Benefits Programs Remain Stable Despite Poor Economy

August 31, 2011 ( – A new study of employers conducted by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) indicates the key aspects of loss-time benefits programs have remained stable during the harsh economic times U.S. businesses have been facing.

The research is based on IBI’s industry benchmarking database. The study results show the incidence of short- (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) programs changed little between 2008 and 2010, and durations for STD and workers’ compensation temporary disability were essentially flat. However, new and closed workers’ compensation claims have declined as a share of claims inventory and long-term disability claims continue to age on employers’ books.

The results also found employees in 2010 tended to take continuous federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves to take care of their own medical conditions, rather than intermittent leaves or time off to care for family members. 

“While there’s been a great deal of discussion around the impact of health care reform and anticipated health care cost increases for employers, little has been said about the more serious threats to employer costs and business results from employee absence from work if employers opt out the health care system,” said Thomas Parry, PhD, president of IBI, in a press release. “Employers that opt out will eliminate their ability to work in partnership with their health plans and providers to manage the health of their workforce.” 

Click here to view the full study results.