The Pulse

Childhood Cancer

Supporting families in their time of need

by Wendy Herndon

Ms. Herndon is second vice president of Product Solutions at Aflac. With more than 20 years of experience in this field, she is responsible for managing and guiding product portfolios through their entire life cycles, including strategy, development and implementation. Visit

The thought of just one child being diagnosed with cancer instinctively makes us want to do something to help. Consider the example set by Sadie Keller, an 11-year-old Texas girl who, after surviving leukemia herself, was inspired to launch a foundation to help other children going through cancer treatment. Her efforts led to the distribution of nearly 30,000 holiday gifts since 2015 to brighten the lives of children facing cancer.¹

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and there is encouraging evidence that we are making headway to help children beat this disease. Thanks to medical advances, 7 out of 8 children diagnosed with cancer will recover.² Nevertheless, impacted families face a long journey from diagnosis to cure. During that time, parents must navigate complex treatment decisions while coping with the emotional and financial toll on the entire family.

For brokers and agents, this special month is an opportunity to talk with clients about a valuable way employers can help strengthen the support system available to those facing a cancer diagnosis: helping ease the financial burden with supplemental cancer insurance.

Finding financial peace of mind with cancer coverage

Having a child diagnosed with cancer triggers an avalanche of costs that can overwhelm families. According to one study, up to 15% of families with a child facing cancer were not poor at the time of diagnosis but became poor during treatment for their child’s cancer.³ Economic impacts can include out-of-pocket costs health insurance doesn’t cover, as well as lost income from treatment-related work disruptions, transportation to and from the hospital, and additional child care costs for siblings.

Supplemental cancer insurance can help these struggling families. With cash benefits paid directly to the insured, unless otherwise assigned, they can direct those dollars where they are needed most: doctors’ bills, copayments and deductibles, gas and parking, hiring extra help around the house or utility bills. To ease the burden even further, look for companies featuring online claims submission and payments available in as little as one day – both factors that can help families worry less about their bank accounts and more about adequate care for their child.

Keeping pace with advances in pediatric cancer care

Advances within the last decade are helping more kids beat the disease than ever before. As new, effective cancer treatments become more common, insurers like Aflac are also enhancing their policies to reflect the current state of cancer care. For example, our newest cancer policy covers dependent children at no additional cost, giving families more financial protection and peace of mind. In addition, our benefits for treatment such as immunotherapy or access to emotional support can go a long way in helping patients navigate their new normal. Furthermore, available online tools for policyholders help caregivers coordinate volunteers and friends wanting to assist with tasks such as meal preparation or transportation.

Standing up to pediatric cancer together

Thanks to medical advances, 7 out of 8 children diagnosed with cancer will recover....

Across the country, individuals and businesses alike want to help their communities but may not know where to start. This is especially true when it comes to supporting families dealing with the daunting challenges of childhood cancer. As Sadie Keller demonstrates, everyone can lend a hand and help fill a need.

Agents and brokers can encourage companies to use their influence for good by offering opportunities for volunteering, donations or some other way to give back. After all, 69% of employees believe it is extremely or very important for U.S. companies to act socially responsible.4 Already engaged in social responsibility efforts in your community? Consider counseling clients on how to get started – or see if they want to join your efforts, joining companies like ours in helping them find more ways to make a difference in their communities.

As you talk with your clients this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and year-round, consider discussing how cancer coverage can help their employees with expenses health insurance may not cover. It is also a great time to consider ways to support the childhood cancer community – or any other cause important to you. All it takes is a little support to make a big difference. ◊




1. “Sadie Keller Teams up with Matthew Fleeger to Host Charity Drive.” Patch Media. Accessed July 29, 2019.
2. Curesearch for Children’s Cancer. Childhood Cancer Infographics. Accessed July 29, 2019.
3. “Childhood Cancer Families Shoulder Heavy Financial Burdens.” The Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy. Accessed Aug. 2, 2019.
4. Aflac 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Survey. Accessed Aug. 5, 2019.
One Day PaySM is available for certain individual claims submitted online through the Aflac SmartClaim® process. Claims may be eligible for One Day Pay processing if submitted online through Aflac SmartClaim®, including all required documentation, by 3 p.m. ET. Documentation requirements vary by type of claim; please review requirements for your claim(s) carefully. Aflac SmartClaim® is available for claims on most individual Accident, Cancer, Hospital, Specified Health, and Intensive Care policies. Processing time is based on business days after all required documentation needed to render a decision is received and no further validation and/or research is required. Individual Company Statistic, 2019.
Coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. In New York, coverage is underwritten by American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.