Every year, roughly 720,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The price tag is just as staggering. Health care services, medication and lost productivity for coronary heart disease racks up an annual bill of $108.9 billion in the U.S., the CDC says.

A critical illness can hurt a person financially in multiple ways, says Ashley Mehrer, Unum’s director of product and market development based in Chattanooga, Tenn. Even with long-term disability, an employee is still losing income and might also be faced with higher medical expenses, she says.

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