PHILADELPHIA, May 02, 2011 - How long could you keep paying the bills if you couldn't work because of an injury or illness? Encouraging people to take a moment to answer that question for themselves and their families - and then take action - is one of Cigna's goals during Disability Insurance Awareness Month this May. Cigna (NYSE:CI) is joining with the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education to help people understand the importance of protecting your paycheck through this month-long awareness and education campaign.
To help people gauge their awareness and understanding of disability insurance, Cigna offers this pop quiz:
1. True or False: People who work don't need disability insurance because they're covered by workers' compensation insurance.
- Answer: False. Workers' compensation insurance only covers injuries or illnesses acquired on the job, while the majority of accidents and illnesses are not work-related.1
2. True or False: People who work can rely totally on their accrued sick leave if they miss work due to illness or injury.
- Answer: False. A disability-related absence can last a lot longer than an individual's accrued sick time.
3. True or False: Most people have enough money saved to cover their living expenses if they can't work because of a disability.
- Answer: False. Disabilities can last many months or even years, and many people haven't saved enough to cover living expenses for that long. In Cigna's 2010 Live to Work survey, only 36 percent of American workers said they had taken steps to prepare for a disabling injury or illness, and of those, 51 percent said they rely on increased personal savings while only 32 percent purchased new or additional disability insurance.2
4. True or False: Short-term disability covers a portion of an individual's wages for a year.
- Answer: False. Short-term disability insurance covers individuals for up to about six months, while long-term disability insurance provides coverage for longer periods of time.
5. True or False: People who work don't need disability insurance as long as they have medical insurance.
- Answer: False. Medical insurance offers protection for covered medical expenses, but doesn't protect against lost employment income from a covered disability. This is income that may be needed to cover other bills, such as a mortgage or car payment.
"The thought of suddenly being without a paycheck is a scary thing, but the good news is that there are things people can do to help prepare," said Mark Marsters, senior vice president for Cigna's disability business. "Many people are changing or have already changed their day-to-day routines to cut expenses and build emergency savings as protection against all types of economic uncertainty. But even so, a majority of people still live paycheck to paycheck and would face significant financial hardship if they couldn't work. It's exactly that 'nightmare scenario' that disability insurance can help protect against."
What is disability insurance? It's a type of coverage that pays a portion of a person's earned income (typically 50-60 percent) if a serious illness or accident keeps them out of work for more than just a few weeks. It's different from workers' compensation insurance, which only pays for injuries or illnesses that happen on the job, or medical insurance, which only pays for covered medical expenses.
There are two basic types of disability coverage: short-term, which typically covers an absence for up to about six months, and long-term, which provides coverage for a longer duration claims - for example, for a few years or even until normal retirement age, depending on the plan design selected. In addition, Cigna's disability plans include an extensive suite of services, such as vocational rehabilitation, to help people who have been out on disability return to work when it is safe to do so, or help those at risk of becoming disabled to stay productive and on the job.
"Disability insurance plans offered through the workplace are often more affordable than those offered separately, so people should check with their benefits department to see what coverage options may be available to them," Marsters said. "They should also ask what types of programs their employer offers to help them be healthier and more productive, and most importantly, use these programs to help prevent a disability from happening."
Cigna has created a disability insurance information toolkit to answer common questions about disability insurance. The toolkit also has a disability insurance calculator to help people determine how much coverage they may need, and podcasts that help explain the different types of coverage.
The toolkit also highlights additional programs that are available, at no additional cost, to people enrolled in Cigna's disability plans, including an online will preparation service that helps customers easily create and maintain customized life and health legal documents3; and Cigna Healthy Rewards®, a program that offers customers discounts of up to 60 percent on health and wellness products and services such as gym memberships, weight loss programs, or massage therapy4. Cigna's Identity Theft Program is also available to individuals who have Cigna's Group life, accident, or disability coverage.5
Cigna (NYSE: CI) is a global health service and financial company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. Cigna Corporation's operating subsidiaries in the United States provide an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna offers products and services in 29 countries and jurisdictions and has approximately 65 million customer relationships throughout the world. All products and services are provided exclusively by such operating subsidiaries and not by Cigna Corporation. Such operating subsidiaries include Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York, and Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. To learn more about Cigna, visit www.cigna.com. To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to http://www.cigna.com/newsroom/rss. Also, follow us on Twitter at @cigna, visit Cigna's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/cigna and listen to Cigna's podcast series with healthy tips and information at http://www.cigna.com/podcasts or by searching "Cigna" in iTunes.
1 Injury Facts 2008 Ed., National Safety Council.
2 Live to Work Study, conducted for Cigna by Yankelovich, a part of The Futures Company, March 2010; http://www.cigna.com/newsroom/news-releases/2010/most-americans-live-to-work-but-dont-prepare-for-illness-or-injury-that-could-put-their-income-at-risk.html
3 Cigna's Will Preparation Services are provided under an arrangement with ARAG.
4 Some Healthy Rewards are not available in all states. A discount program is NOT insurance, and the member must pay the entire discounted charge.
5 Cigna's Identity Theft Program is provided under a contract with Europ Assistance USA, Inc.