In addition to helping cover lost wages, many disability insurers are also providing a different type of benefit that is making a positive impact in the lives of workers who have suffered a debilitating illness or injury. Through return-to-work programs, insurers are helping people with disabilities get back to work at jobs that sync with their skills, experience, and interests.
By collaborating with employers, insurers help create work environments and schedules that are modified for individuals’ unique circumstances. Return-to-work programs also focus on rehabilitation and equipping people with the skills they need to transition back to work and reach their individualized goals. Additional examples of the creative and innovative programs employed by disability insurers are documented in a report by America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Unfortunately, the risk of suffering a disability is much higher than most people are aware. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a male U.S. worker at age 35 faces a one-in-five chance of a disability taking him off his job for 90 days or longer. Before a 35-year-old woman reaches retirement age, she faces a nearly one-in-three risk of a disability lasting at least 90 days.
Disability insurance provides peace of mind to millions of individuals and their families, offering financial protection if an illness or injury takes them off the job. Employer-sponsored disability coverage provides income protection to more than 50 million employees for short-term disabilities and about 40 million employees for long-term disabilities. In 2010, long-term disability payments from private insurers to individuals with disabilities totaled more than $8.1 billion.