I was particularly struck by a couple of paragraphs in Kateryna Sapronovas story that appears on page 12 of this weeks issue regarding disability insurance.
She writes: “When asked, most employees underestimate their chances of becoming disabled during the course of their career. That may help explain why employees tend to place less value on disability benefits.
“Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that a substantial number of workers are not even aware they are covered under an employer-sponsored group plan. It is, in effect, an invisible benefit.”
I find the final comment about the coverage being an invisible benefit absolutely fascinating, but not terribly surprising. Fascinating because in this age of employers cutting back on benefits left and right and forcing employees to pick up more and more of the cost of those benefits that do remain, it is wondrous that people should be unaware of the coverage they are lucky enough to have. Especially so vital a benefit as the continuation of a paycheck in the event of a disability.
But its not surprising because it showsonce again!how comfortable the American public is in la-la land. “What, me get disabled? Never happen.” This is an extension of the same thread that proclaims: “What, me end up in a nursing home? Never happen.” Or, “What, if I dont save now Ill end up living on Social Security? Never happen.” Or, “What, sock dollars I dont have into a life insurance policy because I might drop dead at the age of 43? Never happen.” Or, “What, a mortgage that consumes well over 30% of my income is a disaster waiting to happen? Never happen.”
Somehow, all these things that do happen (every day), but to other people, wont happen to them. Go figure.
If youre feeling at this point that I have less than complete confidence in the willingness of a majority of Americans to take control of the financial rudders of their lives, youre getting warm. Where, I wonder, do all those people who do have this confidence find the justification for it?
Remember, these la-la landers who dont even know they have disability coverage are the same people who are supposed to be eminently qualified to self-direct their privatized accounts in what is being touted as Social Security for the 21st century.