Aflac, the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the work site in the United States, announced today the launch of its newest product, Group Hospital Indemnity.

Designed to provide flexible coverage for both routine medical care as well as catastrophic illnesses and accidents, this product will help employees pay out-of-pocket costs that major medical was never intended to cover. The new product was introduced in 40 states throughout January.

A key feature of the new product is the ability to customize coverage with three plan levels and multiple optional benefit categories. With this flexibility, each employer can offer a plan designed to best complement their major medical plan and pay cash benefits to employees to help them cover out-of-pocket expenses on a case-by-case basis.

Other enhancements such as no pre-existing condition limitations, no termination age, first-child coverage included, simplified surgical benefits and a two-year rate guarantee are now standard product benefits. Plus, employers can build HSA-compatible plans, if desired.

"With health care costs continually being shifted to employees, many Americans are financially unprepared to cover the costs of a major accident or illness," said Dan Lebish, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Aflac Group.

In addition to Hospital Confinement, Admission and Intensive Care benefits, the base hospitalization plan will include an intermediate intensive care step-down unit benefit, which is payable for each day an insured is confined in an intermediate intensive care step-down unit because of a covered accidental injury or sickness. The Aflac Group Hospital Indemnity plan also will give employers the option to include the following:

Building Benefit – This rider automatically increases the benefit amount of some of the base hospitalization plan benefits at each anniversary for five years, with no change in premium or additional underwriting. This feature was developed as a way to reward customers for their long-term commitment to the company.

Treatment Benefits – Treatments covered under this benefit include outpatient doctor’s visits, telemedicine services, diagnostic exams, emergency room visits, prescription drugs and rehabilitation facility care associated with a covered accidental injury or sickness.

Surgery and Anesthesia Benefits – This benefit is payable for each day that, due to a covered accidental injury or sickness, an insured has an inpatient surgical procedure while hospitalized or an outpatient surgical procedure performed by a doctor in a doctor’s office or urgent care facility.

Health Screening Benefit – Payable once per year, this benefit when included covers health screenings performed as the result of preventive care, including tests and diagnostic procedures ordered in connection with routine examinations, such as blood tests for triglycerides or certain types of cancer, vision tests, chest X-rays and immunizations.

"Just one hospital stay can devastate an employee and his or her finances," Lebish added. "It’s a simple fact, but it’s one that underscores the importance of hospital indemnity insurance and the financial protection it can provide when the unexpected occurs."