a red heart symbolizing the cost of a heart attack or critical illness

AHA Highlights Critical Illness Insurance

The American Heart Association asked its online visitors yesterday to think about critical illness insurance during this American Heart Month. About 1.2 million Americans suffered a first or recurrent heart attack in 2007, and such illnesses may cause financial hardship, AHA said in an article posted on its Web site. The article described this type of insurance as a lump sum payable when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as a major organ transplant, kidney disease, or a heart attack, and pays for medical deductibles, co-pays, experimental treatment, child care expenses, travel to treatment centers, etc. AHA said New York City-based Guardian Life Insurance Company of America offers educational materials about critical illness insurance for brokers, employers, and other benefit decision-makers at www.GuardianBenefits.com.

"As a leading illness in the United States, heart disease disrupts families not only emotionally, but financially, as well," said Barry Petruzzi, second vice president, Group Benefits. "A 2008 Guardian study revealed that 90 percent 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."

AHA said the survival rate of heart attack victims is 67 percent today versus 45 percent in 1950.

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