BYU Law Review


Alena Allen


From Main Street to Wall Street, Americans are hurting. In 2009, over 1.4 million families filed for bankruptcy. Researchers examining the causes of bankruptcy discovered that as many as sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies were precipitated by a medical crisis. Because many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and lack disability insurance, when a medical crisis strikes, bank accounts are quickly depleted by the amalgam of high medical bills and lost wages. Disability insurance provides needed wage replacement when a worker is unable to work due to an illness or injury. This Article presents the case for statemandated disability insurance as a solution for combating the rising number of consumer bankruptcies. It describes the prevalence of medical bankruptcies and the impact of disabilities on American families as well as the most commonly available substitutes for comprehensive disability insurance and explains why these substitutes do not provide workers with adequate wage protection. Then, this Article presents statemandated disability insurance as a solution to the medical bankruptcy imbroglio and provides statistical evidence demonstrating that states mandating disability insurance for most workers have on average a lower per capita bankruptcy rate than the national average. Finally, this Article argues that the best alternative for increasing access to disability insurance is for more states to mandate disability insurance, and provides a blueprint for designing state disability insurance programs.


© 2011 J. Reuben Clark Law School