Combining management of medical and disability insurance programs seems to improve claimants’ return-to-work rates by 5% to 37%.

Researchers at CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, have come to that conclusion in an analysis of 2 years of claims from 40 large customers with a total of 300,000 insured employees.

The employers had some employees with either disability or health coverage from CIGNA and some who had bought health and disability coverage from CIGNA.

CIGNA researchers also found that employees taking Family and Medical Leave Act leave for family reasons were about 50% more likely to file short-term disability claims for behavioral illness than were employees who took FMLA leave for other reasons.

CIGNA has responded to the findings by offering discounts to employers that buy both medical and disability insurance from CIGNA, the company says.