With open enrollment on the horizon, now is the time to talk about short- and long-term disability coverage offerings.
August, 06, 2019 | Lynn Goldbach – BenefitsPro.com
Disability Insurance Awareness Month came to a close in May, but its messages are as relevant as ever. The seriousness of those messages creates the opportunity—and responsibility—for benefits managers and advisors to engage with employers well ahead of open enrollment. Like May, open enrollment will arrive—and be over—all too soon.
The reality is that one in four adults in the U.S. lives with a disability, and more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they reach retirement age. While people take disability leave from the workplace for a variety of reasons, the most common causes—depression, arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases, and lower back and neck strains—can happen to anyone and have persisting impacts on individuals, their families and their employers. In fact, the Integrated Benefits Institute found that illness-related lost productivity costs U.S. employers $530 billion per year due to almost 1.4 billion days of employee work absence.
Despite these statistics, many individuals who experience a disabling event are physically, emotionally and financially unprepared for it. Cigna recently commissioned the Cigna Group Disability Study of 500 U.S. adults and found that among those without disability coverage, 52 percent took more than two years to recover financially and half experienced depression. On top of that, 42 percent became financially dependent on family and friends—about two times that of individuals with coverage—and roughly one-third or more were extremely worried about their ability to pay living expenses.
With open enrollment on the horizon, now is the time for benefits managers and advisors to engage with employers about the short- and long-term disability coverage offerings available to employees. Below are three key points to help benefits experts communicate the value of this coverage.
1. Financial support, outside of just salary, to help weather the disabling event.
The primary benefit of disability coverage, which most employees understand, is the partial payment of income should a working person encounter a covered disabling event. But the benefits don’t stop there.