Approaches that Sped Workers’ Return to Work
Employees out on short-term disability are likely to miss less work and have a higher return-to-work rate when their employers have integrated medical and disability programs, two studies have found.
In 2005, Aetna analyzed claims incurred between April 2003 and January 2005 and compared short-term disability durations of evenly split groups of members: one with only an Aetna disability policy and the other with an integrated Aetna medical and disability program. Aetna found that the duration of short-term disabilities for members with an integrated program were 4.5 days less than those with only a disability policy. Additionally, the study showed that while 5 percent of disability-only members moved from short- to long-term disability, only 2.2 percent of members with an integrated plan did so.
Likewise, a 2007 Cigna HealthCare analysis of individuals covered by the insurer’s integrated medical and disability programs showed that those who took short-term disability leave were 37 percent more likely to return to work compared with members in nonintegrated disability-only plans.