Short-term disability (STD) claims are far more common than long-term disability (LTD) claims and can significantly impact an employer’s bottom line through increased expenses and decreased productivity. Studies show that the rate of STD claims is about 75 per 1,000 lives, while the rate of LTD claims is seven per 1,000 lives.1
To rein in costs and keep productivity high, it is critical that employers manage short-term disability comprehensively and fully integrate it with other benefits, including wellness and employee assistance.
UPMC WorkPartners offers a full suite of integrated absence management services, which includes short-term disability claims management, to employers that self-insure. We can help employers reduce referrals to long-term disability, develop customized return-to-work strategies, and reduce short-term disability durations. On every case, our disability specialists and nurse case managers focus on strong medical case management and reliable and thorough claims management. The result: decreased absence costs, decreased disability durations, increased workforce productivity, and an improved bottom line.
Short-Term Disability Claims Service
At UPMC WorkPartners, we believe in early and proactive involvement in every disability claim. Our claims experts interact with medical providers, clinical experts, vocational specialists, and others to speed claim resolution, reduce duration, and simplify the return-to-work process. Our professional staff of disability specialists, physicians, nurses, and vocational rehabilitation specialists works collaboratively to assess each employee’s ability to work and manage each claim to resolution.
As your short-term disability claims administrator, UPMC WorkPartners offers:
Comprehensive case management. Our team works closely with clients to strategically manage claims and return employees to work. Critical components of our success include our high-touch medical management philosophy and an array of clinical resources and staff, including nurses and medical directors who carefully review documentation to ensure medical support of short-term disability claims. When necessary, our case management team provides peer-to-peer review and physician outreach.
Aggressive claims management. Our thorough process seeks to ensure that new claims receive a fair assessment of benefit eligibility and ongoing claims receive constant attention for the duration of the disability. For employees on disability leave, we assign a dedicated disability specialist to help connect the employee to the right resources at the right time. These may include employee assistance programs, health and disease management, or a customized return-to-work program. The specialist works closely with the employee and supervisor throughout the claims process and serves as a central point of contact. The result is better communication and personal, respectful service to your employees.
Proven return-to-work strategies. We work closely with employers to make the most of their existing light-duty programs and consult in the development of new return-to-work programs. We recognize the many challenges employers face in successfully returning an employee to work and always work toward the optimal outcome for both employer and employee.
Close monitoring of program performance. Our team works with employers to understand, measure, and manage disability. Our comprehensive reporting services provide numerous opportunities for cost savings and improved productivity. We monitor key program performance indicators over time, compare them to industry benchmarks, and then partner with the client to take the proper course of action.
Coordinated disability programs. Our aggressive claims management approach and rigorous return-to-work process attempt to minimize the number of short-term disability claims that transition to long-term disability claims. If an employee does transition to long-term disability, UPMC WorkPartners manages the transition to avoid any additional administrative burden for the employer and to reduce the possibility of any disruption in benefits for the employee.
Integrated delivery of benefits. We coordinate the various benefits provided to employees and ensure that they receive the right assistance in their time of need, leading to better employee health, productivity, and satisfaction. This approach is an intrinsic part of all our solutions, even when we provide only one or two of them to our clients. For our short-term disability clients, we can create links to various programs — including long-term disability, employee assistance, leave management, workers’ compensation, and health and wellness — so employees on disability can connect to the benefits they need most.
Following are the key short-term disability services UPMC WorkPartners provides:
Clinical Case Management
- Experienced claims professionals with an average of seven years of experience
- Escalated case review process
- Peer-to-peer physician review
- Medical professional outreach that results in appropriate care and quicker claims resolution
Proactive Return-to-Work Strategies
- Use of clinical guidelines to identify and manage claims that fall outside of average treatment durations
- Access to in-house medical experts, with a focus on more accurate, medically appropriate decision making
- Identification and management of an employee’s disability and co-morbid conditions
- Support for issues affecting employee’s quality of life and ability to return to work
- On-site evaluation of work conditions and development of customized return-to-work programs
- In-house vocational experts with an average of 23 years of experience
- Recognition of ADA liability
- Tracking of key return-to-work metrics, including return-to-work claim percentage and total transitional workdays
Dedicated Account Team
- Timely approval of benefits that reduces financial and lifestyle disruption caused by the disability
- Customized and targeted communication to reduce confusion and administrative burden
- 24/7 access to online or call center claim intake services to report non-occupational injuries
- Dedicated disability specialist
- Proactive focus on restoring wellness and employment
Robust Reporting and Customizable Analytics
- Streamlined program management and consistent communication
- Development of performance measurements that align with organizational and program goals
- Consultation regarding short-term disability program enhancements, return-to-work strategies, and creative ways to reduce absence and improve productivity
- Full suite of reports, including an easy-to-read statistical scorecard measuring program performance
- Case management reports, including benchmarking and outcome measurement
- Integrated snapshot of absence data from all sources, including short-term disability, long-term disability, and workers’ compensation
- Real-time snapshots of short-term disability incidence, duration, costs, and lost work time
- Transition from short-term disability to long-term disability carrier
- Short-term disability claim management process integrated with employer leave management, workers’ compensation, and long-term disability
- Referral opportunities to other employer-benefit programs, including employee assistance and health and wellness
- Concurrent management of leaves (FMLA, military, and employer-sponsored) and short-term disability
- Disability information managed and monitored by state-of-the-art technology system
- Eligibility verification coordinated with HRIS system
- Full integration with medical disability advisor
- Work loss and restricted duty tracking
What You’ll Gain
We believe that calling in the experts makes a lot of sense. At the heart of our solution is a team of disability management professionals with significant experience in resolving short-term disability claims. Our hands-on approach brings the right resources together at the right time to maximize efficiency, reduce durations, and drive case closure.
Ultimately, this results in improved health and financial security for employees and improved productivity and profits for our client companies.
You’ll also benefit from:
- Administrative efficiency
- Reduction of employee time away from work
- Enhanced tracking and integrated reporting
- Scalable programs customized to align with your business objectives
- Return-to-work consultation to identify opportunities for modified duty
- Expertise in leave, disability management, and vocational rehabilitation
- Full, in-house medical staff of clinicians and nurses, renowned business leaders, and subject matter experts