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Survey: Most workers could not pay their bills after three months without a paycheck
By Insure.com staff

If they became sick and unable to work, 59 percent of U.S. workers said they would be unable to pay their bills without a paycheck after three months, according to a new national survey from Cigna Corp., a global health service company headquartered in Philadelphia.

Twenty-nine percent said they would exhaust their resources in a month or less.

The survey polled full-time workers ages 25 to 65 who received employer-offered benefits within the past two years, and examined their views on voluntary benefits, such as disability, accidental injury, critical illness and accidental death insurance. Voluntary benefits are offered as an option for workers to purchase through payroll deductions, and are designed to offset the financial impact of serious injuries or illnesses.

The survey asked how people would handle non-medical expenses if a serious injury or illness struck them or their immediate family:

  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they would be at some financial risk if they became sick and unable to work for a month.
  • Seventy-two percent said personal savings would be their primary resource to help them through the unexpected, though young people were more likely than older people to say they'd borrow from family or friends.
  • Fifty-three percent would look at options for borrowing or withdrawing from a 401k/IRA or other retirement savings.
  • Thirty-four percent said they would call on additional disability insurance. However, fewer than 20 percent said they would borrow from a life insurance policy (17 percent), accidental injury benefits (16 percent), accidental death and dismemberment benefits (15 percent) or critical illness coverage (11 percent).

Workers were less familiar with voluntary benefits compared to dental, vision and life insurance, but almost half who are not enrolled in voluntary benefits said they would be inclined to enroll in them after hearing more about what they cover.

Compared to older employees, workers ages 25 to 34 were less familiar with disability, accidental injury, accidental death and critical illness insurance.

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