May is filled with month-long observances promoting health awareness. It is the National Awareness Month for Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Lyme Disease and Blood Pressure, as well as Melanoma / Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention.
May is also Disability Insurance Awareness month. There is a good (and concerning) reason for this observance - only one out of five consumers own disability insurance.1 Makes sense that one of the top five concerns for consumers is paying for basics if becoming disabled. Only 48 percent of American workers indicate they can cover three months of living expenses if they are not earning any income2.
Why then are so many employees not opting in to disability insurance?
Many employees feel they can’t afford disability insurance or that it isn’t worth the cost, leaving at least 51 million U.S. workers without any insurance beyond basic Social Security2.
It won’t happen to me.
Statistics do not favor living without disability insurance. A little over one in four of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 673.
Some of the most common claims for both short-term and long-term disability include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Digestive disorders
- Mental health issues including depression and anxiety
- Injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains
The consequences of being uninsured can be financially devastating.
78 percent of American workers live paycheck-to-paycheck4. When faced with unexpectedly missing work beyond paid sick leave, these workers are left scrambling to come up with the money for basic needs. The resulting financial impact of a disability can be life-changing. More than 50 percent of personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures are the consequence of disability5.
How Can Employers Help?
For employers who offer long-term and short-term disability insurance, give equal time to the importance of disability insurance when presenting insurance benefits to new employees and during annual open enrollment. The Council for Disability Insurance provides downloadable materials with a fact sheet to help illustrate the importance of this dismissed benefit.
The added cost of disability insurance will detract employees who feel they can’t afford it. For companies who offer a financial wellness benefit, employees should be encouraged to utilize their benefit tools to identify where their money is being spent and what they have available to allocate towards disability coverage.
Life happens. Disability insurance can give workers additional peace of mind. And for the one in four who will experience missed work due to disability, they will be able to focus on their recovery and return to work (and life) without the chronic stress and anxiety of financial despair.
Interested in a Financial Wellness program?
1 Disability Insurance Awareness Month - Only 20% of Consumers Own Disability Insurance Despite Almost Half Saying They Need It
2 Disability Statistics
3 Social Security Fact Sheet
4 Living Paycheck to Paycheck is a Way of Life for Majority of U.S. Workers, According to New CareerBuilder Survey
5 2005 Harvard Study