Independence Blue Cross launches specialty products from Guardian that offer financial protection

Employers with 51+ eligible members to benefit from alliance

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC), the region's leading health insurer, and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the nation's largest mutual life insurers and an independent leading provider of employee benefits, have formed a strategic relationship to provide Guardian's specialty insurance products to IBC members and employer groups. The new benefit options — life, short-term disability, long-term disability, accident, critical illness, and cancer insurance — are an important addition to IBC's line of products as they offer members financial protection from unforeseen hardships and expenses. The benefits will be available to employers with 51 or more enrolled members this fall for group plan renewals on or after January 1, 2014. These products will be available to employers with 2-50 enrolled members by mid-2014.

"At Independence Blue Cross, we are committed to continuing to present our members and customer groups with flexible and innovative benefit options that meet their unique and individual coverage needs," said Richard J. Neeson, IBC executive vice president and president of Expanding Markets. "The new line of specialty products complements IBC's comprehensive line of first class medical plans while offering added income protection when the unexpected happens. This is just one more way that we are meeting the needs of consumers."

Flexible and innovative insurance options

The combined strength and expertise of IBC and Guardian, both market leaders in their respective industries, provides employers the brands they trust and the insurance products they need, including:

  • Life. Group term and supplemental insurance.
  • Disability. Long-term and short-term disability coverage for employees.
  • Accident. Provides benefit payment for services or procedures due to a covered accident, such as x-rays and ambulance services, regardless of what is covered by the employee's medical policy. A key differentiator of this product is a special benefit providing enhanced coverage for children injured in organized sports.
  • Critical illness. Cancer, heart attack, stroke, and major organ transplants. Provides a lump sum benefit payment to help employees pay for out-of-pocket medical costs and non-medical costs.
  • Cancer. Provides a lump sum benefit payment in the event of a cancer diagnosis. Includes payments for certain procedures, screenings, and treatments.

"Guardian is committed to exceeding customers' expectations through high quality specialty products, exceptional service and competitive pricing," said Chris Swanker, vice president, Worksite and Specialty Markets at Guardian. "Guardian is proud to combine our national brand and experience in non-medical benefits with the strong market expertise of IBC to provide a high quality solution for employers and their employees."

Employer benefits include:

  • Convenience. The convenience of offering to employees a complete benefits package of quality medical and non-medical products.
  • Medical discount. Some employers may qualify for a medical discount on bundled products.
  • Dedicated claims analyst. Access to experienced claims analysts dedicated to managing claims quickly and efficiently.

"We are exceeding our customers' expectations by offering market-leading health products," said Ginny Palmieri, IBC vice president of Specialty Services. "And by teaming with strong companies, we will continue to demonstrate the power of the Blue brand"

In addition to IBC's diversified and broad product portfolio of medical plans, the company makes available a wide variety of specialty services through subsidiaries, affiliates, and other service providers. In addition to the new Guardian products, the IBC specialty services product portfolio includes pharmacy, vision, dental, stop loss, travel insurance, COBRA administration, and employee assistance programs.

About Independence Blue Cross

Proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania serving more than seven million people nationwide, including 2.2 million in the region. We are enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we're changing the game, visit Connect with us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Guardian

A mutual insurer founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and its subsidiaries are committed to protecting individuals, business owners and their employees. Guardian protects more than six million employees and their families at 115,000 companies. The company has approximately 5,000 employees in the United States.

For more information about Guardian, please visit: &index=3 &md5=ea1c3cdaed2698b65bf851802102fe27">

Guardian Accident Insurance, Cancer Insurance and Critical Illness policies are underwritten by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs.


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