AHIP Survey Sees Worker Challenges in Disabilities

November 18, 2004

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) released results from a nationwide survey of full-time employees conducted in August 2004 by Ayres, McHenry and Associates. The survey finds public understanding at odds with the most recent data about the likelihood of a disability, the nature of disability, and the resources available when employees experience disability.

While most surveyed workers underestimate the risk of becoming disabled, one in three workers over the age of 30 will become disabled for at least three months at some point during their careers, according to data compiled by AHIP and the Society of Actuaries. Many never return to work. Yet nearly half of all respondents to the AHIP survey said they were not concerned about a potential disability or illness which could keep them out of work for an extended period of time.

A substantial majority – 58% – of working adults believe they are
covered by disability insurance, but only one-third of workers nationwide are covered. Workers also overestimate the proportion of disabilities that are covered by workers’ comp insurance. Only 10% of disabilities are covered by workers’ comp insurance, but 59% of those surveyed believe that the proportion is higher than that.

This gap in understanding about the need for disability income protection is reportedly put in stark relief by the fact that one-third of working adults say that their families could live only for three months or less on their savings and other income if the primary wage earner lost his or her income due to a disability.

“This new survey raises questions which profoundly affect the financial
security of employees and their families,” said Karen Ignagni president and CEO of AHIP. “We believe it is crucial for families to have important data related to the likelihood of disability, the nature of disability, and the need for disability security, and we are making available on-line a new source for that information.”

For links to the survey, visit http://www.ahip.org

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