NU Online News Service, March 15, 2004, 2:07 p.m. EST – Combining management of health care and short-term disability claims really can help workers get back to work, according to CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia.[@@]

Integrating STD and health case management seems to cut disability durations 12%, or 7 days, and increase return-to-work rates 6%, CIGNA says.

CIGNA is basing those figures on a study of 60,000 CIGNA STD claims. CIGNA compared results for insureds who had integrated STD and health case management with results for insureds who received their health coverage from another company.

CIGNA found that the average total direct cost of a short-term disability was $13,094, with $10,649 going to pay the medical bills and $2,444 to pay the STD benefits.