NU Online News Service, May 13, 2003, 3:54 p.m. EDT – MetLife Inc., New York, says U.S. employers may face higher medical and disability claims costs as the American workforce ages.

Twelve percent of U.S. workers are now over age 54. That’s the highest percentage ever recorded, according to government statistics.

MetLife researchers recently analyzed the company’s data on its own short-term and long-term disability claims.

The researchers found that older workers are about five times more likely than younger workers to submit disability claims.

Older workers file claims twice as often for diabetes and four times as often for malignant cancer and cardiovascular problems, MetLife says.