Disability Leaves for Five Common Types of Cancer


A member brought to IBI’s attention a January 2018 Health Affairs report detailing the San Francisco Cancer Initiative's (SFCI) efforts to reduce the burden of five common cancers—breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, and liver—for which there are proven methods of prevention and detection, and for which effective treatments are known. The initiative can serve as a model for municipalities seeking to build coalitions of stakeholders to address public health issues. Clearly, employers have a stake in the success of this initiative given cancer's impact on employees' lives. Yet their businesses will also benefit if improved prevention, detection and treatment reduces costly lost work time from cancer-related disability leaves from work. This analysis underscores that message by addressing three questions:

  • How often do employees claim short-term disability (STD) benefits for common cancers?
  • What are the STD wage replacements costs of these cancers?
  • How often do STD claimants for common cancers fail to return to work before their benefits expire, and instead transition into long-term disability (LTD) benefits?
  • What are the wage replacements costs of LTD claims for common cancers, and how much does this add to the final cost estimates for employees that enter the disability system?

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