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Guardian Launches Comprehensive, Consumer-Driven Healthcare Program

New Program Pairs Medical Plan with Health Savings Accounts and Supplemental Coverage for Critical Illnesses and Hospital Stays

NEW YORK, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the largest and oldest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee benefits for small and mid-sized companies, today announced it is offering a comprehensive, high-deductible healthcare plan that helps employers and their employees save money on health care, while providing a broad array of benefits.

Guardian's innovative approach to consumer-driven healthcare packages a High-Deductible Healthcare Plan (HDHP) with a triple tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA) and supplemental critical illness coverage. This combination offers medical plan members an additional source of funds that can be used for any reason, should they be diagnosed with certain serious illnesses or face an extended hospital stay for any other reason. The plan also includes 100% coverage for preventive healthcare and access to Guardian's broad network of quality providers.

"In today's challenging economy, it's more important than ever to employers -- and employees -- to rein in healthcare costs without sacrificing benefits or quality," said Tim Bireley, Vice President of Group Medical. "This plan provides mid-sized and smaller companies with access to a lower cost, comprehensive healthcare option without reducing benefits for employees."

The new Guardian plan responds to consumer attitudes and concerns about healthcare expressed in a nationwide healthcare survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for Guardian in December of 2008. "The Guardian survey showed that although 60% of people say that they know about HSAs, there is still widespread confusion about HSA benefits. More than 80% of those surveyed were not aware of the features and advantages they provide such as tax-free savings for healthcare costs," said Bireley.

Guardian emphasizes the importance of face-to-face education to address misperceptions about HSAs and high-deductible health plans. Guardian offers services such as access to a certified enrollment specialist, on-site enrollment meetings, and an employee benefits hotline to help answer questions and provide information to plan participants.

Four out of five survey respondents say they would like to have more control over decisions that influence the cost of healthcare and that the price of healthcare should be more transparent to help consumers make better decisions. High-deductible plans with HSAs help address this need by empowering consumers to exercise more control over their expenses and health care through HSA accounts.

Guardian is also introducing enhanced wellness features that will provide participants with a broad range of tools and services to help them take an active role in managing their health. Consumers will have access to an array of advice and information resources to help them make better health care decisions as well as alternative medicine discounts to give them more options for staying healthy.

Guardian medical and critical illness plans are available in select states.

About Guardian

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the largest and oldest mutual life insurance companies in the United States, is known for its stability and strength. A Fortune 300 company, Guardian is the only major life insurer to earn upgrades from two major rating agencies in 2008: A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best and AA+ (Very Strong) by Standard & Poor's. Guardian also has retained ratings of Aa2 (Excellent) by Moody's and AA+ (Very Strong) by Fitch (ratings current as of April, 2009).

Founded nearly 150 years ago, Guardian and its subsidiaries are committed to protecting individuals, business owners and their employees with life, long term care insurance, disability income and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities and other financial products and trust services.

Guardian operates one of the largest dental networks in the United States, and protects more than six million employees and their families at 120,000 companies. The company has more than 5,400 employees in the United States and a network of over 3,000 financial representatives in more than 80 agencies nationwide.

For more information about Guardian, please visit:

SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
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