The financial sustainability of your employee benefits plan should be a primary consideration for our organization, and that means confirming that appropriate cost control measures are in place. Because disability benefits are such an important part of your benefits plan, it’s especially important to ensure that disability claims are effectively managed, both for you and your employee. At GroupHEALTH, we do this by partnering with the Disability Management Institute (DMI).
Disability Management Institute (DMI)
DMI provides professional disability management services across Canada. Acting as an independent third party, DMI works closely with employers and workers who have had a disability claim to proactively manage the employee’s disability.
DMI provides numerous services, but its Early Intervention Program is an especially powerful way to impact the costs of long-term disability coverage.
Early Intervention Program
DMI’s Early Intervention Program is aimed at non-work related illness or injury. Here’s how it works:
- The employer notifies DMI when an employee has been absent for five days due to non-work-related illness or injury.
- Within one day, DMI initiates contact with the absent employee.
- DMI supports the employee and the employer throughout the disability.
So what do disability management and support mean? For employees, it’s practical support such as help filling out paperwork for disability benefits or medical EI. It’s regular contact and emotional support during a challenging time.
For employers, it’s regular and timely (non-confidential) updates on the employee. This gives you, the employer, information needed to plan for the absence.
Crucially, DMI then collects information about the workplace and creates a customized return-to-work plan for the employee. This is done collaboratively, through regular contact with employees, their healthcare providers, and employers, ensuring that the plan is reasonable, effective and has a high probability of success.
Throughout the program, DMI acts as the single point of contact for employees, employers, insurance carriers and physicians. This ensures clear, accurate information is exchanged between all parties while protecting the employee’s privacy.
The Benefits of Intervening Early
The key to understanding how early intervention helps control disability costs is to recognize the importance of how soon the employee returns to work.
DMI’s goal with the early intervention program is to help employees get back to work as soon as they’re able. Why? Because a safe, early return to work is best for the employee and it’s best for the employer. 50% of employees who are absent for more than six months and 90% of employees who are absent for one year never return to gainful employment.
This has some significant implications on an employer’s disability benefits and ultimately their employee benefit costs. According to a study by one insurer, early intervention programs reduce workdays lost, repeat short term absences, and long-term disability conversion. Each of these reductions translates into cost savings for employers.
A safe, early return to work also has some important implications for your employee and their quality of life. The sooner a disabled employee returns to work, the more likely they are to return to their pre-disability health.
Going It Alone Comes With Risks
While it is possible to manage a disability claim without the help of a professional disability management organization, there are some areas that can be very challenging.
- Employers may struggle to protect the employee’s privacy while getting information on a possible return to work
- Employers may not have the skill or resources to create a return to work plan that meets their needs (as the employer) and incorporates the current abilities of their employee
- It’s common for employers to “lose track” of employees on disability leaves. Because DMI’s program establishes regular and recurring contact, the employee does not feel disconnected from their workplace
- The administrative resources required to manage a claim can be substantial, and many employers don’t have the appropriate expertise (or time) to ensure that the necessary paperwork and processes are followed. DMI ensures that the administrative needs are met, for both the employer and the employee.
GroupHEALTH and DMI
DMI’s early intervention program is based on proactivity: the earlier a claim is managed well, the more likely the employer and employee get the best possible outcome. That’s why GroupHEALTH has partnered with DMI to embed DMI’s services, including its Early Intervention Program, into our disability coverage. It’s a reliable way to help reduce disability claim costs, which ultimately contributes to the long-term sustainability of your benefit plan.
Good Advice is Key
Interested in learning more about how disability management services can help control disability claim costs? Looking for disability benefits that include these services? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.