integrated disabilityThe need to improve tracking and reporting, provide a better employee experience and achieve consistent administration continue to drive employers to integrate as indicated through Spring Consulting Group’s 2014 Employer Survey of Integrated Disability, Absence and Health Management Trends.

Although integration means different things to different people, two distinct but expanding tracks exist. Many employers integrate disability (STD and LTD) with Family Medical Leave (FML), other leave of absence (LOA) and state/municipal leave administration.  Others focus on health management by not only incorporating group health, EAP/behavioral health and disease management programs, but also coordinating wellness, health risk assessments (HRAs), nurse care lines, and more recently health coaching and employee advocacy.

Thirty-nine percent of employers report they have a total absence management program requiring employees to report all absences to a designated source, and workers’ compensation (WC) has remained steady at 40%. Integrated programs include a number of components, with employee communications, email notification to managers for leave, and RTW programs the most common.

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What’s different in 2014 is the importance that employers are placing on ADA. Fifty-four percent integrate ADA Leave as an accommodation, and 68% consider ADA part of their early intervention activities, second only to return to work.

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Employee wellness initiatives have increased with 68% making referrals as part of their early intervention efforts and almost 9 in 10 offering at least five wellness programs, such as flu shots, smoking cessation, weight management, stress reduction education, and nutrition education.

When asked how much savings/improvement employers have been able to achieve, almost half of large employers have increased RTW rates, while other have decreased cost and lost time.

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Survey Methodology: 

The survey was facilitated electronically and coordinated answers from 521 employers consisting of both integrators and non-integrators. Employers represent different industries and where appropriate results were stratified by size. The survey was sponsored by insurance companies and third-party administrators who received detailed survey results.  If your organization is interested in sponsoring or participating in the 2015 survey, or if you are an employer and want to benchmark yourself against the group, please contact Karen English ( at 617-589-0930 x105.

Photo by mrmanc

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Karen English

Karen English

Karen Trumbull English, CPCU, ARM, ACI, AU is a Partner with Spring Consulting Group, LLC, formerly Watson Wyatt Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. She has twenty years of experience that spans across both health & welfare and property & casualty arenas, and routinely works with her clients on program strategy, product development, process improvement and market research initiatives. She leads the firms’ health and productivity approach and is actively involved in voluntary and other emerging benefits. Prior to joining Spring Consulting Group and Watson Wyatt, Karen led the regional risk & insurance practice for a small consulting firm, held the role of Assistant Risk Manager for one of the nation’s largest banks (U.S. Bank), and was a casualty broker for two of the world’s largest insurance brokers (Marsh and Aon). Karen has her BBA in Risk Management and Human Resources from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MBA in Finance from University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management. She has also earned the designations of CPCU, ARM, ACI, and AU and is a licensed insurance broker.