits, allowing them to focus less on their finances and more on recovery.

As you connect with clients during National Women’s Health Month, see how innovations in group critical illness coverage can help empower women to better take care of themselves and get help with expenses health insurance doesn’t cover.

— Read 18 Reasons Americans Are Afraid to Retireon ThinkAdvisor.

Stephanie Shields (Photo: Aflac)

Stephanie Shields is senior vice president of broker sales at Aflac