Short term disability benefits cover a wide range of illnesses and accidents. Many employees who have these benefits through their employer wonder just how much their short term disability insurance will cover. Possibly the most common inquiry about short term disability is in regards to elective surgery, or surgeries that are not required due to the effects of an accident.
This insurance is meant to provide an income for employees who have to miss work for a longer period than their sick days and vacation days will cover. These employees usually have access to long-term disability insurance (LTD) but the nature of this coverage requires applicants to suffer from graver conditions than they manifest.
As an example, a person diagnosed with lung cancer and in need of chemotherapy might qualify for long-term benefits because they cannot be expected to attend work for several months or years. Someone who has been injured in a car accident might only need three months off. This is the sort of situation that short-term benefits would be likely to cover.
Employees often wonder whether they are covered by any sort of employer provided insurance when they request surgery. Many surgeries have a recovery time longer than the normal amount of sick and vacation days that an average employee might have accumulated. Often, arranging leave is not the issue. Instead, employees do not want to be without an income during their recovery and hope that short-term insurance can provide at least a portion of their salary during their recovery.
Deciding if STD is Suitable For Your Surgical Needs
Surgeries that occur as a result of an accident covered under the policy are always covered by their disability insurance. As for elective surgeries, there is no clear answer. In order to determine if a surgery is covered, an employee must carefully read through the insurance paperwork provided by their employer. Surgeries which have the greater likelihood of being excluded are cosmetic procedures.
The best approach to this dilemma is to get all the paperwork in order before committing to a surgery, however necessary an employee may deem the procedure. The first step is getting written clarification from a physician about the problem requiring a surgical solution. Then the employee needs to talk to the human resources department of his or her company. The employee should also review any disability paperwork in his or her possession, since HR employees are not always going to have an answer.
Even if short-term disability insurance will cover the surgery, it is likely that the employee will need to follow the usual routine and use up all his or her sick days and vacation time before the benefits begin. This will only apply to surgeries which are explicitly covered according to the language used in the written policy provided to you at the start of your employment.