Survey: Americans Underestimate the Risk of Disability

Empire BlueCross BlueShield survey finds most Americans fail to
protect their income with disability insurance

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–When we think about protecting ourselves and our families, we think
about locking our doors, buying a safe car, exercising, or even wearing
sunscreen. But do we think about protecting our incomes? According to a
survey conducted by Empire BlueCross BlueShield, while 90 percent of
respondents say they lock their doors and windows, just 40 percent of
Americans have disability insurance, which could protect them
financially if they were unable to work.

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, a time to consider that,
while disability can seem unlikely, it’s more common than many people
think. According to a 2012 FBI report, the risk of a home robbery is one
in 36, but people think they’re more likely to be robbed than to become
disabled. Unfortunately, more than one in four of today’s 20 year-olds
will become disabled before they retire, according to statistics from
the Center for Disability Awareness.

“It’s our job to help people protect against the unpredictable,” said
Larry Schreiber, president and CEO of Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
“Financial wellness is an important part of overall wellbeing, and
disability insurance can help alleviate financial stress.”

It’s difficult to protect yourself from what you’re not expecting, and
disability is a commonly underestimated threat. Most people think of
workplace injuries or accidents when they think of disability, but the
reality is 90 percent of disabilities are caused by illness, such as
arthritis, back pain or cancer.

For this reason, integrating disability and medical benefits may also
help employees get back to work sooner and help employers control costs
of absenteeism. More than 80 percent of employers using integrated
benefits agree this approach is valuable to both employees and
employers, according to an August 2015 study by Employee Benefit News.

“Disability benefits provide peace of mind and financial protection, but
they also help connect the dots for overall health,” said Schreiber. “As
one of the nation’s leading benefit companies, we recognize that
physical, emotional and financial health are interconnected. The
integration of health and disability plans helps consumers get back on
their feet faster while providing a stronger financial foothold.”

This report presents the findings of a telephone omnibus survey using
the field services of Opinion Research Corporation, from April 16-20,
2015. The study was conducted using two probability samples: randomly
selected landline telephone numbers and randomly selected mobile (cell)
telephone numbers. The combined sample consists of 1,010 adults (18
years old and older) living in the continental United States. Of the
1,010 interviews, 508 were from the landline sample and 502 from the
cell phone sample. The margin of error for the sample of 1,010 is ± 3.08
percent at the 95 percent confidence level. This means that if we were
to replicate the study, we would expect to get the same results within
3.08 percentage points 95 times out of 100

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Serving New Yorkers for 80 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the
largest health insurer in New York supporting more than four million
members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New
York. Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire
HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is
the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees
of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and
businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York
State. Additional information about Empire is available at
Also, follow us on Twitter at @empirebcbs.


Empire BlueCross BlueShield
Sally Kweskin, 212-476-1421