AFLAC: Ask about it...

You would have to be dead for the past few years to not have heard of AFLAC. The commercials alone, with Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of that hilarious duck, have propelled this company into the name recognition stratosphere. It is indeed the best of annoying Gottfried's work.

However, for those who don't necessarily understand what AFLAC is; in short, it is a supplemental insurance policy that pays a fixed amount of money based upon incident, accident, or illness (depending which policy you have) regardless of health insurance coverage or personal income. I have AFLAC coverage at work, and the ads for the product have been bugging the hell out of me lately, simply because it is not what they say it is. The ads explain how AFLAC "gives you cash" while you're out of work to pay your cable bill, rent, little Susie's piano lessons, or whatever the hell you want.

It is true that AFLAC does send you a check based on a claim, and they do not dictate how you spend it. What they don't want you to know is this. First, the requirements are very specific, so in order to receive a claim payment you have to submit some very particular and involved paperwork, including specific itemized documentation regarding every element of treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, dates, etc. Now, I understand their desire to prevent fraud, so they need proof you were actually hospitalized; however, they're asking for documentation that typically hospitals and doctors do not provide. Thus, you either have to fight with a hospital bureaucrat and get nowhere, or usually, depending on the hospital, the itemized bill is enough. But, if you know anything about hospital billing, you know that they're going to file the insurance claim, wait for them to pay, then send you a bill for what you owe. Sometimes this process can take months and in most cases you're back to work when you begin receiving those bills, and/or that statement you need for AFLAC submission.

Second, both your doctor and your employer have to complete separate statements verifying that you were out, for how long, when you were released, and when you returned to work. Look at that carefully. You have to have verification of how long you were out and when you returned to work to file your claim with AFLAC. Thus, AFLAC cannot pay you while you're out of work because you can only file the claim after your doctor and employer have separately verified in writing how long you were out, and when you returned. I won't even go into the pud-pulling-fest of getting the doctors office to complete the paperwork, but I digress.

After you get all the stuff together, send it, and they approve it--they pay the claim somewhere between 2 weeks and a month--which isn't bad. So all that being said, why do keep the coverage? Well, when medical bills are rolling in and you've exhausted your MSA or Section 125 plan for the year, the little extra money does indeed help cover the gap. Or, if your employer's disability policy only pays 60% of your income, like most, then, again, the extra does help. Just know that it won't be enough to pay for all the stuff the advertisements imply and the paperwork prevents you from receiving the checks to pay those living expenses while you're out of work.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog and thought I would leave a comment. I have sold Aflac for 14 years now and what you wrote about the disability claim is wrong. You do not have to be back at work to get paid a check. If you are out of work, and don't know when you will be returning, then Aflac pays you until your next doctor's appointment. They will pay up to 2 months in advance! Please correct your blog.

6:36 AM  
Blogger J said...

AFLAC required me to produce all of my documented medical expenses prior to issuing a check. Everything I have written, for my particular case is accurate. If you have a longer term disability issue, the policy may vary; however I am only capable of writing from my personal experience.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow where do I start.. 5 authorization forms filled out every way possible even had 2 agents fill them out and they were wrong too.. 2 months and not a dime, found out today the claim has not even been started .. why because he is still in the hospital and they want me to get the medical records before they can start at my own expense.. I have been lied to so many times that it makes my head spin.. thanks AFLAC you really do *#*#*#*

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 months and aflac is still processing payment. Makes me so mad it takes that long. I cant pay my bills and on the verge of being homeless. Thanks aflac!!!

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, to the anonymous creature selling Aflac for 14 years, you are indeed WRONG and the blog is correct. I had surgery on 6/4/12. I had my paperwork done the day after surgery (thanks to my wife)Actually the paperwork was done before surgery with the exception of my employer. Who had to VERIFY that I wasn't at work. I have appt's with my dr every monday and friday and he states whether he'll clear me for work. it's now 7/4/12 and have no check from Aflac and will prob be off work until mid July. Aflac pays you up to your next dr appt? BULLSHIT! I sent my agent a copy of my dr orders keeping me off work for the last 2 weeks and they are still being reviewed! Seriously? I guess I won't be expecting my "cash" anytime soon. Hopefully I might get it by christmas. Good Blog......Andy T from MS

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

14 years of stealing peoples money to finance terrible tv commercials. You should be ashamed. Oh wait its not your fault, you just sell their product.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Brian Paden said...

I dont know where your problem is, get off your ass go up to the hospital and demand an itemized bill for yourself and they have to give you one ...dont be a puss and take no for an answer. I have had aflac for approximately 20 years and never had a problem filing as long as the hospital is in town. My wife had cancer and Aflac paid its ass off and quickly..the only problem is if you are out of town and get hurt...but its not AFLACs fault , its the assholes at the hospital. particulary Bay Medical in Panama City Florida. AFLAC has even assisted me in the past getting the hospital to release the information.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I just filed my claim with AFLAC (yesterday) and the check was issued today. The hospital sent me home with the records needed to file. I scanned them on my printer at home and filed online! sounds like there is more going on with this claim than you claim... pun intended! Good luck

3:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Cancer claims have been a pain but I never expected for it to be easy every time I have had an issue along the way it turned out being my fault nobody body else's. You can't expect everyone to do it for you that is your responsibility. Good luck and check and double check that your submitting the proper paperwork. I for one am thankful for AFLAC

1:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have had Aflac for 6ish years. I have filed many claims. I have never once had a problem getting reimbursed within a week.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had aflac for 15years. Yes there is a lot of paperwork, but it has never been a problem to get filed, and my agent is always more than helpful. It takes anywhere between one and 14 days to recieve money. That depends on the type of claim. And as long as it has to do with the claim, you can keep adding doc visits, meds etc. And they will do what they say. I love aflac. Please do not listen to negative nancies....experience it yourself. Try it out. I pay 14 dollars a paycheck, and i have coverage out the anus.....its a good thing.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pay $80 per month for short term disability. I was off work for 3 weeks and have an elimination period of 14 days. It took 10 weeks and several complications with forms, to receive a small amount back. My question to anyone is.. Does Aflac only pay for weekdays?
If I'm doing the math correct, looks like I'm entititled $1700/mo. But divide by 30 to get the daily amount of $56.67. If I multiply that by 7 days = $396.67 (remember 21 days off, with no benifit for the first 14 days).
But they only paid $283.33
Seems like they shorted me 2 days.
When I reverse the math and multiply it by the total weekdays in a month, it is substantially less than the $1700 I thought I was paying for.

Does anyone know how to check for accuracy... And or if Aflac only pays weekdays?
What happens if you work weekends..
Will they pay?

8:00 AM  

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