Choosing the right disability plan for your employees is an important decision. Most people think of workplace injuries or accidents when they think of disability, but the reality is that 90 percent of disabilities are caused by illness, such as arthritis, chronic back pain or cancer.
When you research disability plans to select for your company, choose one that also provides employee counseling services by a licensed therapist.
Auditing Your Existing Disability Plan
According to a report from The North Carolina Office on Disability and Health, there’s a strong correlation between depression and disability. Depression symptoms may be two to 10 times more common for those with disabilities or chronic illnesses, and depression is a common “secondary condition” associated with chronic illness and disability.
When depression and physical health problems are present, a disability is likely to be worse, the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK) explained. Depression can also increase the pain and discomfort associated with physical health problems.
Determining the Right Fit for Counseling
Here’s a checklist of the services you should look for when researching which disability plan to go with:
- Does the disability plan include value-added services that give face-to-face counseling services at no additional cost to support members who are struggling with a disability or chronic illness? Look for plans that offer multiple visits.
- Does it offer 24/7 toll-free phone support with a licensed therapist?
- Does the plan provide access to live interactive video counseling services with a licensed therapist?
- Does the disability plan clinically integrate with your medical health coverage plan? Clinical integration lets health plans, disability case managers and health coaches share information as part of an overall medical management program. This allows early intervention to provide appropriate care or offer stay-at-work programs to prevent or minimize lost work days.
Talk to your insurance broker, consultant or insurance carrier representative to find out more about disability plan options available to you. They can guide you to a plan that best meets the needs of you and your employees.
Jason Kinzy is a marketing manager at Anthem, Inc. and is responsible for the promotion of Anthem’s specialty business (dental, vision, voluntary, life and disability plans) to members, employers and brokers. He has 20 years of health care marketing communications experience.