Despite medical problems accounting for roughly half of all personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures in the U.S., many full-time workers are not prepared for the risk of long-term disability, according to a study by U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc.

This research comes as more employers are providing workers with the option to purchase group benefits, such as disability, life, vision and dental insurance.

"We must educate the U.S. work force to understand the financial risks of long-term disability and learn best practices to mitigate their risks," says Robert E. Klein Jr., vice president of voluntary benefits. "If ten couples gather for a barbecue, we estimate that roughly three of them will have a partner who experiences a disability lasting one year or longer during their professional lifetimes."

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