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GUARDIAN LAUNCHES CRITICAL ILLNESS COVERAGE THAT PROVIDES CASH BENEFITS FOR AN UNPRECEDENTED RANGE OF AILMENTS

{ts '2008-08-21 00:00:00.000'}

As Medical Survival Rates Increase and High Deductible Health Plans Grow in Popularity, New Policy Facilitates Access to Cash That Can Be Used for Any Purpose
For media inquiries, contact:


Anayo Afolabi
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Tel: 212.598.8329
Anayo_Afolabi@glic.com
Kristin Mastrandrea
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Tel: 212.919.3965
Kristin_Mastrandrea@glic.com

NEW YORK, August 21, 2008 — The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), a leading provider of employee benefits for small to midsize companies, today announced the launch of what the company is billing as the next generation of critical illness coverage. Unlike traditional critical illness insurance, Guardian's employee benefit coverage includes a hospital admission rider that provides a per-diem lump-sum cash benefit for hospital stays for conditions not covered under the company's base critical illness insurance plan.
This new feature was designed to answer concerns that previous generations of critical illness policies were too restrictive because they only covered specific illnesses.
Guardian added an extra layer of protection in response to feedback from brokers and clients who wanted a product that could help people cope with a wider range of illnesses, not just the most common ailments. The hospital rider supplements Guardian's base coverage for six serious illnesses and health events: cancer, heart attack, stroke, major organ transplant, end stage renal failure (kidney failure) and coronary artery bypass graft.
Guardian enables employers to provide their employees with a benefit ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 upon the first-ever diagnosis of the six covered ailments. A recurrence feature provides further protection should a person experience a second serious illness. If the employer selects a hospital admission rider with a critical illness policy, a per-diem amount (customizable up to $500) is provided for hospital stays for illnesses and injuries other than the covered critical illnesses. Members are able to use the critical illness or hospital admission benefit payments any way they choose.
Employers also have the choice of establishing an optional wellness benefit — customizable from $25 to $100. It can be used for a variety of routine screenings and procedures designed to promote health and detect critical illnesses in the early stages.
In the face of perennial low national savings rates, increased employee cost sharing and higher health deductibles, many experts predict that the popularity of critical illness insurance will continue to grow and more companies will offer this protection as an employee benefit in the future.
Group critical illness insurance generally has simpler underwriting than individual protection and is usually offered at a discounted group rate. This can help to provide affordable protection against typical out-of-pocket costs not just related to medical expenses like alternative and out-of-network treatments but also indirect ancillary costs including travel to treatment centers, lost wages from a spouse taking time off and household bills on a decreased income.
Guardian believes that the perfect storm of economic conditions creating the need for critical illness is augmented by the fact that survival rates for widespread illnesses such as cancer, heart attacks and stroke are on the rise.
"People who have comprehensive health and disability coverage are often surprised by out-of-pocket medical and unanticipated non-medical expenses," said Barry Petruzzi, second vice president, Group Benefits, Guardian. "It isn't surprising that critical illness insurance is prevalent in Europe and Canada where universal health care coverage is available because even when medical coverage is very low or free, there are significant costs associated with experiencing a serious illness. Group critical illness insurance was designed to provide an affordable solution."
Guardian expects to rollout its critical illness coverage nationally over the next few months. The product is currently available in 26 states.
Guardian specializes in providing employee benefits to small and midsize companies. Guardian serves more than 120,000 employers, and 6 million employees and their families. The company has issued a series of educational surveys and reports to help employees, employers and benefit decision makers better understand how they can jumpstart their financial lives and improve employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction by maximizing the use and power of their workplace coverage. Five reports currently available in the series include:
  • Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Critical Illness Insurance
  • Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Medical
  • Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Dental
  • Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Life and Disability Insurance
  • Benefits & Behavior: The Voice of American Business Owners and Benefit Decision Makers Today
The reports can be found at www.GuardianBenefits.com.
About Guardian
Founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, Guardian and its subsidiaries had $41.3 billion in assets (on a consolidated statutory basis). With close to 3,000 financial representatives and 80 agencies nationwide, Guardian and its subsidiaries protect individuals, small business owners, and their employees with life, disability, health, long-term care, critical illness and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities, and other financial products and trust services. Specializing in the small to mid-size business market, Guardian's Group business unit serves more than 120,000 employers, 6 million employees, and their families. More information about Guardian can be obtained at: www.GuardianLife.com.

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