Original Medicare – which consists of Part A (Hospitalization Coverage) and Part B (Doctors’ Services) coverage – covers a broad range of services, this health care program can also leave out-of-pocket responsibilities to its enrollees, including various deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance payments.
Because of that, there are many people who decide to also purchase a Medicare Supplement insurance plan along with their Medicare coverage. That way, they can ease up on some of these health-related costs.
It is always a good idea to review the different plans that are available, as well as the insurance company that offers them. There are a ton of companies out there. Luckily, we’ve reviewed a lot of them. We sure to head over to our Mutual of Omaha company review and read it over before. Medicare Supplement insurance coverage is not provided by Medicare directly, but rather by individual insurance carriers – and, while the benefits that are offered in each plan of the same corresponding letter are required to be the same, the amount of the premium that is charged can differ from one insurer to another – in some cases, significantly.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you will be paying a fair price and that the insurance carrier is strong financially. One company that fits these criteria is Aflac.
The History of Aflac
Aflac was initially founded back in 1955. Since the company’s very beginning, it has always put the customer first. Aflac was started by three brothers – Paul, John, and Bill Amos. These brothers saw a need for financial protection when a medical situation arises. This not only includes the cost of the person’s medical services, but also other costs, such as continued payment of living expenses when a person is unable to work.
The name Aflac stands for American Family Life Insurance Company of Columbus. The company was initially headquartered in a six-room complex in Columbus, Georgia. When it first began, Aflac has only 16 employees and 60 agents. However, after just its first year in business, the company had more than 6,400 policyholders and $388,000 in assets.
Aflac is known for pioneering some new types of coverage. For example, in 1958, the company introduced a cancer policy, after it identified the need to relieve the financial burden of cancer patients and their loved ones.
Over the next decade, the company also started offering its cancer coverage products at worksites, as well as continuing to sell coverage to individuals. By 1970, Aflac was licensed to offer its products in 37 U.S. states. And, just a few years later, it started to offer products in Japan – which made it just the third U.S. company to do so at that time. Within just the first year, Aflac has written $25 million in premiums.
In the mid-1970s, Aflac also was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with an initial opening share price of $7.25. (Today, the stock price is closer to the $70 per share range). Over time, Aflac continued to broaden its product line, and it also expanded its distribution system. And, by the early 1980s, it had increased its total assets to $1 billion.
In the early 1990s, the company launched its famous advertising campaign – which has provided it with name recognition, as well as helping it to increase growth. Over time, the Aflac duck has appeared in more than 70 U.S. commercials. (The duck is also used in commercials in the Japanese market, as well).
By the year 2011, Aflac had exceeded $5 billion in annualized premiums in force. And, that same year, the company was the first company to ever contribute more than $1 million to the Red Cross. This donation was for providing Tsunami relief in Japan.
Aflac Company Review
For six decades now, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to place their focus on recovery as versus financial stress if a serious illness or accident should occur. In the U.S., Aflac is the leading provider of voluntary insurance benefits at the worksite.
Through the company’s “One Day Pay” initiative, this insurer can receive, process, approve, and disburse payment for eligible claims in just one business day. Today, Aflac insures more than 50 million people around the globe. The company is also well known for its advertising campaign that features the Aflac duck. It has received numerous awards and accolades, including:
- Landing at number 69 on Newsweek’s Green Rankings of the largest 500 companies (in 2012)
- Receiving the Salute to Greatness Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta (in 2013)
- Appearing on the Fortune magazine list of The World’s Most Admired Companies for the 13th time (in 2013)
- Being recognized as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in American for the 18th consecutive year
- Being recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies
In 2015, Aflac’s contact centers were also recognized by J.D. Power by providing “An Outstanding Customer Service Experience” for the Live Phone Channel.
In the third quarter of 2016, Aflac took in total revenues of $5.7 billion – which is a 13.4 percent increase over the three-quarter of 2015. Likewise, the company’s net earnings were $629 million, as compared with $567 million during the same quarter of the previous year.
During 2016’s third quarter, the company increased its net premium income by 1.4 percent to $1.4 billion. Its total revenues also increased by 1.4 percent to $1.5 billion. The company also offered a 4.9 percent increase in the quarterly cash dividend.
Aflac Insurer Ratings and BBB Grade
Aflac has been provided with excellent financial ratings, such as an A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company.
In addition, Aflac has been a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited company since January 1, 1958. The company has also been provided with a grade of A+ (on an overall grading scale of A+ to F) by the BBB.
Medicare Supplement Plans Offered by Aflac
Although the core of Aflac’s overall business philosophy is to provide insurance coverage that helps its customers with out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered through major medical or other traditional insurance plans, at this time, the company is no longer offering Medicare Supplement insurance coverage.
Even though Medicare Supplement insurance coverage made for a nice fit with the company’s other supplemental insurance products, Aflac opted out of this particular line of business several years ago, due to disappointing sales and revenue figures from this type of coverage.
When searching other companies’ Medicare Supplement insurance plan offerings, know that there are a total of ten Medigap policies to choose from.
All of the plans have the basic set of coverage:
- Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs – up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are used up
- Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayment
- The first three pints of blood (per year)
- Medicare Part A hospice care coinsurance or copayment
Where Aflac Sells Medicare Supplement Insurance Coverage
While Aflac had offered Medicare Supplement insurance plans in a number of U.S. states, the company is no longer providing this particular form of insurance coverage to its customers. Although the company only entered into the Medicare Supplement insurance marketplace in 2012, after just one year, this product line’s goals fell short of what the company had anticipated.
According to Aflac’s CEO Dan Amos, the Medicare Supplement insurance product did not meet the company’s sales targets and it profit objectives. Therefore, the firm decided to discontinue it.
Aflac is not the only insurance carrier that has either discontinued selling Medicare Supplement insurance altogether or has sold off its Medicare Supplement product line to another insurer. For example, in 2011, Genworth Financial Inc. agreed to sell its Medicare Supplement insurance product business to the health insurer Aetna. Genworth did so in order to narrow the company’s overall product and service focus.
Likewise, in 2010, the Principal Financial Group – which primarily offers life insurance and savings products – transferred its Medicare Supplement insurance policyholders over to United Health Group Inc., in its effort to exit from the medical insurance arena.
Other Insurance and Supplemental Products that are Offered by Aflac
While Aflac no longer offers Medicare Supplement insurance coverage at this time, the company does provide a long list of other products to its customers – both individual and group. Some of these additional product lines include the following:
- For income loss protection, Aflac offers short-term disability, and both term and whole life insurance coverage
- For asset loss protection, the company offers accident, cancer, critical illness, and hospital intensive care coverage
- For supplemental medical protection, Aflac offers hospital indemnity, dental, and vision insurance
Aflac is also the number one life insurance company regarding the number of individual insurance policies that are in force in Japan. The products that are offered by Aflac in Japan include:
- Term, whole life, and hybrid life insurance coverage
- Child endowment life insurance
- Fixed annuities
- Supplemental insurance products such as medical and cancer
How to Get the Best Rates on Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans
It is always a good idea to work in conjunction with an independent insurance brokerage or agency. That way, you will be much better able to compare coverage and prices from a variety of options.
With Medicare Supplement insurance, even though the plans that are the same corresponding letter must offer the very same coverage, often the premium prices that are charged can be all across the board. Therefore, be sure that you check your options prior to purchasing a Medicare Supplement insurance plan.
We are one of those independent agencies. We can give you unbiased advice and deliver a handful of quotes in a matter of minutes.
We know it’s not the easiest purchase decision. You have dozens of different options to choose from – including the Medicare Supplement plans themselves, and the different life insurance companies that offer them.
But, we are well versed in the Medicare Supplement insurance niche – and we can do much of the initial shopping for you, so that you can better ensure that you are getting the coverage that you need, without having to pay a hefty premium. Let us help you.