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Milbank Q. 2000;78(1):79-113, iii.

Disability management, employee health and fringe benefits, and long-term-disability claims for mental disorders: an empirical exploration.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Mental disorders account for a large share of claims and benefit costs in both private and public long-term-disability (LTD) insurance programs. This is the first empirical study to explore factors that may explain variations in private-sector LTD claims incidence and cost across groups of employees. Employee fringe-benefit arrangements, including patterns of coverage for mental health treatment, are found to be important predictors of incidence rates. Award rates for public disability insurance coverage (SSDI) are also strongly related to claims incidence, suggesting that private LTD is an important pathway to SSDI benefits. Some employee disability-management strategies, such as front-line manager involvement and provision of alternative jobs for employees returning from disability leave, are predictive of lower claims rates and/or costs.

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