Penn's life insurance policies offer free funeral planning service

Funeral Planning Service

Anyone who has had to make funeral arrangements for a loved one who passed away suddenly knows the mental anguish of the planning process. Administrative tasks like picking a casket, flower arrangements or music can be difficult for a grieving person to manage.

The University’s life insurance carrier, Aetna, offers a Funeral Planning Service to faculty and staff enrolled in any of the University’s life insurance plans, at no extra cost. Through a partnership with Everest, a company that bills itself as “the first nationwide funeral planning and concierge service,” Penn employees have access to this unique employee benefit.

After enrolling online or by phone, participants acquire access to a variety of planning tools. The PriceFinder Report generates comparative price and service listings from as many as eight funeral homes in one area or in two different sections of the country. Funeral details can be set up years in advance or when necessary. Participants’ funeral plans are stored securely online and can be reviewed and updated at anytime.

Everest also provides expert advisors to help plan funerals on short notice. Advisors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by telephone at 800-913-8318.

The advisors are licensed funeral directors who work exclusively for Everest. They can set up conference calls with multiple family members who want to participate in the planning process, or discuss a plan with the funeral home staff and negotiate prices.

“Everest is in a better position to negotiate funeral prices when we’re contacted prior to anyone contacting the funeral home,” says Chris O’Grady, director of client services at Everest.

The funeral planning service was first offered at Penn last October. Since then, 56 employees have enrolled. To learn more about Everest, visit their website and enter the Enrollment Identification Code: AETNA0003.

Penn also provides other resources to help you cope with the death of a loved one. The Employee Assistance Program provides 24-hour-a-day support and access to one-on-one assistance for many personal and professional life challenges, including bereavement.

Originally published on August 19, 2010