Disability Insurance: U.S. workers underinsured

Disability InsuranceA recent survey performed by The Hartford insurance company showed that over 50 percent of US workers are without disability coverage and the percentage continues to climb. 

The research suggested that only 44 percent of U.S. workers have a form of long-term disability coverage, while 49 percent have short-term disability coverage.  When compared to 2010 the percentage for long-term disability insurance dropped by 3 percent and short-term disability insurance fell by 6 percent. 

Executive vice president, Ron Gendreau for the Group Benefits at The Hartford said that “We are concerned about the lower number of Americans who have coverage designed to provide a financial safety net.” 

Gendreau explained that within the first half of 2011, there have already been an estimated 2 million cases of disabling injury or illness among Americans.  According to the research findings, among those workers only about half will be receiving some form of financial assistance in order to cover their bills and other expenses throughout the recovery period. 

The survey also discovered that among Americans, only a quarter of all workers fully comprehend their disability coverage; the fear of an unanticipated financial struggle influences the purchasing decision of three quarters of consumers; and 92 percent would require changes to their lifestyles if part or all of the household income were to cease for a period of three to six months. 

Gendreau added that while people still prioritize insurance for their homes, they have yet to understand the importance of having coverage for their income, and that this could also threaten their homes.  He illustrated this by saying that on average, the loss of two years of income is the same as losing a home.

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