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Disability Coverage Baffles Most Workers, Survey Finds

Two out of three Americans don't know what's covered by their disability insurance plans. . / Credit: Disabled worker image via Shutterstock

If you provide disability insurance for your workers, you should also educate them on what it covers and how much it pays. If you’re self-employed, this might be a good time to look into buying coverage.  Nearly one in three women and one in four men can expect to suffer a disability that keeps them out of work for 90 days or longer at some point during their working years, a new survey shows. And most of us are clueless about coverage.

Two out of three Americans don't know what's covered by their disability plans, according to a national survey of 2,500 U.S. adults conducted on behalf of Wellpoint, a health benefits company. In addition, three-quarters of the survey respondents don't have disability insurance and one in 10 actually worry that they will jinx themselves if they purchase it.

The survey also found that two-thirds of the survey participants don’t have enough money saved to cover living expenses for three months and nearly a third still live paycheck to paycheck. Most of the survey participants have started to worry about their future health – half admit they can’t afford to be out of work due to an injury or illness.

[Small Business Insurance: What Do You Need?]

Four in 10 survey participants also reported that they don’t know the length of time covered by long-term disability insurance. In fact, the average long-term disability claim lasts 31.2 months. Another four in 10 Americans surveyed believe disability insurance only covers injuries or accidents. Surprisingly, about 95 percent of disabilities are caused by illnesses rather than accidents.

"Life is unpredictable," said Pat Murphy, president and general manager of WellPoint’s life and disability business. "Most people don’t have enough saved to protect themselves and their families if something happened tomorrow. It’s time to understand how disability coverage can help when Americans are out of work due to an injury or disability."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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