Preventive care is often an afterthought. Waiting The until disaster strikes — rather than using preventive medicine — is a major factor in Americans spending so much on health care expenses and employer healthcare costs. But could you be part of the problem?
Health problems result in 69 million workers reporting missed days due to illness each year, and reducing economic output by $260 billion per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We’ve all heard the adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so why are so many people not getting important preventative screenings? Here are 5 ways employers can be on the front line of helping prevention stay on their employees’ radars:
1. Make sure your employees know how preventative care works under your benefit plan. Have your insurance carriers provide a list of all the preventive services available and make sure this is available and promoted internally.
2. Offer an onsite biometric screening. This ensures three things: employees get a baseline of potential health risks; screeners can review results and recommend preventative measures available; and it’s an opportunity to encourage follow-up with a Primary Care Physician (PCP). (Often, an onsite screening is the first time that people find out they have a risk that needs to be monitored.)
3. Offer an onsite Flu Clinic. Adults 18-64 years of age account for almost 60% of reported flu hospitalizations, according to the CDC. An onsite clinic not only helps protect your workforce, but encourages prevention.
4. Invest in a strategic wellness plan that includes prevention programs and awareness. With education and focused wellness efforts, people could be spared from serious diseases. A comprehensive wellness program often includes:
- Activities that encourage PCP relationships/tracking
- Incentives for good health and/or proactive employee health activities
- Education about basic health and prevention
- Promotion of your benefit plan offerings
- Onsite biometric screening
5. Help younger employees create “good practices” when it comes to their health. Because only 25% of adults aged 50 to 64 years are up to date on preventative services, it’s important to offer wellness activities that create a practice of prevention among young people, including visits to the dentist, eye doctor, and annual well-checks.
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