“Many workers today dangerously underestimate their risk of becoming disabled and are unprepared to weather even a short-term disability.” That is a direct quote from the President and CEO of AHIP, the largest trade association representing the insurance industry.
And AHIP is not alone in the realization that not enough American workers understand the value of private disability insurance. While most people recognize the need for health insurance, they think that they are protected by Social Security benefits or other federal programs when it comes to disability of they cannot work.
But even being temporarily unable to work, can have a devastating effect on a person’s finances. A recent study prepared by Cornell University found that the incomes of disabled workers have decreased by more than 15 % when compared to able bodied workers. And for those with work limitations it is increasingly difficult for them to make up for the short fall.
Federal disability programs can only partially make up for lost incomes. AHIP produces educational programs for consumers on many issues relating to health and the purchasing of affordable health insurance. The organization is developing a public awareness initiative in response to the growing need for education in the area of low-cost private disability insurance. The program highlights the Cornell report, and provides a wealth of information on the need for private disability insurance and income protection.
What Is Private Disability Insurance?
Like other health insurance, or life insurance, private disability insurance is a policy you purchase from an insurance company that will provide you with a specified amount of coverage in the event that you becomes sick or injured and is unable to do their work according to the insurer’s own definition of disability. Private disability is designed to supplement disability you may be entitled to from Social Security, known as SSDI.
Private disability insurance may provide more coverage, and the requirements for eligibility may involve less strict parameters than SSDI. For this reason, people often find the purchase of private individual disability insurance attractive. For certain people such as the self-employed it is a must.
Insurance companies are not only leading the campaign to raise awareness of the need for disability health insurance, but are becoming instrumental in promoting Return to Work Programs. Such programs which are often part of an affordable health insurance or private disability policy are designed to give the disabled worker the training and therapy they need to return to work, and regain their income and self-sufficiency.
Return-to- work programs as part of disability insurance often include rehabilitation services, worksite modifications and assistive technologies, financial planning services, as well as educational programs.
The worker who can be trained to return to work soon after a disabling injury, or who can be retrained to do another job is valuable to himself and the public at large. The disabled person can take pride in being able to care for themselves and it takes that much more pressure off of an already overburdened federal and public system.