For the fourth consecutive year, cancer is the leading cause of long-term absence from work (more than 90 days) for working-age Americans, according to claims submitted during 2004 to UnumProvident, a provider of disability income protection insurance.
Rounding out the top five reasons for long-term disability claims are
complications of pregnancy, joint/muscle/connective tissue diseases, back injuries and cardiovascular disease.
The American Cancer Society estimates that close to 1.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2005, and among the most prevalent types will be lung, breast, prostate and colon.
“Although cancer continues to be the dominant reason for long-term
disability, we’re seeing significant improvements in the care of these cancer patients,” said Dr. Herbert Dean, an oncologist consulting to UnumProvident.
“The whole field of medicine relating to cancer is exploding right now,
including more effective diagnostic capabilities and vastly improved
treatments. These advances enhance the quality of life for patients and may have a potential to result in less time away from the job.”
UnumProvident’s 2004 claims for short-term absence are dominated by normal pregnancy, followed by injuries (other than back), digestive/intestinal diseases, back/disc injuries and reproductive/urinary system diseases.
The claims information is based upon 2004 data from UnumProvident’s
disability database. The database tracks 26.8 million covered individuals and an estimated 178,000 employer policyholders.
The causes of claims and the percentage received for each cause were as follows:
Long term – 12 percent – Cancer
10 percent – Complications of pregnancy
10 percent – Joint/muscle/connective tissue diseases
9 percent – Back injuries
8 percent – Cardiovascular disease
Short term – 21 percent – Pregnancy
9 percent – Injuries (not including back)
8 percent – Digestive/intestinal diseases
7 percent – Back injuries
7 percent – Reproductive/urinary system diseases
UnumProvident received nearly 450,000 new disability claims in 2004 and paid $3.8 billion in benefits to individuals and their families.
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