According to a Cigna survey, about 50 percent of workers in the United States liked their jobs, and 10 percent would continue working the same job even if they had enough money to never work again. However, the survey also found that most workers did not have solid plans for sustaining income if they suffered a severe injury or disability. In 2014, more than 1.5 million American workers suffered illnesses or injuries that resulted in long-term work absences.
Of the workers who reported taking steps to financially protect themselves, these are some examples of their positive actions:
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic illnesses
- Saving money for unexpected health issues
- Taking steps to avoid injuries at work
Only 10 percent of survey responders had disability insurance or a similar plan such as critical illness insurance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that less than 40 percent of those who work in the private industry have short-term disability insurance, and even fewer carry long-term disability coverage.
In the Cigna study, almost 45 percent of participants reported worrying about how they would pay medical costs that their plans would not cover if they were seriously injured. Government disability benefits only provide a fraction of a worker’s previous income. However, supplemental personal policies can help fill those gaps. Many disability plans also include services designed to help people stay at work even if they cannot return to the exact same position. If they are unable to return to work at all, most disability plans offer assistance in obtaining Social Security benefits as well.
Employers can help their workers prevent these struggles by offering disability insurance and other beneficial policies such as accidental injury, critical illness and hospital indemnity. Also, employers must educate their workers about the importance of supplemental coverage. Many survey respondents mistakenly believed that the Family and Medical Leave Act’s provisions would suffice for a long-term absence after an injury. However, FML provisions only cover periods of absence and do not offer any financial assistance. To learn more about employer-sponsored disability coverage and other supplemental options, discuss concerns with an agent.