Sun Life Financial’s US business group has launched a series of voluntary critical illness employee benefits designed to help offset out-of-pocket costs for workers.

Employers can select Critical Illness insurance, to provide coverage against illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke, or Cancer insurance to provide coverage against cancer and non-life threatening cancer, or Critical Illness and Cancer insurance together.

The plans will provide the options of recurrence benefit rider as well as coverage levels from $5,000 to $50,000, payable as a lump sum cash benefit upon diagnosis of a covered condition.

Additionally, the plans will also offer health care support service that include telephone access to professionals who can help employees and family members, whether or not they are critically ill.

Apart from wellness screening benefit, features of Sun Life Critical Illness Insurance also include an option to cover dependents for all categories of coverage including childhood diseases.

Sun Life senior vice president of voluntary and multiline Bob Klein said that for many workers, a critical illness’s out-of-pocket expenses could easily cost 15% of household income.

"That means critical illness coverage represents not only an important recruitment and retention tool for employers, but a way for employees to protect themselves against serious financial loss," Klein added.