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Life Health > Health Insurance > Health Insurance

Unum finds LTD education gap

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U.S. workers are getting older and more nervous about their health, but not much more help with protecting their income against the risk of disability.

Barbara Nash, a vice president at Unum (NYSE:UNM), talked about worker attitudes in a sneak peak at upcoming employee survey results.

Unum has sponsored an online survey of 1,890 U.S. residents ages 18 to 55 who are full-time or part-time employees of companies owned by other people.

Only about one-third of the employees have long-term disability (LTD) insurance, and only 60 percent of the employees who knew they had access to LTD benefits could remember receiving any education about the benefits, Nash said.

“They really don’t get much information about it,” Nash said.

The survey participants who did receiving information about the LTD coverage said they felt much better equipped to make decisions about their coverage, Nash said.

Unum also found that the survey participants reported feeling about as stressed as the participants in a similar study Unum conducted in 2008, as the economy was starting to falter.

One sign of the stress: The average predicted retirement age is now 67.1, up from 64.5 five years ago.

Employees “are afraid,” Nash said. “They know they don’t have the savings to take care of it if they get sick and can’t work.”

Unum did not ask directly whether efforts to prepare for the start date of many programs and coverage changes related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) have affected benefits education efforts.

But Unum did ask survey participants about some of their concerns about PPACA.

About 33 percent of the participants said they were very or extremely concerned about the possibility that their employees might drop health benefits, and 48 percent said they were very or extremely concerned about how much they might have to pay for coverage if they end up having to get health insurance from the new PPACA health insurance exchange system.

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