Its no secret that health care costs are skyrocketing. This year, the United States has seen the largest health insurance premium increases in over a decade–rates in excess of 20%, far outstripping the overall inflation rate of approximately 1.8%.
A persistently high rate of inflation in the U.S. health insurance industry is a reality and a constant battle for employers. And, health care experts say we can expect this trend to continue unabated into the foreseeable future.
As a result, companies are looking for ways to keep their premiums at bearable levels. That typically means shopping for lower rates, cutting benefits, or asking employees to shoulder more of the financial burden–solutions that are not desirable to employees or insurance carriers.
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But, for many employers, one solution–integrated disability management–will be the answer of choice. It offers opportunity to achieve improved outcomes, stable premiums and improved productivity, all at the same time.
What is integrated disability management? Typically, it refers to the management of two or more benefit programs, such as short-term disability, long-term disability, workers compensation, and Family and Medical Leave Act absences. But integration doesnt mean simply providing a single phone number for claimants to call when absence strikes. Rather, it refers to a means of optimizing the administrative flow of information, beginning with Day One reporting and tracking of all absence transactions in a single technology system.
Managing an absence as early as possible sets employee and employer expectations, from the start, for return to work. It also allows many more opportunities to save disability days, whether through vocational rehabilitation, modified duty, partial hours or other techniques.
The advantage? When managed in an integrated fashion, an absence can be followed closely as it moves from short-term disability to long-term disability, providing more chances to shorten duration and return the employee to work. That results in an overall reduction in health care costs and contributes to stable premiums.