New WellPoint Survey Finds Lack of Disability Education,
Savings Puts Americans at Risk
INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 11, 2012-- Sure, the
timeless eye poking and face slapping of The Three Stooges
might trigger a few good belly laughs, but most people remain
unprotected in the event of a serious injury, disability or
illness. May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month and
there are still many myths and misconceptions that need to be
addressed. A new national survey by WellPoint, Inc. revealed
that two out of three Americans don't know what's covered by
their disability plans. In addition, three quarters of the
survey participants don't have disability insurance and one
in 10 actually worry that they will jinx themselves if they
This same survey found that most Americans need more
information about disability insurance and many who don't
have coverage could not survive financially if an accident
happened tomorrow. At a time when many Americans are still
struggling with family finances, it's time to place more
emphasis on awareness and planning for life-changing events
like a disability.
"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."
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.
And the same number report they would not have enough to
cover being out of work three to six months.
There are some simple steps everyone can take to learn more
about disability insurance options. Employees should talk to
their employer and employers should remind employees about
disability benefits. For those who are self-employed or
unemployed, doing a little research online by going to sites
like disabilitycanhappen.org, and talking to friends and
family can help people explore their options.
There are still many misconceptions around disability
insurance. According to the survey, half of the survey
participants don't know that pregnancy can lead to needing
short-term disability coverage. In fact, 20 percent of
disability claims are due to normal pregnancy and 9 percent
are due to complications from pregnancy. WellPoint's life and
disability companies offer short-term disability plans that
include benefits for new mothers, including a variety of
resources and services that are designed to help them through
this exciting, but sometimes challenging time.
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. What's more, 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.
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. If an employer provides disability
coverage from one of WellPoint's life and disability
companies, and if an employee is unable to work due to an
illness or injury, the employee can talk with one of
WellPoint's disability case managers. In addition, employees
can meet face-to-face with a licensed professional counselor
up to three times at no charge - which is valuable support
when an employee is facing a disability claim. WellPoint's
companies also offer unlimited 24/7 telephone counseling and
online resources to help people address the various issues
associated with a disability.
Three in 10 Americans who participated in the survey have
taken or know someone who has taken off work because of an
injury, illness or disability.
Two-thirds of parents are concerned with their future
Six in 10 parents report that if they were injured
tomorrow they would not have enough money to cover
being out of work for three to six months.
More than half of Americans who took the survey report that
they are more concerned with their day-to-day expenses than
their future expenses.
The omnibus survey was conducted in April 2012 using the
field services of Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The study
reached a national sample of 2,500 American adults ages 18
and older. The study also looks at findings across gender,
age, parental status, and experience with disability. For the
purposes of this study, parents have a child under 18. The
margin of error for the national sample is ±2.0% at the 95%
confidence level, meaning if the study were replicated, the
study findings would be within 2 percentage points 95 times
out of 100.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health,
Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our members
and our communities, and provide greater value to our
customers and shareholders. WellPoint is one of the nation's
largest health benefits companies, with nearly 34 million
members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more
than 62 million individuals served through its subsidiaries.
As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross
licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana,
Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the
Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the
Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City
metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross
or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate
counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern
Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a
majority of these service areas, WellPoint's plans do
business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue
Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue
Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York
service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout
the country as UniCare and in certain California, Arizona and
Nevada markets through our recently acquired CareMore Health
Group, Inc. subsidiary.