According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About 2,300 Americans die of heart disease each day, an average of one death every 38 seconds. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.
In a poll commissioned by Unum in January 2018 among 1,232 U.S. adults, nearly 30 percent of respondents had or knew someone who had experienced a cardiovascular event in the previous five years. Of those who had or knew someone with a cardiovascular event, 59 percent missed work, with 33 percent absent for four or more months.
A heart attack can interrupt an individual’s ability to work for months, or even years. Long term disability insurance helps to replace a portion of income to help cover living expenses. Based on claims filed in 2017, cardiovascular claims were the fourth most common within Unum’s fully insured, long term disability block.
With the rise in high deductible health plans and the widening gap between covered conditions and out of pocket costs, the financial strain on a family following an illness can be significant. According to the January consumer poll, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents had $1,000 or less in savings. In the event they were unable to earn an income, 63 percent of those polled could only pay bills for three months or less before needing additional financial support.
To help further protect their financial stability, many working adults also opt for Critical Illness insurance, which pays a lump-sum benefit directly to a person should they experience a serious illness, such as a heart attack.
Unum internal data for the period of 2012-2016 revealed cardiovascular issues accounted for 29% of all critical illness claims, making heart-related conditions the second most frequent condition, following cancer (52 percent). The highest percentage of cardiovascular claims (47 percent) were from adults ages 50-59, and most cardiovascular claimants (63 percent) were men.
So, in recognition of Heart Month, choose to take better care of your ticker. From eating a more heart-healthy diet to exercising at least 30 minutes a day, little changes can make a big difference. And if you’re unsure which insurance benefits are available to you, ask your HR manager. Your employer may offer long term disability and critical illness coverage as part of your benefits package.