The group benefits packages in between U.S. workers' ears may be a lot richer than the packages available outside.
Analysts at the Consumer Federation of America, Washington, and Unum Group Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn. (NYSE:UNM), recently commissioned a survey to provide fresh data they could use to talk to the media about workers' well-known lack of benefits awareness.
The CFA and Unum analysts put out a report based on responses from 1,191 employed U.S. residents ages 18 or older.
About 52% of the survey participants admitted that they knew nothing or "not very much" about group disability insurance.
The workers also demonstrated the expected lack of understanding about their group disability benefits.
Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that only 32% of U.S. workers have access to employer-sponsored group long-term disability (LTD) coverage.
But the CFA and Unum analysts found that 65% of the workers in their survey sample said they thought their employers group LTD coverage.
About 41% of the workers who think they have group LTD coverage said they "know for certain" how much they pay for the coverage, and 63% said they were certain they knew whether they pay any or all of the monthly premiums.
I guess one moral here is that, from an employer's perspective, non-existent placebo benefits are a lot more efficient than the real thing.
From the perspective of anyone who would like to see workers have genuine income protection, rather than virtual protection, the results suggest a new marketing approach.
Maybe disability insurers should be advertising heavily on video game and Internet virtual reality game sites, with a slogan along the lines of, "Do you realize the insurance protecting your income against the risk of injury or illness may be as fake as the laser gun you're now using to blast the aliens to smithereens?"
On the other hand, that might not work all that great. Maybe a lot of Americans would prefer not to think about genuine disability insurance, and instead spend their time earning more virtual cyber currency to ensure that they have enough virtual catastrophe protection to protect their cyber laser guns and cyber furniture against virtual calamities.