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Wednesday, 12th March 2008

New Harris Survey Finds that Most Baby Boomers Underestimate Disability Risk

New Harris Survey Finds that Most Baby Boomers Underestimate Disability Risk
Source: America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

Most Baby Boomers underestimate their risk of suffering a disability that would cause them to miss work for an extended period of time, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). The survey also found that Baby Boomers are unaware of the most common causes of disability and are not too concerned about their risk of becoming disabled.
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The survey found that just over a third of Baby Boomers think the chances of becoming disabled due to illness or injury is 5 percent or less, a slight majority think the chances are 10 percent or less, and two-thirds think the chances are 20 percent or less. In reality, a worker has a 30 percent chance of suffering a disabling injury or illness causing him or her to miss three or more months of work before reaching retirement, according to the Social Security Administration.

The survey also found that nearly half (47 percent) of Baby Boomers say they are not too concerned about their chances of suffering a disabling illness or injury.

One of the reasons Baby Boomers underestimate their risk is because they are unaware of the most common causes of disability, mistakenly believing that injuries cause more disabilities than illnesses. According to the survey, Boomers believe the most common causes of disability are back, muscle or joint problems (26 percent), injuries on the job (18 percent) and injuries off the job (16 percent). In actuality, research shows that the most common causes of disability are illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

+ Memo of survey findings (PDF; 24 KB)
+ Questionnaire (PDF; 32 KB)


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