Supplemental Insurance: The Millennial’s Guide To Coverage

This post is sponsored by Aflac. I was compensated for writing it, but all opinions are 100-percent mine. 
I remember seeing the Aflac commercials as a kid (mostly because of the duck); however as both a new member to the workforce and a creative entrepreneur, I knew that it was time to really start paying attention.

Most of you know that I have been able to create income from blogging; however, some of you may not know that I also have a full time job as a Cytogenetic Technologist...basically a scientist (no need to pull out the good ol’ dictionary!).  In my job, I handle blood all day and sometimes come into contact with sharp objects. While this seems like a much more dangerous job than blogging, they can both have their risks.

With the level of blogging that I am at, I get invited to cover events all around the country, which gives me the opportunity to experience new people and adventures on a regular basis. Whether it be covering New York Fashion Week, interviewing musicians backstage at a music festival or hosting an event in another state, my job keeps me on the move and in a variety of different settings. Although I always pray for the best outcome, there is always a risk of getting hurt on the job.
I know that a lot of you reading are also creative entrepreneurs or side hustlers; therefore, the thought of insurance beyond what is required probably sounds daunting. I had never even considered having supplemental insurance until an Aflac representative came to talk to my roommate at our apartment community. Aflac offers several policies for supplemental insurance, including Accident, Short-Term Disability, Critical Illness, Cancer, Hospital and Life.

While primary insurance is definitely a beneficial necessity, major medical insurance may not cover every expense related to a serious health event. If you are a creative entrepreneur like myself or an entry-level employee in the workforce, chances are that you aren’t prepared to pay for deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious accident or illness. Instead of paying for those expenses out of your own pocket, you can use supplemental insurance to help fill in the holes. Supplemental insurance from Aflac pays cash when you’re sick or hurt so you can focus on recovery, not financial stress.

While my roommate has decided to add Accident, Short-Term Disability and Cancer, I am still deciding what supplemental insurance policies work best for me. Therefore, in order to help both myself and any other millennial considering supplemental insurance, I have decided to lay out the different policies and describe them with help from Aflac:

Accident insurance
How is it useful? 
Accidents can happen to anyone at any time and could be everything from a broken arm to a broken back – or worse. While major medical insurance may pay some doctor, lab, pharmacy and hospital costs, many people who experience a serious injury are confronted with out-of-pocket expenses that can drain a vacation fund or prevent people from paying down student loan debt. Accident insurance can provide cash benefits quickly so you can live life to the fullest while recovering, instead of worrying about how to pay monthly bills. 

What life stage(s) does it make sense for?
New employees: Many younger workers lead active lifestyles and have longer work commutes, which create higher risk of accidents – this means they should consider accident policies to help mitigate the financial impact of an accident.
Middle-career employees: Many people in this phase of life are still active themselves or are parents of small children who are accident-prone. Organized sports benefits are also available specifically for accidents that happen during practice or games.
Employees approaching retirement: Because accidents don’t discriminate by age, these employees should examine their needs and lifestyles to determine whether accident insurance is a necessary part of their benefits plans.

Short-term disability insurance
How is it useful? 
Let’s say you get hurt and can’t work. Having a disability insurance policy in place can help cover what your paychecks would have. This means you can maintain the ability to focus on recovery and the lifestyle you love. 
What life stage(s) does it make sense for?
Every life stage.  Because disabling injuries or illnesses often lead to significant medical bills, anyone who works – whether they are single, married, with children or without – should consider supplemental disability coverage. 

Critical illness insurance
How is it useful? 
Advances in medicine mean people today live longer lives, which is wonderful, but it means they may suffer from critical illnesses like strokes or heart attacks. Naturally, this means paying more treatment-related costs – which could have an impact on the ability to maintain your desired lifestyle. Critical illness insurance can help make sure you aren’t worrying about medical finances during once-in-a-lifetime family events, like weddings, graduations and births. 
What life stage(s) does it make sense for?
New employees: Those with family histories of strokes or heart attacks should consider this type of insurance when they’re young and healthy because you may be able to lock in a less expensive rate than if you wait to start coverage until you’re older.
Middle-career employees: 47 percent of recent survey participants ages 40 to 50 said finances would be their top worry if faced with a critical illness, far more than the 29 percent who named dying as their primary fear.[1] Protect your finances and help put your mind at ease with a critical illness insurance policy.
Employees approaching retirement: All employees at this stage should consider this policy given that critical illnesses are increasingly common with older age.

Cancer insurance
How is it useful? 
Most people know someone who has been touched by cancer. For many, a diagnosis is a difficult financial challenge, even if they’re covered by major medical insurance. A Duke University Medical Center study found that the average monthly out-of-pocket cost for cancer patients insured privately, through Medicare or both is $1,266.[2] That could be like adding another monthly rent or mortgage payment – can your current budget handle that?
What life stage(s) does it make sense for?
Every life stage.

Hospital indemnity insurance
How is it useful? 
The average length of a hospital stay is 4.6 days at a cost of $11,000.[4] Have you ever thought that just a few days in the hospital could result in a financial setback of that size – even AFTER major medical insurance covers its portion? The reality is that it could. Luckily, hospital indemnity insurance can help fill in the financial holes so your savings can still go to that holiday budget or new car fund.

What life stage(s) does it make sense for?
New and middle-career employees: For employees with low or moderate salaries, one in-patient stay could mean years of medical-related debt, which makes hospital indemnity insurance a smart option to consider.
Employees approaching retirement: Since illnesses and injury are increasingly common with age, this type of insurance could be especially useful for people at this stage in life to think about including in their benefits packages.

Life insurance
How is it useful? 
Life insurance can help provide your surviving loved ones with financial protection when it’s needed most. Benefits can be used to help cover immediate expenses such as funeral arrangements, everyday living expenses and long-term obligations. 

What life stage(s) does it make sense for?
New and middle-career employees: Regardless of what age you are or how seasoned you are in your professional career, any employees who have children or who have made a significant purchase such as a home should consider supplemental life insurance.
Employees approaching retirement: Longer tenures often mean higher income, which likely means a higher standard of living. Purchasing a life insurance policy could mean helping those left behind maintain that same lifestyle they’ve come to enjoy.

Have you ever considered supplemental insurance? Which Aflac plan would benefit your lifestyle the most?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

[1] Sun Life Financial, “Well-placed fears: Workers perceptions of critical illness,” accessed July 19, 2016 –http://www.sunlifesummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Critical-Illness-Research-Whitepaper_7.pdf    
[2] Clear Health Care Costs, “By the numbers: Out-of-pocket costs for cancer treatment,” accessed July 19, 2016 -http://clearhealthcosts.com/blog/2011/08/by-the-numbers-out-of-pocket-costs-for-cancer-treatment/   
[4] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Trends and Projections in Inpatient Hospital Costs and Utilization, 2003-2013, Statistical Report #175, accessed July 19, 2016 - http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb175-Hospital-Cost-Utilization-Projections-2013.pdf
Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.
This is a brief product overview only. Coverage may not be available in all states. The policy has limitations and exclusions that may affect benefits payable. Refer to the policy for complete details, limitations, and exclusions.  For costs and complete details of the coverage, please contact your local Aflac agent. 
Z161056K 10/16

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