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The Cost of Disability

SNOOK, STOVER, H.; WEBSTER, BARBARA, S.

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: August 1987 - Volume 221 - Issue - p 77–84
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Approximately 16.5% of the adult population in the United States is disabled. About half of the disabled are severely limited and unable to work regularly. Musculoskeletal disorders are the most frequent type of disability. In the United States, there are three major types of disability insurance: Social Security Disability Insurance (a federal program), Workers' Compensation Insurance (usually a state-regulated program), and private health insurance. Recent years have seen a greater demand for private long-term disability insurance, as the trend increases toward less than total reliance on public programs to support disabled workers. The most recent statistics available indicate that Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are currently about $16.8 billion per year; workers' compensation benefits, $16.1 billion; and private disability income protection benefits, $5.2 billion. These figures add up to almost $40 billion in insurance costs. However, insurance costs are only part of the total cost because not everyone is covered by insurance, and insurance does not cover all disabilities. Disability can never be totally prevented or eliminated, but disability and its costs can be substantially reduced through more effective treatment and rehabilitation, including patient education and vocational rehabilitation.

From the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.