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Critical illness insurance doesn’t have to be “critical”

By: Christin Kuretich, Senior Director, Product & Innovation

Critical Illness insurance was born in concept due to the soaring medical bills people would find themselves shackled with after surviving a critical health event, such as a heart attack or cancer. They may have survived the illness, but their financial well-being could have taken a hit. The need for a product like this made sense. The overall idea made sense. But over time, challenges arose.

Changing times

One of our biggest “A-ha!” moments that came out of the research we did for our new critical illness product, Trustmark Critical HealthEventsSM, was how people believed the language limitations in contracts didn’t align with their treatment or experience—which, in turn, resulted in confusion and claim denials. This was especially true when it came to the three most experienced conditions: cancer, heart attack, and stroke.1 

So, what can we all do about it—as a carrier, as an industry, as communicators—to help critical illness insurance evolve? 
  1. Adjust policy language to better reflect current diagnoses and treatment plans.
  2. Cover early signs of disease, including early identification through early stage—as we do not have the authority to say what is critical to the person who experienced it.
  3. Encourage consumers to help prevent disease which, in turn, makes everyone’s healthcare costs go down.
Early diagnoses, preventive health measures, and proper health event triggers should be a common part of any critical illness policy. What one may deem as a critical health event is not necessarily the same across the board. This industry is in for a new shift and critical illness insurance products may begin to be used in a broader way—and not just for the severely ill. Read more in the full article, published in the Broker Innovation Lab on BenefitsPRO.

About the Author

Christin Kuretich joined Trustmark in 2009. As senior director of product and innovation for Trustmark's accident and critical illness insurance products, she is responsible for researching marketplace trends and assessing the voice of the customer in order to create new product solutions for our customers. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

1Gen Re. U.S. Critical Illness Survey 2013/2014.

Posted on March 27, 2018