America’s Health Insurance Plans is encouraging disability insurers to tell lawmakers and others about the value of Social Security application assistance services.

AHIP, Washington, has sent disability insurance company chief executive officers and members of its Disability Income Leadership Council a memo updating them on its response to recent New York Times coverage of disability insurers’ Social Security Disability Insurance application assistance programs.

AHIP also is responding to a letter that Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent to disability insurers asking about their SSDI application assistance efforts.

In the Times articles, Social Security Administration officials suggested that disability insurers might be overburdening the SSDI claim determination system by requiring claimants who are not eligible for SSDI benefits to apply for the benefits.

AHIP President Karen Ignagni writes in the SSDI response memo that AHIP is writing to Grassley to point out what it believes to be inaccuracies in the Times article.

“We also are reaching out to key contacts on Capitol Hill to provide similar information,” Ignagni writes.

Ignagni says AHIP wants to convey the point that disability insurance is an important benefit for millions of Americans, and that only claimants with long-term disabilities are encouraged to apply for SSDI benefits.

Some of the other AHIP talking points include the following:

- Disability insurers should continue to assist beneficiaries in taking advantage of their rights under the Social Security program.

- Most consumers want to exhaust their appeals rights for SSDI benefits.

- Private disability insurers’ practices are not contributing to the SSDI backlog or adding unnecessary administrative costs to the SSA.

- While the SSA is taking important steps to reduce the SSDI backlog, private disability insurers can help to further speed and improve the SSDI claim adjudication process.

- Insurers do not base reserve calculations on claimants’ applications for SSDI.