Sun Life Financial Report Reveals Workers' Concern for Costs of Critical Illness
Many fear the financial impact of a critical illness more than dying from one
Cancer most dreaded critical illness
WELLESLEY, Mass. (July 15, 2013) The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF, TSX:SLF) today released “Well-Placed Fears: Workers’ Perceptions of Critical Illness,” a white paper based on responses from over 4,000 U.S. workers about the potential costs of a critical illness.
The report found that many workers feared the financial impact of a critical illness even more than dying from one. Such concerns may be driven by a rise in out-of-pocket health care costs, as employer-sponsored health plans require workers to shoulder an ever-rising share of medical costs.
To highlight this trend, Sun Life Financial included in its report estimates of per-person out-of-pocket medical costs for individuals covered by health insurance who experience a critical illness, including cancer ($6,740), stroke ($17,680), and heart attack ($14,234). Sun Life’s per-person out-of-pocket cost estimates for critical illness are based on claims data from over 300,000 of the firm’s Stop-Loss insurance claims.
“Our findings suggest that benefits brokers and HR decision makers might especially want to consider offering critical illness and cancer insurance if their employee base contains a significant group of women, workers age 40 to 50, or singles,” said Bob Klein, Senior Vice President of Sun Life’s Voluntary and Multiline divisions. “Further, our research shows that workers in the transportation, utility, business/professional services, and manufacturing industries also seem particularly concerned with the financial impact of a critical illness.”
According to the Sun Life critical illness white paper:
- Half of all workers, especially women and younger workers, cite cancer as their most dreaded critical illness.
- Most workers age 40 to 50 fear the financial impact of a critical illness more than they fear death, especially single workers, single women, and single parents.
- Of workers age 22 to 39, most single parents and single women earning under $50,000 fear the financial impact of a critical illness more than they fear death.
- Most workers in the transportation, utility, business/professional services, and manufacturing industries fear the financial impact of a critical illness more than they fear death.
Other key findings:
- Over one-third (36%) of workers believe they have critical illness coverage, when industry estimates suggest that under 5% of the U.S. workforce actually have critical illness insurance coverage.
- Two-thirds (66%) of workers who personally experienced a critical illness had to make financial sacrifices to meet uncovered medical or non-medical costs, despite owning health insurance.
- Over one third (37%) of workers who survived a critical illness found themselves out of work for four months or longer.
- Tapping emergency funds or dipping into long-term savings were the most common financial sacrifices made by workers who experienced a critical illness.
- 12% of workers who experienced a critical illness declared bankruptcy and 11% lost their homes.
"Sun Life’s research on critical illness underscores that even if you have robust health insurance coverage, a significant health condition such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke can divert a significant chunk of money from your savings, or in some cases, cost you your home,” added Klein. “Based on these findings, we think many workers will want to explore ways to increase their financial security in case they experience a critical illness.”
For the full report, see Well-Placed Fears: Workers’ Perceptions of Critical Illness.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including group and voluntary life, disability, dental and stop-loss insurance products. These products are issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in all states except New York. In New York, these products are issued by Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, visit www.sunlife.com/us.
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