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Guardian Highlights the Importance of Critical Illness Insurance During American Heart Month

Offers Insights on How to Avoid Financial Dilemmas When Facing Heart Disease

NEW YORK, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Matters of the heart receive significant attention during the month of February as millions in the U.S. recognize American Heart Month and celebrate Valentine's Day. During February and throughout the year, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) is asking families, business owners, benefit decision makers and employees to heed the impact that the heart can have on finances.

According to the American Heart Association, about 1.2 million Americans suffered a first or recurrent coronary attack in 2007. Recovering from illnesses like a heart attack often present financial burdens. Money from critical illness insurance, given as a lump sum amount when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness such as a heart attack, can be used at the policyholder's discretion and provide needed protection.

Critical illness insurance is often used to pay for both out-of-pocket medical expenses (medical deductibles & co-payments, out-of-network costs, experimental treatments) and hidden indirect costs such as child care expenses, loss of a family member's income from time off, and travel to treatment centers.

Guardian, a leading provider of employee and voluntary benefits, is encouraging Americans to learn about how critical illness insurance can help them in their fight against heart-related diseases such as heart attacks, coronary bypass and strokes and other serious illnesses such as cancer, major organ transplants and kidney disease. The company has developed educational materials about critical illness insurance for brokers, employers and other benefit decision makers. Information can be found at

"As a leading illness in the United States, heart disease disrupts families not only emotionally, but financially as well," said Barry Petruzzi, 2nd vice president, Group Benefits. "A 2008 Guardian study revealed that 90% of adults in the U.S. know someone who has battled a critical illness such as a heart attack, cancer or stroke. The prevalence of ailments like heart disease and cancer, coupled with high survival rates, underscore the value of critical illness insurance. If we could hand a $5,000 or $10,000 check to a person as they recover from a heart attack, stroke or cancer diagnosis, few would argue against the fact that the money would go a long way to help with recovery."

Important Facts about Critical Illness Insurance and Heart Disease

  • According to the American Heart Association, survival rates for heart attacks are 67% today, up from 45% in 1950.
  • Critical illness insurance can be very affordable when purchased at work. Insurance payments can be less than the price of four premium cups of coffee each month.
  • Group critical illness insurance is a low-cost complement to disability and medical plans, such as high deductible health plans. Critical Illness payments can help pay for deductibles associated with major illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke.
  • The Family Medical Leave Act enables relatives to take time off from work to care for loved ones, but does not guarantee pay. Critical illness insurance can be used to cover lost income for prevalent illnesses that trigger FMLA absences.
  • New generations of group critical illness insurance can provide additional coverage for hospital stays without regard to a particular illness. Older generations of critical illness only covered very specific illnesses.

From Guardian's Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Critical Illness Study

  • More than half (55%) of consumers are very or extremely concerned about being able to make key payments such as mortgage, car insurance and child care if they were to become disabled or hospitalized.
  • 61% of those that have experienced, or had a spouse experience, a critical illness encountered unanticipated expenses.
  • One in five Americans would fund uncovered medical expenses with a credit card if they faced a serious illness such as a heart attack.
  • Employees are interested in having critical illness insurance. Nearly 45% of consumers said that they would likely enroll in such coverage if it were offered at their workplace.

"A total protection portfolio that includes coverage such as critical illness insurance is typically found at large companies," added Petruzzi. "But Guardian levels the playing field by offering one of the industry's widest selections of benefits to small and midsize companies. These businesses are the economic growth engines of our society, and Guardian is committed to helping them provide their employees with low-cost critical illness insurance and other employee benefits that help families cope with life's uncertainties and protect their assets, health, loved ones and quality of life."

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:

SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
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