NACD offers distributors a unique voluntary benefits package through Affiliate member Pritchard & Jerden that provides financial support should illness or accident occur.
As an employee, if you suddenly found yourself needing long-term care were diagnosed with a critical illness, or suffered an accident, could you easily cover all medical deductibles, co-insurance and copayments? And what about potential lost income? Chances are that even with a good major medical policy, an unexpected medical emergency or diagnosis could impact your financial security.
Of course, nobody expects or wants to fall ill or have an accident but planning for that possibility could bring peace of mind, both to yourself and your family at a stressful time. To help distributors and their employees, NACD is now offering a voluntary benefits program for its members through Pritchard & Jerden, a privately-owned risk management and insurance services company based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Established in 1960, Pritchard & Jerden has grown to become a nationally recognized company with 98 employees.
Patrick Bell, principal and benefits consultant at Pritchard & Jerden, says with medical costs rising and deductible amounts increasing, having the proper coverage in the event of a sickness or injury takes on greater importance.
An Affiliate member of NACD since 2009, Pritchard & Jerden is currently working with a handful of NACD members to manage their insurance programs. “WE believe that our voluntary benefit association program would provide a tremendous amount of value to NACD, along with its members. We first introduced the program to NACD in the spring of 2016. The decision to move forward with the program was made in the summer,” says Bell.
The insurance group, which has partnered with Combined Insurance ( a division of Chubb US group) to provide a variety of options, has implemented similar voluntary benefit programs in other state and national associations.
The advantage of working with associations compared with a single employee is that because we can leverage the large numbers of association members, organizations can negotiate a program with very competitive benefits, premiums and underwriting offers that a single employer or individual could not access in the marketplace,” Bell explains.
He says the program for NACD members consists of voluntary products that are both unique and traditional. The most unique product offered is a term life/long-term care benefit – basically two benefits in one product – that offers up to $100,000 of term life and $300,000 of long-term care on a guarantee issue basis.
According to Bell, this benefit has been “tremendously received” because of the challenges of the current long-term care market, which include limited carriers offering products, restrictive benefits and difficult underwriting. “We are not aware of another product that matches this in the marketplace,” he says.
NACD says all employees within an organization receive the same guaranteed issue underwriting, which is a one-time offer and provides them with significant value. There are no minimum participation requirements and all employees and dependents are eligible to be covered.
The products offered by NACD and administered by Pritchard & Jerden include: term life insurance with 75 months of long-term care; critical illness plan, including cancer diagnosis; accident coverage with family cover available; short-term disability, including maternity; and cancer.
Not surprisingly, pricing, in most cases, is based on the product and age of the employee. The one exception, says Bell, is Combined Insurance’s accident product, which costs $222 a year per employee. With a $100 wellness benefit per individual and running it through payroll deduction, the annual premium can be as low as $60 -70.
Premiums will be deducted directly from employees’ paychecks, ensuring the policies are enforce when needed most. Bell says even the most generous benefits plan does not cover everything, but the experience, service, and flexibility of Pritchard & Jerden’s voluntary benefits through Combined Insurance could be beneficial to NACD member employees and their families.
So, what must NACD members do if they want to offer the program to their employees? First, the employer – or NACD member company – elects to offer the program to its staff on a payroll deduction basis. The products are then offered to all eligible employees. To qualify, employees must be working a minimum of 17 hours per week.
Bell says because all products are written on a guarantee issue basis, medical underwriting is not required. Products are available to employees of all ages with the exception of the short-term disability and term life/long-term care product with the maximum ages being 63 and 71, respectively. All plans are portable at the same premiums, meaning that if an employee leaves their employer, they can take the benefit with them at the same cost. Pritchard & Jerden also provides professional counselors for all locations in the US to help educate employees on the products.
As an employee, if you are reviewing your potential long-term care needs, then Bell says consideration should be paid to some government statistics. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average cost of residing in a nursing home is $6,235 per month and long-term care services are used on average for three years, with 69% of people requiring that type of care.
When it comes to critical care protection, statistics from the American Heart Association make sobering reading. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, killing more than 370,000 Americans every year, with one death very 84 seconds. Heart disease strikes someone living in the US about every 42 seconds. In addition, approximately 85.6m Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after effects of a stroke.
The HHS revealed some costs for the first time in May 2013, based on bills submitted by more than 3,000 US hospitals for Medicare patients. Its findings showed that the average bill for treating a heart attack without major complications at a hospital in Danville, Aransas, was $3,33. In Modesto, California, the same diagnosis incurred an average of $92,057. Bills submitted for treating heart failure with some complications ranged from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colorado, and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Mississippi.
Alternatively, if faced with a cancer diagnosis, the average cost of 8 weeks of chemotherapy could range from $10,000 to $30,000, according to non-profit organization LiveStrong in a 2013 report. The National Cancer Institute says initial cost of cancer care as a whole might be upp to $100,000, with continuing care costs ranging from $2,000 to $11,000, depending on the type of cancer.
Faced with these huge costs, Bell says it is important to remove worry about expenses when faced with the unexpected. The voluntary benefit offerings are guaranteed issue and can provide cash directly to the insured when it is needed most. The voluntary benefits pay in addition to other policies and may be used to fill gaps that major medical insurance cannot.
PROTECTING YOUR FUTURE
Voluntary benefits options include:
Term Life with 75 months of long-term care – pays a life and/or long-term care benefit
- Guaranteed issue for employees up to $100,000 term life and $300,000 of long-term care benefit
- Guaranteed issue for spouses up to $25,000 term life and $75,000 of long-term care
- Assist paying costs associated with nursing home, assisted living, adult day care and in-home care for 75 months
- Level premium to age 100, benefit pay out to 120
Critical Illness Champion – pays a lump-sum benefit that can be used to help cover the cost of recovery from a major illness
- Guaranteed issue for up to and including $25,000 lump-sum benefit for employees
- Spouse guaranteed issue for 50% of the employee benefit; children guaranteed issue for 25% of the employee benefit
- Covered conditions include cancer, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis along with others
- Triple benefit, along with a reoccurrence benefit
- $50 annual wellness credit
Cancer Care Protection – provides benefits that can be used to help relive some of the financial impact that comes with cancer treatment and recovery
- Guaranteed issue coverage for the employee and dependents
- $100 annual wellness benefit
- Diagnosis benefit of $10,000
- Chemotherapy and radiation benefit
Disability Income Protector – provides protection when sickness or injury stops paychecks from coming inside
- Guaranteed issue for up to 60% of your income or up to a $3,000 monthly benefit
- Simplified issue provides up to a $5,000 monthly benefit
- 6- or 12-month benefit periods
Accident Champion – provides specified benefits for treatment and recovery associated with accidental injury
- Guaranteed issue coverage for both the employee and the dependents
- $100 annual wellness benefit
- Sports package provides 25% higher benefits when an accident is due to participation in organized sports, up to $1,000 per insured, per year