How to revamp your disability insurance program

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An employee benefits program can make or break the perception of your company. But when you think of partnering with a carrier for noncore employee benefits, such as disability insurance, you may be used to looking at premium costs to help make your decision.

But rest assured: It’s possible to maintain a competitive disability insurance program without raising your overall costs by looking at the bigger picture. A comprehensive disability program can make an effect by better addressing employee absence and disability. With May being Disability Insurance Awareness Month, now is a great time to take a look at how your disability insurance program can be improved.

Delayed recovery and rising costs
Traditional disability insurance programs focus on determining if an individual is disabled and managing those claimants against disability durations guidelines. However, what often keeps people out of work isn’t always what those traditional programs address. A great example of this is delayed recovery, which can prevent employees from healing fully or potentially returning to work.

Delayed recovery can be caused by treatments not working as expected, comorbid (or multiple) conditions being present at the same time, financial concerns, complex family issues, or childcare or eldercare concerns. Traditional disability insurance programs often overlook the causes of delayed recovery and take a siloed approach in treating just one health condition or disability at a time. This can result in an employee not returning to work as quickly as they could or being less productive when they do return. If left unaddressed, these factors could inhibit an employee’s full recovery or result in absenteeism or presenteeism — all of which can affect an organization’s productivity and bottom line.

A comprehensive program and the big picture
By making your program more comprehensive, you can help treat the whole person and reduce overall costs associated with delayed recovery and poor employee health. In practice, this can include emotional or behavioral support or creative accommodations in the workplace.

In addition to developing an employee’s stay-at-work or return-to-work plan and determining appropriate accommodations, some carriers also coordinate benefits with other employer-sponsored benefits programs to ensure an employee is taking advantage of available resources. This can include support to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system, or receiving assistance from a wellness, disease management or employee assistance program.

This comprehensive view of disability management ultimately means employees are better able to return to work and be productive. By addressing the whole person and their specific needs, you can provide better support for employees and see fewer costs associated with delayed recovery. This can be the key to the balance between keeping costs under control and providing support to employees with health conditions.

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