Quacky Coverage

We all fear serious health problems and what they may cost. And with good reason — medical bills are one of the biggest reasons cited for bankruptcy. A company called AFLAC is offering supplemental health coverage — not that you'd know that from some of its commercials. Consumer Reports Money Adviser looks beyond the quirky ads to see if the insurance is worth getting.

This AFLAC ad is one of several that has people talking.

"AFLAC, AFLAC"

The commercials have left most people wondering: what does AFLAC sell?

"You're focused so much on the duck in the ads that it's difficult to know that their main policies are these supplemental insurance policies."

Consumer Reports Money Adviser's Lisa Freeman says a closer look at AFLAC reveals the business primarily sells three different insurance policies.

One is a short-term disability plan. Another is an accident insurance policy and a third plan covers cancer care.

The policies — which go for about 300 to 600 dollars a year — are supposed to fill gaps in your health coverage. But Consumer Reports Money Adviser says they aren't worth it.

"You're basically banking on getting cancer or getting into an accident and if you don't, these policies are useless basically."

Consumer Reports says making sure you have a good major medical plan is a far better way to spend your money — because it will cover all your health problems.

As for disability insurance, Consumer Reports says you're better off buying or beefing up a long-term disability policy. It's those long-term absences from work that can really bankrupt you.

Consumer Reports says another way to put your money to better use — take what you'd put toward a supplemental insurance policy and put it in an emergency cash fund. Though it can be difficult, financial planners say ideally you should put away enough to cover six months of expenses.


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