Insurance Study: STD, Health Coverage Integration Has Advantages

June 9, 2004 ( - A study by a national insurance provider claimed that melding workplace disability and health-care programs from the same carrier can help return disabled employees more quickly and can help lower benefit costs.

The CIGNA study found that the duration of short-term disability (STD), and how quickly the employee returns to work full time, is better for those with an integrated disability and health care program. CIGNA said in a news release that it studied STD claims data from 60,000 employees in 156 companies from 2001 to 2003. The goal: to compare results when an employer got both medical and STD from CIGNA with those who get STD coverage from CIGNA and health from another carrier.

For a hypothetical employer with 3,000 employees, integrated coverage resulted in savings of between $100,000 and $200,000 in direct disability costs, and up to $500,000 in indirect costs (lost productivity, costs of hiring and training temporary replacement workers), the CIGNA study claimed.

CIGNA said in its announcement that it will institute discounts of between 3% and 7% for clients who purchase short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) coverages in conjunction with CIGNA medical coverage.