By Jill Nagy
If you’re like most people, you worry – at least a little – about getting cancer. If you do, AFLAC has a deal for you: pay a small amount each week or each month; if cancer strikes, the duck will pay you a relatively large amount; if you don’t get cancer, you lose your money, but you don’t have cancer to contend with.
AFLAC calls the policy supplemental health insurance and, like any insurance, the purchaser essentially bets against him or herself; the policy only pays if something bad happens. The supplemental health insurance policies are intended to cover things that traditional health or medical insurance does not cover: deductibles, co-pays, mortgage payments, grocery bills, travel, household help. In fact, there are no restrictions on how the money is used. The company writes checks directly to its policy holders and sends them directly to the policy holders. If you want to drown your sorrows in well-aged scotch, you can use the money for that.
You can hedge your bets by adding a rider that covers stroke, heart disease and end stage renal disease; you can also include a spouse and/or children in the policy. In addition, there is a “wellness benefit” rider available that pays a bonus for cancer screenings. Get a mammogram and AFLAC will pay you $75.
In addition to the cancer policies, AFLAC sells similar policies for accidents, sickness that requires hospital care, dental care, and vision care. Except for the last two, the policies are available to individuals or through employers; the dental and vision policies are only available through an employer. There is no general all-catastrophe policy but, of course, you can purchase more than one.
The company also sells disability and life insurance policies. The disability policy is the only one that is income-related, because it is regulated by New York State insurance laws and regulations which, among other things, limit the amounts that can be paid out. Term, whole life and juvenile life insurance products are also sold by AFLAC. The company does not sell traditional health or medical insurance or other common types of insurance such as automobile liability or homeowner’s policies.
Rosanne Curran, in AFLAC’s Glens Falls office, has been with the company for 12 years. She sells the policies but she also has a policy of her own. She recalls that, when she was diagnosed with cancer, she received payments at the time of diagnosis and at different stages of her treatment. Typical payouts range from $2,000 to $25,000, depending upon the level of coverage chosen and the length of treatment; her payments exceeded $17,000.
Premiums depend upon the level of coverage chosen and do not change if the policy is used. You must be under 64 years of age when purchasing an individual policy; under 70 for an employer policy. However, the policy will not be cancelled when you reach 64 or 70. Premiums vary. They can be as low as $2.79 a week for a low-level individual policy or as high as $12.51 for a high-end policy covering the entire family.
Curran suggested that payroll-based policies are particularly advantageous to employers because they are funded by pre-tax payroll deductions. Therefore, the company (and the employee) can save on payroll taxes. How much of that do you sell? “A lot,” replied Curran.
The company was founded in Columbus, Georgia, in 1955. At the outset, the company sold only cancer policies. Today, it offers a variety of policies, the actual choices varying from state to state. In New York, regulation is especially strict, Curran noted.
AFLAC’s Glens Falls office is at 241 Ridge Street; that phone number is 480-4106. The Saratoga Springs office is located at 15 Maple Dell; the telephone number is 689-3251.