It is common practice to manage disability and absence claims in isolation. In fact, two totally different teams of administrators can often manage these claims. This process can result in disjointed communication between claims administrators, employees, and employers, particularly if the leave is managed externally.

Offering an integrated approach to disability management can help employers proactively determine if employees out on FMLA or sick leave will need to report a disability claim at a later date. This predetermination allows employers to plan more efficiently. Three key benefits of Integrated Disability and Absence Management (IDM) are outlined below.

1. Improved Operations

An integrated claims system allows administrators to have full access to employees claim details. Integration of claim information removes redundant processes freeing up more time for administrators to better manage employee files and processes. Administrators can communicate better with employees out on leave, improving morale, which has been proven to result in faster RTW.

Better managed files and improved integration of data results in improved tracking of employees out on leave, better reporting capabilities, and hence improved planning for when employees are out on leave.

2. Compliance

IDM allows absenteeism to be tracked more efficiently ensuring compliance with FMLA and ADA regulations. Integration ensures best practices are applied to all employee leaves ensuring a more comprehensive approach and management.

ADA ensures all employees are encouraged to return to work through suitable workplace accommodations, which place no undue hardship on an employer. Managing employee leaves of absence allows supervisors, claim administrators and employers to work together to ensure employees are encouraged to RTW.

3. Cost Benefits

Improved operations through integration reduce claim duplication and administration time for managing multiple programs, eliminating redundant processes. Compliance with federal and state leave laws, as previously discussed, reduces the risk of an employer being subject to expensive litigation.

Employees claims while out on sick leave or FMLA can be better managed, allowing better determination if they may need to report a disability claim.  Applying early intervention techniques and facilitating earlier return to work (RTW) reduces the overall cost of employee absenteeism.

A recent Spring Consulting survey revealed that 59% of employers that have integrated their absence and disability programs reported an increase in RTW rates. If increased productivity, improved claim processing efficiency, and reduced absenteeism is your goal, now is the time to consider an integrated benefits approach.