Disability Study Reflects Health Trends

Disability blog postingCigna’s 20-year disability study may be the Mini-Me of American health.

The study tracked short-term disability claims incurred between 1993 to 2012.

Absences related to three conditions increased significantly during that time.

  • Obesity
  • Skin cancer
  • Herniated disc surgeries

Certain medical conditions causing short-term disabilities are more prevalent than they were 20 years ago.

Our aging workforce and expanding waistlines are the culprits, according to Cigna’s chief medical officer.

Disability Data Dump

Cigna provides an Infographic with relevant data from the study. The infographics is a bit busy for this post so I pulled a portion of the data (as shown below).

Disability Study Info-Blog Image

Disability: A Sign of Our Time?

With nearly 80 million baby boomers, something tells me there will be a lot more disabilities as we work longer and our joints age. Not to mention the rest of our bodies.

I was ahead of the curve and had the herniated disc surgery when I was 40-years-old. The skin cancer was more recent.

We were of an age that not only avoided sunscreen, we slathered on baby oil to attract the sun. Live and learn.

Another interesting observation from the study applied to depression.

  • 20 years ago, depression was the 3rd leading cause of short-term disabilities
  • Today, the study ranks depression as the 5th leading cause

However, the analysts are not celebrating.

Analysts note one-fourth of all Americans suffer from a mental disorder. They speculate the drop in absences may have more to do with a decrease in the number of people seeking treatment.


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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.

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  1. says

    When first reading the article I thought the statistics must have been about long term, rather than short term disability. Childbirth is the largest category of short term disability claims by a wide margin. The Cigna study did not mention it once.

    Either their plans exclude childbirth, or they don’t want to publicize that feature – they are money losing policies.
    Kevin H @ Ask 4 Benefits´s last blog post ..Does Short Term Disability Cover Cancer?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Kevin. Actually, a note at the end of the PowerPoint on the study said they excluded maternity.

      I happen to be old enough that I was working in insurance when federal law for group insurance (15 or more employees) mandated pregnancy be treated AAOD (as any other disability in our insurance love of acronyms). 😉

      Not too long after they found an unintended effect of pregnancy being excluded as a pre-existing condition. Ah, loopholes everywhere.

      I imagine Cigna left it our because they don’t want to stir up that pot. But it would be interesting to see the cost. Thanks, as always, Kevin, for your insight.
      Cathy Miller´s last blog post ..Disability Study Reflects Health TrendsMy Profile

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