Even while medical problems are one of the leading causes of bankruptcies and foreclosures in the nation, a large portion of the workforce has been found to have insufficient long-term disability risk planning, reports a new survey by Sun Life Financial, Inc. The results indicate the presence of a national workforce ill prepared for the changing landscape of workplace benefits. The more freedom and responsibility employers give to workers to decide on purchasing group benefits the more apparent the lack of education American workers have regarding benefits such as disability and life insurance.
“We must educate the U.S. workforce to understand the financial risks of long-term disability and learn best practices to mitigate their risks,” said Robert E. Klein, Jr., Vice President of Voluntary Benefits. “If ten couples gather for a barbecue, we estimate that roughly three of them will have a partner who experiences a disability lasting one year or longer during their professional lifetimes.”
Several key findings from the survey, entitled “Will workers in America hope to dodge the bullet, remain blind to the risks, or simply hide? Perceptions, misconceptions, and best practices about long-term disability,” include:
- Over one-third of all full-time workers carry no long-term disability insurance.
- Nearly 40 percent of workers offered group disability insurance by their employers choose to decline.
- The primary three reasons for workers declining long-term disability insurance include: believing the risk doesn’t justify the premium, being ignorant of plan benefits, and considering the idea of disability too frightening to address.
- Workers most likely to have purchased long-term disability insurance are under the age of 50, male, in a minority group, and a technology worker.
- Many workers remain unaware of the features and benefits of disability insurance and also fail to consider the effects a disability would have on their financial situation.