Aflac launches 'Close the Gap' initiative to highlight disparities in US health system

Insurance provider Aflac launched the "Close the Gap" initiative Jan. 19, aimed at highlighting those who fall through the cracks of the healthcare system, MM+M reported Jan. 24.

The initiative introduced the Aflac Care Index survey; CareGrants, the company's effort to help pay medical expenses for those in need; and a short film called "The Park Bench" to help bring awareness to the general public about this ongoing issue.

The survey found that 65 percent of Americans' savings are equivalent to or less than their out-of-pocket maximums for their health insurance.

"A lot of people believe that health insurance is enough and was designed to cover everything," Shannon Watkins, chief brand and marketing officer of Aflac, said in the article. "Being able to provide that education and support along the way is critical."

"The Park Bench" is a marketing strategy by Aflac to continue education about the shortcomings of health insurance in the U.S. The film was released Jan. 22.

CareGrants, the third part of the new initiative, is Aflac's pledge to donate $1 million to support families, organizations and individuals who need help paying for medical expenses. 

"If we can help one person not have to make the decision between paying a medical bill and putting food on their table or paying for their housing, that, for us, is winning," Ms. Watkins said.

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