Medical Data + Disability Coverage Go Hand-in-Hand

by Mike Wozny

May 18, 2017

This is part of a series of six blog posts about integrated health care. Check out the previous posts and keep an eye out for the next one.

True or false: Disability claims are most often due to injuries.

The answer is … false. In fact, 90 percent of disability claims are caused by illnesses (including pregnancy), not accidents.1

Factor in also that 10 percent of employees filing disability claims account for more than 50 percent of total medical and disability costs of all disability claimants 2 and you can see how disability benefits and health benefits go hand in hand.

Follow the health care dots

With the overwhelming majority of disability claims caused by illnesses, it makes a lot of sense to take a closer look at that connection. If we can find and implement ways to help people get and stay healthy, we can lower health care costs while decreasing the number of missed work days and improving productivity. And that’s exactly what integrated population health management (IPHM) is all about.

Through IPHM, medical data can be connected to disability data — not to mention vision, pharmacy, dental and absence management data as well. And it can then be shared with doctors and disability case managers to give them a better view of disability cases. IPHM can help better manage disability claims by helping employees get back to work sooner, thereby decreasing missed work days and improving productivity. This can result in lower health care costs. IPHM can also help identify employees at risk of a disability claim and intervene early to provide appropriate care and/or offer stay-at-work programs to prevent or minimize lost work days If we can improve employees’ health and avoid them getting sick altogether…Voila! The need for disability leave never occurs. Each program can be personalized to each employee’s unique needs.

So connecting disability coverage with health plans can result in earlier detection of disease, better member engagement opportunities and lower costs. All good things.

Make your coverage work for you and your employees

A recent study showed medical costs associate with disability claimants were 25 percent ($8,000) less for members who engaged with a nurse care manager3 following a referral from a disability case manager. Care alerts and clinical communications to members, doctors and care managers have shown big engagement results, with 24 percent of employees returning to work earlier.3

Lost productivity costs equal $84 billion annually4 — how much of that comes from your business?

Want to know more about integrating your disability and health benefits? Take a look at the Integrated Health Care Disability Report.

Mike Wozny is President at Anthem Life.


1 Council for Disability Awareness website, Chances of Disability (Accessed December 2016): disabilitycanhappen.org.
2 Integrated Benefits Institute, Impact of Integrating Health and Disability Data — IBI Research Summary (Accessed December 2016): https://ibiweb.org.
3 Anthem Inc.’s affiliated companies’ data 2015
4 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 2013: gallup.com.