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Disability Insurance: A critical tool for financial wellness

Greg Poulakos

Take a moment to think back on your life so far — the exciting accomplishments, the unexpected challenges and all the twists and turns in between. Change is a part of life, but to make the most of new opportunities and also plan for rainy days, it is critical to have the right financial tools. Disability insurance gives consumers financial security through income protection if the unexpected occurs.

However, one in three working Americans don’t have adequate disability coverage,1 which places strain on both the consumer and their employer. That’s why it’s important to consider how disability insurance can protect employees of your small business owner clients and lessen the burden of an unexpected financial emergency.

Financial stability impacts overall wellness in all employees

Company wellness programs often focus on physical goals and productivity, but financial wellness can have a large impact on overall health, too.

Recent survey results reveal that just over 40% of Americans agree that finances play a “big role” in their health and wellness.2 Disability insurance safeguards consumers if they’re unable to work due to an injury or illness, resulting in financial peace of mind and security. Offering disability coverage and educating employees about its value is a simple investment employers can make toward wellness, productivity and overall health.

Millennials need more education

Limited product awareness and understanding of benefits highlight the need for personalized education and tailored health plan strategies that meet specific consumer needs.

Surveys found that only 39% of Millennials (ages 18-34) think short-term disability insurance is important to financial well-being, and over one-third (38%) say they are not very familiar with long-term and short-term disability insurance.2 It’s a troubling statistic, particularly because one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.1 This disconnect leaves the Millennials in the workforce vulnerable and unprotected, highlighting the need for disability insurance education before they’re unable to come to work.

Integrated disability and medical benefits maximize coverage

Every disability claim requires a doctor visit, so it makes sense for disability and medical plans to communicate with each other. Integrated health care solutions, like those offered by Anthem’s affiliated health plans, support holistic care while simplifying the consumer experience. This team-based clinical approach allows care providers to share information and work hand-in-hand to enable employees to get healthy and return to work faster.

Integrated healthcare solutions also streamline administration and increase efficiencies for employers, which can lead to significant savings—up to 9% lower disability costs year over year3 and 25% in medical claim savings.4 Connecting disability coverage with medical plans can actually result in earlier detection of disease, better consumer engagement in wellness programs and lower medical costs for those who meet with a disability case manager. In fact, 24% of short-term disability claimants return to work early when disability and medical benefits are integrated.3

Greg Poulakos

At our company we strive to make health care simpler, more accessible, and more affordable. We understand that physical, emotional and financial health are interconnected, and that an integrated approach to benefits leads to a healthier, more productive workforce. We encourage agents and brokers working with employers to consider what they can do to help their employees get back to health, back to work and back to life when facing a disability.

Greg Poulakos is the president of Anthem Life.

1 Council for Disability Awareness

2 This report presents the findings of an online omnibus survey fielded March 21 – 22, 2018. Data was collected among 2,317 U.S. adults, ages 18+ across the country. All survey respondents work at a company with at least two employees. Statistical significance testing for this survey was done at a 95 percent confidence level and margin of error was +/- 3 percent. This means that if we were to replicate the study, we would expect to get the same results within 3 percentage points 95 times out of 100.

3 Anthem Productivity Solutions Quantifying Value Study, 2015.

4 Anthem Life pilot results, 2014.



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