Protecting the frontline health care workers who protect us
By Shelly Gigante
Shelly Gigante specializes in personal finance issues. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications and news websites.
Posted on Jun 30, 2020
They were there when the first COVID-19 patients were wheeled into the emergency room with a virus the world knew little about. They worked double shifts to treat the most vulnerable when ICU beds overflowed—quarantining themselves in basements, guest rooms, and hotels to keep their families safe. And they prioritized the well-being of others despite their own risk, even after the personal protective equipment ran out.
Health care workers are the best among us. And they’re there for us still.
MassMutual joins the parade of grateful hearts who have cheered our frontline workers along during the pandemic, supporting them financially with free life insurance to help them protect the ones they love. No strings attached.
The MassMutual HealthBridge program, which was initially launched in Massachusetts and Connecticut in April, is going national effective June 30 with a goal of providing up to $3 billion worth of coverage to eligible health care workers.
Those who qualify will receive free term life insurance coverage for three years, up to $25,000 face value (depending on the applicant’s age). If the policyowner should pass away during the term, the policy would pay out its benefits to a trust at The MassMutual Trust Company in the name of their designated beneficiaries. Once in the trust, the funds can be used by beneficiaries for expenses related to health, education, maintenance, and support.
MassMutual pays all of the premiums for the policy. There is no cost to the insured or their beneficiaries.
HealthBridge is an extension of the MassMutual LifeBridge program, which provides free life insurance policies to help children with educational expenses in the event that their income-eligible parent or guardian should pass away.
“We have all witnessed the rapidly changing COVID-19 landscape, with some states—once thought to be less impacted or trending downward—surging with new cases. With that surge, we see the need to continue expanding our efforts with HealthBridge,” said Roger Crandall, MassMutual Chairman, President and CEO. “We are now able to offer free term life policies to healthcare workers selflessly serving patients battling COVID-19 across the entire country. The need to expand our coverage area and protect these brave and resilient individuals is not only necessary, it’s paramount."
Who is eligible?
It’s not just doctors and nurses who are potentially eligible for HealthBridge. Employees and qualifying volunteers of health care or emergency medical services providers that are testing, treating, or evaluating patients for COVID-19 can apply now for these free policies. Examples are those who have occupational exposure to the virus and work at urgent care centers, emergency medical service providers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, inpatient hospice and cancer facilities, eligible Federally Qualified Health Centers and temporary COVID treatment facilities.
To qualify, applicants must:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 60.
- Be a US citizen and resident or have permanent residency status.
- Were recently actively employed or volunteering at least 10 hours per month at a health care or emergency medical services provider that is testing, treating, or evaluating patients for COVID-19.
- Work in a role where they have had or will have direct in-person contact with patients diagnosed with or being treated/evaluated for symptoms related to Coronavirus.
- Live or work in the United States where HealthBridge is available (not available in Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands).
- Earn no more than $250,000 per year.
The HealthBridge application process is conducted online. Applicants may apply by uploading their proof of employment at an eligible workplace and answering basic questions as part of the online application. There are no specific health qualifications required.
So far, over 5,000 have applied, including the Dinoia family.
Kimberly Dinoia said she encouraged her husband John, an emergency medical technician on the rapid-response team, who worked on a COVID-19 floor at Springfield’s Baystate Medical Center during the height of the pandemic, to apply for the free coverage as soon as it became available.
“It gave us the extra peace of mind that we would have some additional financial security should something happen,” she said. “The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to really look at all of our financial documents including our will, power of attorney, beneficiaries etc. as a precaution, just in case.”
The HealthBridge program, she said, meets a critical need. “Without hesitation, MassMutual once again stepped up immediately to serve the community,” said Kim. “For that we are grateful.”
Indeed, it takes more than social distancing to save lives during a global pandemic. It takes the health care heroes who risk their lives every day to protect us.
MassMutual celebrates and salutes our frontline health care workers.
Provided by Lenox Advisors courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual)
The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual and its subsidiaries, employees, and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel. Opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of MassMutual.
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