After having been in the disability management business for over 60 years, Sun Life has grown in our appreciation of the role that we play when our members need us the most. When you have a medical condition, or even a happier event like a pregnancy that requires you to be out of work, the people that help you with that process can have a big impact.  The trends and patterns we see when our talented and caring staff interact with our members was the catalyst for the Clinical Claims Innovation Lab, an initiative where we continuously upskill our claims team to confidently engage in treatment discussions and assess readiness for return to work. From the insights we gained here, we were moved to develop our current partnership with AbleTo to provide virtual behavioral health services to members receiving benefits for cancer.

Here we are, about 6 months post-launch and the team and I have been heartened by the positive responses we are seeing to the program from both participating members and their employers.  

The connection Sun Life fosters with its members has directly translated into trust that we would offer them the best program to help them through this challenging time. 

We truly believe in driving client and member value by ‘making care and benefits easier.’ So, we are going to continue to analyze our results to find innovative ways to achieve even more member engagement with this valuable service offered at no additional cost to eligible members receiving benefits for cancer.

Feedback from our members on the AbleTo coaches included this quote:

"They were helpful, thoughtful, and they listened attentively. They were respectful to me and showed understanding. I would recommend them to anyone who needs help."

A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming

When we asked our enrolled members: 'How did the skills you learned make a difference in your life’, we heard:

“They allowed me to manage my time very well, practice self-care, maintain positive attitudes and relationships. They helped me to look at life in a meaningful way no matter the circumstances."

People have different communication needs when it comes to mental health

For example, our data showed that more women were enrolling than men, a statistic that is backed by other research. But it is also clear that mental health treatment can be linked to improved cancer survival, as it helps to be more invested in care during and after treatments. So, we made some modification to the initial member outreach script to reduce references to clinical terminology thereby creating an initial first contact designed to resonate more equally to all people.

Our members are our priority

Our partnership with AbleTo for eligible members receiving benefits for cancer was the first condition-specific clinical intervention program we have launched within our disability offering. As we continue to explore additional conditions where we can directly expand access for member health, we look forward to the impact we can achieve. Sun Life truly is making care and benefits easier.


In all states except New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA). In New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, MI).


SLPC 32008 1/23 (Exp 1/25)