Disability insurers are trying to persuade group plan insureds to check their weight, their blood pressure and their cholesterol, and to take action if any of those indicators show signs of trouble.
The workers with the most obvious need for disability insurance also tend to be obvious candidates for wellness programs, according to MetLife Inc., New York.
When the company commissioned a worker survey, analysts found that 59% of the workers surveyed who described their health as fair or poor also said they live paycheck to paycheck, compared with 34% of the employees who said they are in very good or excellent health.
Roughly 94% of U.S. employers agree that wellness programs can reduce medical costs, but, in 2009, only 33% of employers offered wellness programs, and that percentage has drifted upward at a leisurely rate from 27% in 2005, MetLife analysts report.
UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., and Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., Memphis, Tenn., have announced an effort to integrate medical, disability, leave, absence and wellness programs, in part in an effort to improve “long-term wellness outcomes.”
Aetna Inc., Hartford, recently published data showing that integrating wellness programs with health and disability plans can lead to quick, measurable effects on health claims and short-term disability claims.
When Aetna offered an integrated program that included a health risk assessment screening, integrated program members were 3 times more likely than members of ordinary plans to complete an assessment, and 35% of the members who completed an assessment joined a wellness program.
Absenteeism was lower for the integrated program members, Aetna says.