Depression & Long Term Disability

Depression is one of the major reasons people apply for long-term disability. Aetna and other leading insurers are increasing their depression management services in an effort to help workers cope with the often-baffling illness.

Depression is the second leading cause of disability worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Mental health disorders are the third most expensive economic burden of illness to employers in the United States, according to a 2004 report by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Aetna has done studies in the past and announced results from an analysis of claims data for members with short-term and long-term disability plans that demonstrate a connection between depression and the amount of time a disability keeps a person out of work. The analysis looked at claims data from 2002 to 2004 for 36,747 members. The results have prompted Aetna to offer depression education resources for members filing a disability claim, as well as referrals of certain claimants to Depression and Behavioral Health programs.

Aetna’s analysis looked at data for Aetna short-term disability claims from January 1, 2002, to June 30, 2004, and Aetna long-term disability claims from January 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003. Aetna Disability looked at a variety of diagnoses, from old standards like hypertension and pregnancy to less obvious candidates like irritable bowel syndrome and carpal tunnel.

What they found was that, in every instance, when depression is a comorbidity, the duration of the disability is longer. For example, claimants with chronic fatigue as the primary diagnosis and depression as a comorbidity were 100% more likely to miss additional days from work than claimants who just suffered from chronic fatigue. Other conditions scoring a high percentage include coronary atherosclerosis (80%), IBS (63%), pregnancy with normal delivery (39%), back pain (25%) and myalgia and myositis (23%).

Our office offers a free phone consultation for any person in the United States who has questions with their Long-Term Disability, call our firm toll free at 1-866-540-0677 or email us at info@allanwbenpc.com.

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