Study: Absence Management Can Cut Health Costs

March 7, 2003 ( - The 10% of employees who file occupational or non-occupational disability claims drive 55% of employee medical costs and up to 66% of all medical, disability and workers' compensation costs combined, a survey found.

The UnumProvident study found that employers can shave as much as 40% off those employee medical costs by adopting a formal return-to-work strategy with an effective disability claims management system. With healthcare costs and health insurance premiums expected to increase an average of 13% to 15% this year – the steepest increase in a decade – achieving significant health savings is no small matter for employers, the study said.

UnumProvident said the problem of employers losing workers to injuries is widespread with more than 750,000 Americans experiencing injuries or illnesses that keep them out of work for five months or longer. But that doesn’t mean the workers want to stay away, UnumProvident said. Some 90% of Americans experiencing disability-related absences say that they would like to rejoin the workplace if the opportunity was made available.