Cancer Remains Leading Cause Of Unum’s Disability Claims

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

For the 12th year cancer is the top reason for long-term disability claims for Unum (NYSE: UNM), followed closely by back disorders, according to 2012 claims data.

Cancer claims were nearly 16 percent of the company’s long term disability claims, while back disorders made up 15.1 percent of claims. The leading reasons for Unum’s short term disability claims in 2012 were maternity (18.9 percent of claims) and non-back injuries (10.5 percent).

Disability Insurance Awareness Month in May is a good opportunity to highlight the value of disability coverage, not only for the financial benefit it provides, but also for the support that employees receive as they recover and return to work. Recovery and return to work play a particularly significant role for cancer patients.

“Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work,” said Kristin Tugman, senior director of Health and Productivity at Unum. “It helps create a sense of normalcy and control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed.”

Advances in cancer treatment have lead to much higher rates of survival from diagnosis. The American Cancer Society estimates that the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will grow to nearly 18 million by 2022. The Cancer Society also observes that the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor is the next critical area of attention for families, care givers and employers.

“We work closely with employers whose employees are out on disability because of cancer,” Tugman said. “When a cancer patient is ready to resume some work responsibilities, we can help the employer offer the necessary support and accommodations their employee needs to return to work in a productive and safe manner.”

Cancer patients experience a wide range of side effects from treatment, including fatigue and cognitive issues that are the result of “chemo-brain,” Tugman said. As the employee transitions back to work, possible accommodations could include:

  • Clearly defining work expectations and limitations
  • Creating a flexible or reduced work schedule
  • Modifying work stations to avoid having to stand or sit for too long
  • Allowing extra time for breaks to combat fatigue
  • Coaching and providing feedback on performance

Through research and education Unum offers employers guidance on how they can support workers through cancer diagnosis and treatment, and help those employees return successfully to the workplace.

“Although cancer remains a significant area of focus for our disability claims professionals,” Tugman said, “we are seeing some dramatic trends in recovery and return to work. And we recognize the importance in helping the customer – and their employer – learn to see beyond the diagnosis and to understand the important role that returning to work can play in a cancer survivor’s overall recovery.”

Other leading causes of long term disability claims for Unum in 2012 were:

  • Back disorders (excluding injury) (15.1%)
  • Injuries (9.8%)
  • Behavioral health issues (9.8%)
  • Circulatory system disorders (9.0%)
  • Joint disorders (8.3%)

Leading causes of short term disability claims were:

  • Normal pregnancy (18.9%)
  • Injuries (10.5%)
  • Complications from pregnancy (8.4%)
  • Digestive disorders (8%)
  • Back disorders (7.1%)
  • Cancer (6.8%)

Beacon Health Alliance Opens Pediatric Night Clinic On Goodwin Road

Beacon Health Alliance has opened a Pediatric Night Clinic at 7550 Goodwin Road. It is staffed by pediatric providers with no urgent care co-pay. Walk-ins are welcome and most insurance is accepted. Hours are Monday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. and Sunday noon-8 p.m. Call 423-894-3252 .  (click for more)

Erlanger Named America's Best Hospital For Fourth Consecutive Year

For the fourth consecutive year, the Erlanger Health System has been named one of “ America ’s Best Hospitals” by  U.S. News & World Report  in the publication’s 2014-15 Top Hospitals edition. Erlanger was named “ Best   Hospital  by Metro Area,” and ranked in the top 10 ”Best Hospitals in  Tennessee .” Erlanger was also the only ... (click for more)

Erlanger Health System Projecting $10.8 Million Profit - With Help From $19 Million In Federal Funds

Erlanger Health System is projecting a $10.8 million profit for the upcoming fiscal year - with the help of $19 million in federal funds from a pool for public hospitals. The $19 million received in time for the current budget helped avoid a sizable deficit. The hospital is hoping the federal funds will be coming on an annual basis. At the start of the last fiscal year, ... (click for more)

History Center Gets $400,000 Grant From National Endowment For The Arts

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded grants totaling more than $800,000 to three Tennessee projects that aim to display and preserve historical materials. Winning grants Monday included the Chattanooga History Center, which will get $400,000 to install a permanent, multimedia exhibit on the history of Chattanooga. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will ... (click for more)

Vote To Retain Supreme Court Justices

On Aug. 7 or by voting early by Aug. 2, voters will choose to "retain" or "replace" Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade. If retained, they will serve for another eight years.  The retention election is a way to retain judges who make decisions based on the law and facts -or remove judges who are incompetent. Tennessee's Judicial Performance ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Judge Philyaw Is The Best

Tomorrow morning there will be a special gathering at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court that will prove to our community that we have perhaps the most innovative juvenile judge in America. Shortly after Rob Philyaw was hand-picked by our Hamilton County Commissioners to fill the remainder of Suzanne Bailey’s term 15 months ago, he found that truancy was a big problem in our schools. ... (click for more)