Combining health coverage with disability coverage may cut an employer’s absence rate 20%.

CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia (NYSE:CI), has published that figure in a summary of results from an analysis of its 2009 claims.

Analysts conducted the study by creating two study populations matched for variables such as age, gender, industry, disability benefit type and previous disability.

The individuals in one group had integrated health and disability from CIGNA, and the individuals in the other group did not.

The analysts excluded absences resulting from pregnancy.

When individuals in the group with integrated coverage did require short-term disability leave, they spent an average of 13 fewer days on disability than the employees in the control group, CIGNA says.

The employees in the integrated plan who took short-term disability leave were also 11% more likely to return to work than the employees in the control group.

–Allison Bell