This May’s Disability Insurance Awareness Month is a fading memory, but the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) is still out there trying to get the attention of consumers, and agents.
Carol Harnett, the president of the Portland, Maine-based group, wants people to realize that, as painful as unexpected medical bills not covered by insurance can be, medical bills themselves rarely push households into bankruptcy.
Most of the time, she says, when people hurt by health problems file for bankruptcy, the main culprit is the loss of income caused by short-term or long-term disability.
Even when workers do have paid sick leave, “sick leave only goes so far,” Harnett said recently in an interview.
Here’s a link to the research paper Harnett uses to get people thinking about what health problems can do to workers’ ability to collect a paycheck.
Here are three things Harnett said she learned when CDA conducted research recently, using social media interaction analysis and other methods, to see what got consumers’ attention, and when got them taking active steps to protect themselves against the risk of losing the ability to work.
1. Consumers like stories.
CDA found that employers and agents love disability-related statistics.
Employers and agents loved to find out, from CDA, that about 50 million U.S. workers, or about 35% of all U.S. workers, lack either short-term or long-term disability insurance.
Consumers were different.
“Our experience is that consumers don’t pay attention to that,” Harnett said.
Instead, Harnett said, consumers responded to stories about how disability affected real people.