I WISH I HAD GOTTEN THE SHORT-TERM DISABILITY INSURANCE

This is a classic story of  being “penny-wise” and  “pound foolish”.  A true story.  My name is Meghan and I am recently divorced. They say that single women live longer than married women — but, married men live longer than un-married men. Don’t say that I understand that at all!! It doesn’t make much sense to me. It seems as if being single for women would give us more to worry about. I STIIL worry about my ex-husband and is he eating right and how could he possibly take proper care of himself without me around??  And, now I have a boyfriend and HIS family, and HIS mother and siblings to worry about. In addition to my own kids and grand-kids. I tell you  —  the Worry never stops around here. My boyfriend teases me that I must be Jewish because I worry so much.

This blog REALLY is about insurance.  I promise. About four weeks ago, I pranced into my work-out center to go work-out.  Well, I forgot my tennis shoes and ran back out to the car to get them. There was a ladder pressed up against the building and I made sure that I DID NOT walk under the ladder.  Everyone knows that’s bad luck.  As I carefully avoided walking under the ladder, I tripped over a large hole in the parking lot and in doing so, I also fell atop a large pointed rock and broke my foot just about in half. It was the fifth metatarsal, to be exact.

Now, I didn’t know that I actually broke my foot. I knew it hurt a lot and I wanted to cry. I didn’t cry. I went back inside to work-out with my trainer. (Don’t worry. He didn’t let me work out on the lower half of my body because I couldn’t walk ‘n all.)  After my work-out, I kind of rested for a few minutes because my foot hurt so damn much. Then, I went out to the car and went to work.  I called my supervisor from my car and asked him to park my vehicle because I could barely walk. He cheerfully parked it for me.  Everyone at work said that it couldn’t possibly be broken because I’d be “sick to my stomach”.   I wasn’t.  I finished my shift at work and then went to Walmart to buy some ice packs and some Epsom Salts.

By the time I woke up the next morning I was in such pain that even I felt compelled to go to the doctor. I did. He x-rayed it  and it definitely WAS broken.  That’s when I did get a little “sick to my stomach”.  I went home and, on my doctor’s orders, put my foot up. It looked horrible and was really swollen.  He made an appointment with a specialist for me for a week later. I went to the specialist a week later and he put a “boot” on it.  And, he told me to stay off of it and not go to work.  For at least three weeks.

I had not purchased the ” SHORT-TERM DISABILITY INSURANCE” from my employer because: 1. I am stupid.  2. Foolhardy.  3. Stupid. 4. Was trying to save money. 5. And, just generally short-sighted. The insurance itself costs less than five bucks a month. I didn’t think I’d ever use it because one has to be sick for more than two weeks before it “kicks in’. I thought, “Well, if I’m ever that sick than I will so screwed that I won’t care about my pay.”  NOT true. First of all, in the event of an accident, it starts paying on the very first day you’re out of work from the accident.   And, I certainly do care that I’m not making any money right now. The rent still has to be paid, I still have to eat, etc. and etc. I wish I had purchase the insurance.  Please learn from my mistake.

Here is some info about short-term disability insurance:

If you were to become disabled tomorrow and couldn’t work for two or three months, would you have enough savings to cover your living expenses during that time? If not, you may want to consider short-term disability insurance.

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, three in 10 people entering the work force today will become disabled before retiring. Also, one in seven people can expect to be disabled for five years or more before retirement. Statistics like that make should make short-term disability insurance a vital piece of your overall financial plan.

What is STD?

Short term disability (STD) pays a percentage of your salary if you become temporarily disabled, meaning that you are not able to work for a short period of time due to sickness or injury (excluding on-the-job injuries, which are covered by workers compensation insurance). A typical STD policy provides you with a weekly portion of your salary — usually 50, 60, or 66 2/3 percent for 13 to 52 weeks, according to the “Short Term Disability Guide” issued by the Epic Life Insurance Co. Most STD policies have a “cap,” meaning you receive a maximum benefit amount per month.

STD policies have a cap on the amount of time you can receive benefits — up to two years, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Causes of STD claims

  • Pregnancy (normal): 21 percent
  • Injuries (excluding back): 10 percent
  • Digestive/intestinal diseases: 7 percent
  • Back injuries: 6 percent

Source: Unum Group

The average premium in 2007 for a group STD policy was $197 per year, according to Drew King, president of JHA, a subsidiary of General Re Life Corp. STD insurance, which is most often purchased as part of a group at work, can be paid by either the employer or the employee. Group STD policies are “guaranteed issue,” meaning you do not have to take a medical exam to buy coverage.

On the average, you can start receiving money from your STD policy within one to 14 days after becoming sick or disabled, according to JHA. The actual time for coverage to kick in depends on whether you suffer an illness or injury. If you suffer an injury, your benefits will be paid immediately. If you suffer an illness, it may take longer because there needs to be enough time to show that the illness is grave enough to be disabling.

For example, if you severely injure yourself by falling off a ladder at your house, your benefits would kick in immediately. However, if you suffer from a serious illness and can’t go to work, your insurance may not kick in until eight days after you became ill. Also, your employer may have additional restrictions as to when your STD policy kicks in. For example, your employer may require you to use all of your sick days before you begin receiving payments from your STD policy.

You also may receive retroactive benefits if you have a condition that worsens over time. For example, let’s say you have a cold and you took three sick days at work. If your cold evolves into pneumonia and you need to be hospitalized for three weeks, you would receive disability pay retroactive to your first sick day.

Who should buy short-term disability?

Individual STD policies are available only on a limited basis. Your best bet is to buy STD coverage through your workpace. Some insurers sell “accident policies” that will pay you money each month for a year if you are injured in an accident.

If you have enough in savings to last until you go to work again, you probably don’t need to buy STD or an individual accident policy. However, if you do not have much in savings or any other income to fall back on if you were to become disabled, an individual STD policy is a wise option.

Top 10 short-term disability insurance companies, ranked by earned premium
Insurance company
2007 sales
(in millions)
1. Hartford Life
$102.6
2. Lincoln Financial Group
$61.4
3. Unum
$60.7
4. Aetna
$42.6
5. Sun Life Financial
$41.7
6. MetLife
$40.9
7. CIGNA
$37.6
8. Reliance Standard
$36.8
9. Standard
$34.3
10. Prudential
$30.1
Source: JHA

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