Employees Value Student Loan Payment Benefits

Ninety percent of 400 middle managers say that that student loan debt is creating stress for their employees, according to a survey by IonTuition. Nearly 85% say that employees would appreciate being able to make student loan payments via automatic payroll deductions. Almost 85% say that employees would take advantage of a student loan repayment assistance benefit; nearly 80% say it would help them recruit talent; and 70% say it would improve employee retention and morale. Nearly 75% say that employees contribute less to their 401(k) because of their student loans. More than half of managers say that prospective employees view benefits as the most important aspect of a company, taking priority over company culture, commute, and reputation

2013 Long Term Disability Claim Payments Soar

Disability claims payments totaled $9.8 billion in 2013, a 1.6% increase over 2012, according to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA).  In addition, more employers (214,000) offered long term disability benefit plans in 2013 than in 2012, yet the number of insured people fell 1% to 32.1 million — a decrease that may reflect the trend toward more voluntary/employee-paid disability benefit plans in which not all eligible employees enroll. CDA President Barry Lundquist said, “Despite increased consumer confidence, many employers and wage earners seem to have adopted a wait-and-see attitude toward benefit expenditures, a possible result of economic uncertainty and the fear of continually rising healthcare costs. It is a concern that, while more employers offered long-term disability benefit plans in 2013, fewer workers are actually protected. More and more employees are becoming responsible for making their own benefit decisions, so it’s critical to educate them about their risk of an income-interrupting illness or injury and the consequences of losing their paycheck. If our education efforts in this area are ineffective, we can expect declining numbers of employees with protected incomes in the years to come.”
The following are other key findings for 2013:

• Women accounted for 56% of new disability claimants approved by CDA member companies.
• The average claimant age exceeded 50 for the first time. Claims for those age 50 and older have been increasing consistently, mostly driven by claimants over age 60. Yet, more than four in 10 new claimants were in their 40s or younger.
• Musculoskeletal system/connective tissue disorders remain the leading cause of new disability claims, followed by cancer, injuries, cardiovascular/circulatory disorders and mental disorders.
• The total number of existing claimants who received disability payments fell 3% to 653,000.

For the second year in a row, new disability claims declined after increases in 2010 and 2011. The 5.7% decrease in new approved claims in 2013 is a result of fewer claim applications received, which is one indication of an improving economy. The number of disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments last year increased 1.3% to more than 8.9 million, which is the slowest growth rate in over a decade. To get a copy of the 2014 CDA Long Term Disability Claims Review, visit www.disabilitycanhappen.org.

2013 Long Term Disability Claim Payments Increase to $9.8 Billion

Disability claims payments totaled $9.8 billion in 2013, a 1.6% increase over 2012, according to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA). In addition, more employers (214,000) offered long term disability benefit plans in 2013 than in 2012, yet the number of insured people fell 1% to 32.1 million – a decrease that may reflect the trend toward more voluntary/employee-paid disability benefit plans. Women made up 56% of the 150,000 new disability claimants approved by CDA member companies were women.

In 2013, the average claimant age exceeded 50 for the first time. Claims for those age 50 and older  have been consistently increasing as a percentage of the total, reflecting the aging of America’s working population. Yet, more than four in 10 new claimants were in their 40s or younger. Musculoskeletal system/connective tissue disorders remain the leading cause of new disability claims, followed by cancer, injuries, cardiovascular/circulatory disorders and mental disorders.

The number of existing claimants who received disability payments in 2013 fell 3% to 653,000. For the second year in a row, new disability claims declined after increases in 2010 and 2011. The 5.7% decrease in new approved claims in 2013 is a result of fewer claim applications received — one indication of an improving economy. The number of disabled workers who were receiving SSDI payments last year increased 1.3% to more than 8.9 million, representing the slowest growth rate in over a decade. This slowing growth rate is a result of declining SSDI claim applications and new awards during the past three years. For more information, visit www.disabilitycanhappen.org.

Final ACA enrollment totals could rise or fall

California officials estimate that more than 30,000 state residents had begun applying for a health insurance plan through the state’s marketplace but were unable to complete their applications by the open enrollment deadline. If the numbers in California are representative of the country, some 178,000 Americans will complete applications over the next two weeks. Conversely, 10% to 20% of new enrollees might be dropped from the rolls if they do not pay their first month’s premium. Reuters (4/2), Politico (Washington, D.C.) (4/1)

Medicare Legislation Would Prevent Drastic Payment Cuts

President Barack Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 4302). The bill will halt a 24% reimbursement cut to Medicare providers. It will also eliminate the $2,000 deductible cap on small group health plans. Janet Trautwein, CEO of NAHU explains that many carriers have pulled out of Medicare, leaving thousands of beneficiaries in limbo. Addressing the physician payment will avert a similar crisis by ensuring continued access to physician services. The bill also includes bipartisan legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s statutory cap on deductibles for health plans in the small group market; a provision that Trautwein says the ACA’s inflexible deductible caps would force a majority of small group plans to put employees through significant and often higher premium plan re-design, including raising premiums, increasing copays, or stripping benefits to comply with the cap. She said that H.R. 4302 ensures stable and affordable private insurance coverage options and generates significant taxpayer savings.

Last Updated 05/05/2021

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