Articles

Viewpoints

Running a business is hard work, and looking out for the best interest of workers is a key part of the job. Use these Aflac articles to gain insight into employees’ thoughts about health care benefits, as well to find ways to use benefits to attract and retain productive and engaged workers.


An employer's guide to voluntary insurance
Changes to the way major medical insurance is purchased and delivered have made voluntary insurance more critical to a complete benefits plan than ever. Voluntary insurance options benefit employees – and they're just plain good business for U.S. companies. Read more.

Better together: The truth about insurance policy riders

What’s commonly known as a rider – an add-on to a basic insurance policy – can help make all the difference in the overall value of an insurance policy. Think of a rider as a little extra something that’s added to a basic life or health insurance policy to sweeten the deal and personalize coverage. Read more.

Voluntary insurance: Go with the group or go it alone?

Most employer-paid health insurance benefits, including major medical coverage, fall into “the more the merrier” category, with employees enrolling in group plans. But when it comes to voluntary coverage, both group and individual plans have distinct advantages, and employers can choose to provide workers with access to one or the other – or even both. Read more.

What is voluntary insurance – and why do employees need it?

Today’s workers are looking closely at their insurance coverage to identify gaps that might leave them vulnerable to medical expenses they’re ill-equipped to pay. Enter voluntary insurance, a type of coverage that’s not required or mandated, with enrollment that’s completely optional – which is why it’s known as “voluntary.” Read more.

3 workplace strategies for protecting your vision

If you think about it, lines and lyrics about vision are central to film and music, from The Who’s “I Can See for Miles” to Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” to Foreigner’s “Double Vision.” This may be because we use our eyes for almost everything we do, including reading, watching television, driving a car and playing sports or video games. Given that eyesight is so crucial, it only makes sense for people to safeguard their vision both at home and at work. Check out three simple steps for protecting eyesight while on the job. Read more.

5 fun ways to get kids to care for their teeth

Kids are cute, but they’re not exactly big on personal hygiene. In fact, if left to their own devices, most children would skip bath time for days on end. And without someone to cajole and wheedle, getting a kid to wield a toothbrush would be as rare as, well, hen’s teeth. How, then, to encourage your little ones to brush often and thoroughly? Most experts recommend starting while they’re tiny, but it’s never too late to encourage good habits or break bad ones. With that in mind, here are some ideas for making tooth-brushing time a bit more appealing. Read more.

Keep employees safe from winter danger

Construction workers, truck drivers, telephone and cable repairmen (and women), toll-booth workers, road workers … the list of people who do their jobs while exposed to the elements is long and varied. While their indoor counterparts are worried about catching the cold or flu, outdoor workers must also guard against frostbite, hypothermia, icy conditions and wind chills. Caring employers should pay special attention to winter-weather warriors by helping to ensure their safety. Check out these five easy tips for keeping workers warm when it’s cold outside. Read more.

If you’re giving your heart this Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s healthy

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and romantics throughout the nation have hearts and flowers on their minds. Perhaps it’s only appropriate that February is also American Heart Month. After all, when giving away your heart, it’s only polite to make sure your gift is working properly. The good news is that heart disease is not only preventable but controllable. Check out eight simple ways to improve heart health. Read more.

5 tips for staying healthy when the weather is frightful

Winter has arrived in all of its blustery fury and, as the classic song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside!” Keep the chills away – both the cold-weather and feverish type – with five simple tips for staying hale and healthy until the weather breaks. Read more.

3 easy ways to find money for voluntary insurance

When times are financially difficult, many Americans tighten their belts by eliminating items they want but don’t necessarily need. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of placing voluntary insurance in the latter category. Yet having the right type and amount of insurance goes a long way toward helping families remain financially secure. In an era of tight budgets, how can workers find the extra cash to pay the premiums? Fortunately, there are easy ways to save money and enjoy life too. Check out three no-pain ways to pay for voluntary insurance. Read more.

5 benefits and HR trends to watch in 2014

This year benefits and HR issues are anything but status quo. The health care landscape is shifting, the economy is still in recovery mode, and the workforce is rapidly changing. To help you track what’s coming next, here are five key benefits and HR trends to watch in 2014. Read more.

Fun facts and sad truths about hospitals and hospital bills

Today’s hospital costs are enough to make you sick – or sicker, if you’re the one receiving treatment. Most people’s stomachs do flips when they open their mailboxes to find their final invoices lurking inside. It’s no surprise that hospital bills are so scary when you consider that many families are living paycheck to paycheck. Americans’ track record when it comes to saving money isn’t exactly stellar: Half of all households are “financially fragile.” One tool some Americans use in their efforts to cope with mounting health care costs is hospital indemnity insurance. Find out why, and also learn some fun facts about hospitals through the ages. Read more.

5 practical reasons to offer voluntary insurance to employees in 2014

After the gluttony of the holiday season, most New Year’s resolutions center on getting and staying fit. But close behind are those focusing on financial responsibility –specifically on spending less and saving more. Changes to the U.S. health-care system have turned workers’ attention to their personal health-care spending. They want to know where their insurance dollars are going and are taking a close look existing coverage to identify gaps that might leave them vulnerable to medical expenses. Voluntary insurance can help fill those gaps. Read the full story.

8 tips for cutting costs without cutting the fun

Believe it or not, 2014 is just around the corner. For many people, the start of a fresh year symbolizes new beginnings centered on getting their finances in order, controlling spending and saving for the future.

Keeping track of expenses and putting money aside for those inevitable rainy days is challenging, but we’ve put together a few easy tips employers and brokers should share with workers to help them get – and remain – financially on track. Read more.

12 easy health tips to counteract holiday indulgence

Most of us start the holiday season with the best of intentions: We tell ourselves we won’t overeat, drink to excess or embarrass ourselves at the company office party. Most of us fail miserably on the first two counts but, if we’re lucky, avoid slinking shamefacedly to our workstations after dirty dancing with a caterer on the boardroom table.

Keeping in mind that holiday intake-control ambitions generally fall as flat as leftover New Year’s champagne, here are 12 health tips brokers and employers should share with workers after the 12 days of Christmas have come and gone. Read more.

Make 3 foundational decisions today for a successful 2015

While health care reform is getting into full swing, some companies are taking a “wait and see” approach in 2014. However, there are several important, tangible steps your business can take today to lay a firm foundation for the new era of health care in 2015. Get ahead of the curve by making three foundational decisions. Read the article.

3 powerful reasons for businesses to embrace a good cause

Who doesn’t love a cheerful giver? Yet, with a tight budget it can be hard to be chipper about generosity – even during the holidays. Odds are you know of a company involved in a good cause. But, did you know that giving can be more than an altruistic act of kindness? Embracing a good cause can have a powerful impact on society, and a positive effect on a company’s bottom-line, allowing your company to make a sustainable difference. Take a look at the powerful benefits of embracing a good cause. Read more.

S. Claus offers top-notch benefits advice

Every company needs strong benefits to retain and attract top employees, and Santa’s Workshop Inc. is no different. S. Claus takes time out of his busy holiday schedule to share the secrets of his top-rated Elf Care Benefits Plan. You’ll learn about the key benefits offered by his Workshop, as well as about some of the perks offered to his diverse workforce of elves, reindeer and abominable snowmen. You’ll also get insight into the North Pole’s top competitors for first-class talent (psst, Keebler) and find out the shocking reason Santa recently added a wellness plan to his Workshop’s benefits portfolio. Don’t miss this exclusive message from one of the world’s most experienced employers. Read more.

Hospitals: The “in” spots for holiday gatherings

There may be no place like home for the holidays, but many Americans spend the most festive days of the year in the very un-homelike atmosphere of a hospital room. You may laugh later about the time Dad fell through the attic ceiling and crash-landed in the cranberry sauce, but it’s not so funny when the family’s trooping en masse to the ER.

Accidents happen; that’s why they’re called accidents. Access to insurance that helps protect employees’ with unexpected out-of-pocket medical costs may not be the most exciting gift, but it’s something that’s valued by workers and their families throughout the year. Read more.

Health care in America: desperate measures

As health care costs continue to rise, Americans are taking desperate measures to pay off medical bills and gain access to treatment. Tactics have gone far beyond payday loans and borrowing from family and friends. They now include online pleas for strangers to send cash, selling off family heirlooms and, for some who urgently need care, even petty crime.

One way many employers help employees cope with spiraling medical costs is by adding an array of voluntary health insurance policies to their benefits options. Voluntary insurance allows workers to make their own decisions about what types of supplementary coverage they need and can afford. Read the full story.

Talk more than turkey this holiday season

The holiday season is here, and for most Americans it brings a rush of good cheer, the fun of choosing just the right gifts and wrapping paper, the bracing chill of winter air and – perhaps best of all – the joy of breaking bread (or wishbones) with friends and family from near and far.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t get to spend time in conversation with our loved ones as often as we’d like. That’s why when the celebrations die down and there’s a moment to talk more than turkey, the discussion should turn to key healthcare and financial-planning decisions.
Read more.

Smoking out a Killer

Most people have survival instincts that set off alarm bells when danger is at hand. How, then, to explain the fact that despite years of warnings, lung cancer remains one of the nation’s biggest killers? Even famous smokers aren’t immune: Two stars of the Marlboro Man advertising campaign succumbed to lung cancer.

Tamping out cigarettes for good isn’t easy, but what better time than October to coincide with The Great American Smokeout? Employers and brokers should also consider the value of cancer/specified-disease insurance, which helps workers guard their incomes from the high cost of lung cancer treatment, as well as other cancers. Read more.

Diabetes: What Workers Should Know and Employers Should Tell Them

For most Americans, deciding what to eat is no big deal. But for adults and children with diabetes, choosing a meal is a serious matter. Diabetes complications can be serious and include diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so why not use it to find out more about diabetes and commit yourself to not only employee raising awareness, but also to providing workers with access to voluntary coverage that can help protect their families’ financial well-being. Read more.

Scary Stuff: The Conversation Too Many Americans are Afraid to Have

Halloween revelers and scary-movie fans enjoy brushes with imaginary death in the form of vampires, zombies, mummies, ghostly specters and other shiver-inducing creatures, but they’re not so keen on confronting the real thing. Discussions about end-of-life medical care, wills and life insurance are uncomfortable and, for some people, downright scary. But employees who face their fears help ensure that if the worst happens, their loved ones won’t have to cope with the truly terrifying prospect of scraping by on a sharply reduced income or, in the worst-case scenario, no income at all. Read the full story.

When Halloween Becomes Hallow-Whoa!

In southern parts of the United States, you often hear adults asking young children for sweet kisses with the phrase, “Give me some sugar.” Every October, the tables are turned as kids go from house to house seeking a different kind of sugar: Halloween candy. The folks at My Science Project have determined that those cute Halloween candy buckets hold 9 pounds of sugary goodness and that the old standby, a pillowcase, holds 48. Smart parents will have a toothbrush at the ready – and smart employers will offer voluntary dental insurance. Read more.

What’s Cooking: Voluntary Policies for Women

Today’s woman may bring home the bacon, but don’t count on her to fry it up in the pan: Married Gen X males are more involved in grocery shopping and cooking than their Baby Boomer dads. While men are heating things up in the kitchen, what are women doing? Forty percent are sole or primary breadwinners, yet they do three times more housework and twice as much child care as men. Since women remain our nation’s primary caregivers even as they increasingly become primary breadwinners, take time to stress the importance of voluntary health insurance for women. Read more.

Breast cancer: Survival isn’t a woman’s only concern

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when people wear pink ribbons in honor of the women – and men – fighting breast cancer and those who have gone before them. It’s also a month in which individuals and corporations participate in fundraisers, with money earmarked for breast cancer detection, treatment and research. Just as important, though, are efforts to drum home the facts about breast cancer, including the effect it can have on a woman’s self-worth and the negative impact of stress on her recovery. Read more.

Gridiron Madness! Touchdowns, Tailgating and Disability Insurance for the Win

Another summer is drawing to a close. For some, the passage of time is marked by multi-hued autumn leaves and bright yellow school buses. For others, fall means just one thing … It’s football season, people!

This year, two players dominate sporting news: Johnny Manziel, the Heisman-winning Texas A&M quarterback, and Jadeveon Clowney, the University of South Carolina defensive end and consensus No. 1 NFL draft pick. Manziel and Clowney have more in common than gridiron talent. They both recently purchased disability insurance, and the average worker should consider coverage too. Get the full story.

Workers need coverage for accidents both straightforward and strange

Accidents occur every second and affect all sorts of people. Whether it’s falling off the roof while stringing Christmas lights or slipping on a freshly mopped floor, stuff just happens. Google “freak accidents” and you’ll get thousands of examples, some chuckle-worthy in a “you’ve got to be kidding me” kind of way and others downright sad.

As an employer or broker, you have a vested interest in helping workers understand just how common accidents really are – and in ensuring they have access to disability insurance that goes to work in those unlucky moments. Get the full story.

As School Bells Ring, Workers Should Study Up On Insurance Benefits

The lazy days of summer are drawing to a close and kids are heading back to school. While many parents are waving goodbye at bus stops, others are fighting back tears as older kids move into college dorms and off-campus apartments.

Back-to-school is a natural time to help workers ensure they have the right amounts and types of insurance coverage. While their kids are settling into the new school year, parents should make sure their health, life, homeowner’s and auto coverage get passing grades. Get the full story.

Two Thrifty Ways to Make Every Day Labor Day

At many companies, Labor Day is simply a one-day work break marking the transition from summer to fall. This year, why not use the holiday as it was intended by celebrating the contributions of workers whose dedication keeps businesses running every season of the year?

Many employers continue to dig their way out of the recessionary environment and don’t have funds on hand to honor workers with bonuses or expensive Labor Day events. That’s no problem, though, because two gestures most coveted by workers – employer gratitude and better benefits – can cost businesses nothing at all. Get the full story.

Step Off the Health Insurance Merry-Go-Round with Six Key Voluntary Benefits

Employers, workers and benefits experts are dizzy from the merry-go-round of changes to the way health care benefits are purchased, delivered and paid for. Many companies are seeking ways to control their benefits-related spending. Employee-paid voluntary health insurance policies are one way businesses can trim expenses while providing workers with access to needed coverage. Take a look at six key voluntary options. Read the story.

The Times of their Lives: Why Change Should Trigger Employee Life Insurance Reviews

Summer means fun in the sun for kids, but it’s often a time of change for adults: new college graduates settle into their first “real” jobs, wedding bells ring, babies arrive and families move to new homes. All of this life-altering activity makes summer a good time for employers to communicate with employees about the importance of regular life and health insurance reviews. Read the story.

The Big Breakup: Handling a Worker’s Departure with Grace and Professionalism

Employees today aren’t like those of yesteryear – they don’t take jobs and remain in place until it’s time to collect a pension and a gold watch. Companies have changed too, making the promise of a pension and a fancy timepiece rare. Although savvy human resources professionals will do all they can to retain their companies’ best and brightest, including putting great benefits packages in place, breakups are sometimes inevitable. The key is handling them with professionalism and respect. Read the story.

A Shot in the Arm for American Businesses: Worker Vaccinations

When you think about vaccines, you probably envision a child cringing at the sight of a needle. But adults should get their fair share of needling too. Vaccinations protect against illness, hospitalization and death. Employers should provide coverage for recommended vaccinations as part of their benefits plans. July is National Immunization Awareness month, so it’s a good time to ensure employer benefit plans cover immunizations. Read the article.

Voluntary Insurance 101

Voluntary insurance offers the workforce a way to stay ahead of the medical and out-of-pocket expenses that add up so quickly after an accidental injury or illness. This booklet addresses commonly asked questions regarding the relevance of voluntary insurance, as well as who needs these policies, what is covered in them and a quick look at four popular policies.

Vacation Reading For Those Who Can’t Leave the Office Behind

If you’re one of those people for whom a lounge chair and umbrella is merely an office with a better view, you’re probably not going to spend much vacation time engrossed in escapist beach reading. In fact, you’re likely to be surreptitiously answering emails and reading work communications when you think your family members aren’t looking. Good news: We have some vacation reading ideas for you. Read the article.

Safety Awareness Month: Danger On and Off the Job

Workload issues, boredom, interoffice squabbles – all are common at workplaces. But those issues are mundane compared to the challenges facing fishermen: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says fishing is the most dangerous job in America.

Even if workers aren’t headed for the high seas, smart business leaders keep employee well-being in mind. And June is National Safety Awareness Month – a good time for employers to consider whether their workplaces are safe and to consider adding short-term disability and accident insurance to their benefits packages. Read the article.

Summer’s Here – Make Sure Workers Don’t Get Burned

With the hot summer months upon us, Americans are soaking up the sun as they embark on beach vacations, host backyard barbecues and engage in outdoor activities with kids who’ve been sprung from their classrooms.

Many are slathering on sunscreen to avoid the hot, stinging sensation that accompanies sunburn, as well as to protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays that lead to skin cancer. After all, the American Cancer Society reports that a whopping 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States each year, more than all other types of cancer combined. Read the article.

Disability Insurance: Protecting Your Employees Means Protecting Your Business

As an employer, you have procedures in place to help employees overcome workplace concerns, but you may sometimes wonder what you can do to help them overcome personal challenges. Did you know that one of the most meaningful things you can do for your workers is provide a robust benefits package that includes disability insurance? It's true: 38 percent of workers surveyed as part of Aflac's 2013 WorkForces Report said that by offering strong benefits, employers signal they care about their employees' well-being. And workers who believe their employers care about them stay in their jobs longer and are more loyal and productive. Read the article.

Secrets to Building a Loyal Small Business Workforce

Small businesses are often at a disadvantage when it comes to providing competitive benefits. Larger companies have greater purchasing power and can buy employee coverage at more competitive rates. With the opening of health care exchanges, you may be wondering how much value employee benefits can bring to your company’s success. A recent Aflac survey discovered key HR and benefits best practices revered by best-in-class companies that can help small businesses better compete. Read the article.

Voluntary Insurance: Go with the Group or Go it Alone?

Most employer-paid health insurance benefits, including major medical coverage, fall into “the more the merrier” category, with employees enrolling in group plans. But when it comes to voluntary coverage, both group and individual policies have distinct advantages, and employers can choose to provide workers with access to one or the other – or even both. The advantages of voluntary insurance are clear, but it’s up to employers to decide what type of coverage they’ll make available to workers. Read the article.

Critical Illness Coverage Lets Employees Concentrate on Recovery

As a benefits decision-maker, you understand the importance of critical illness coverage. However, most people arguably do not. Americans are well-versed about the availability of, and need for, major medical, home and vehicle insurances. But many simply don't know that critical illness coverage exists, never mind the financial relief it can offer to those who suffer a critical illness. Read the article.

Supplemental Insurance Helps Manage Costs of Cancer

Cancer affects millions of Americans nationwide, and for many, the diagnosis brings potentially devastating financial burdens – even if they have major medical insurance. It is for these reasons and more that voluntary cancer insurance is becoming increasingly important in helping consumers combat the high costs associated with a cancer diagnosis. Learn more about voluntary cancer insurance, what it is and how it can help cover costs major medical doesn’t. Read the article.

Short-Term Disability Insurance Key Component to Financial Protection

As Americans strive to safeguard their finances, one area gets little attention is disability insurance. Most workers underestimate their risk of experiencing a disability and overestimate the resources available to them. Voluntary disability insurance plays an important role in financial planning and safeguarding financial futures. Read the article.

Hospital Indemnity Plans Take the Sting Out of Hospital Bills

 The high cost of hospital stays combined with the likelihood for any individual to require one in their lifetime, is driving a growing need for supplemental hospital indemnity insurance. Learn more about hospital indemnity insurance, what it is and how it can help cover costs major medical doesn’t. Read the article.

Accident Insurance Helps Provide a Financial Safety Net

Accidents happen. A common phrase tossed around, but a reality that can happen to anyone at any time. While major medical insurance may pay some costs, most people have expenses after an accident they never thought about before. From out-of-pocket medical costs to a temporary loss of income, a wide range of expenses can put a strain on your finances. Read the article.

Designing Benefit Programs for Different Generations

When designing benefits programs for the generations, it is imperative to take a holistic look at each age cohort, including varying education levels, experiences, life factors and even personality characteristics. Each of these aspects plays a role in what options are best suited to a generation, and more importantly, that appeal to those workers enough to drive participation and enrollment. Read the article.

3 Benefits Enrollment Tips for Small Businesses

To help make this year’s open enrollment a success, our experts have compiled a list of the top nine benefits enrollment tips for you and your employees. Read the article.

Case Studies


Aflac Helps IT Business "Accent" Its Employees' Affordable Benefits Coverage

Voluntary insurance approach extends creative and affordable solutions. Read the article.

Aflac Helps Ketcham Fencing Construct More Competitive Benefits Packages

Trusted voluntary insurance aids employee recruitment and retention. Read the article.

Indiana Furniture Partners with Aflac to Craft State-of-the-Art Employee Benefits

Furniture company receives "overwhelming" response to voluntary insurance options. Read the article.

Tips


3 Ways to Make Tax Time Part of Your Benefits Strategy

Tax time is just around the corner and, this year, many employees will see a new number on their W-2 statement: the dollar amount paid towards their health benefits. The new requirement, along with employees’ heightened focus on tax season offers a unique opportunity to boost benefits communications and highlight your company’s investment to attract, protect and retain a talented workforce. Read the article.

Protecting Your Assets: 5 Steps to Financial Health

In uncertain economic times, people are more focused than ever on protecting their assets. When you've worked long and hard to earn what you have, prudent planning can help make sure you're insured against unforeseen life events that could cost you your savings. Here are five steps consumers should take in order to help protect their financial health.
Read the article.

7 Key Facts Small Businesses Need to Know About Public Health Care Exchanges

As a small business leader, a SHOP exchange offers you new opportunities in the benefits marketplace, as well as with workforce recruitment and retention. This article covers common questions and answers to help you understand the details of these programs to make better informed decisions for your workforce. Read the article.

3 Important Reasons to Promote Breast Cancer Screenings to Your Workforce

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is one of the best forms of prevention. Whether your business hosts a screening or encourages employees to schedule one with their physician, here are three important reasons to promote breast cancer screenings to your workforce. Read the article.