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Blue @ Work

The importance of your employees getting preventive care during a pandemic

What if we told you poor employee health impacts the success of your business?

It’s true.

When your employees aren’t healthy, your business can suffer. From absenteeism to lack of productivity while at work, it all adds up over time.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, preventive care had taken a backseat among employees everywhere — purely due to costs concerns, lack of education or knowledge of where to receive care. This year many aren't using their free, annual preventive care because they are worried about contracting the virus and concerns of overburdening the health care system.

Did you know only 68 percent of millennials have a PCP compared to 91 percent of Gen X? With this generation being plagued by multiple health conditions, health care costs are expected to rise and productivity to decrease — all impacting your bottom line. Download our free e-book Opens in a new window to get ahead of it. Take advantage of extensive research, in-house data and subject matter experts to create sustainable, long-term changes in your workplace today.

The pandemic continues to fuel the decline in preventive care

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Site, an estimated 41 percent of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care because of COVID-19 concerns, which included both urgent or emergency care (12 percent), as well as routine care (32 percent).

Most alarmingly, there was a higher prevalence in care avoidance for people with underlying medical conditions and disabilities.

A recent Harris poll External Site also showed 68 percent of those surveyed said they or someone in their house delayed care during the pandemic. The New York Times reported External Site colonoscopies to help prevent colon cancer were down 33 percent External Site mammograms to prevent breast cancer were down 23 percent, and essential vaccinations that help prevent children’s diseases like the measles, hepatitis and whooping cough were down 36 percent this year.

No matter where the actual numbers lie, many medical experts are concerned that delaying or avoiding care might lead to increased morbidity and death rates associated with chronic and acute health conditions in the future.

The benefits of preventive care

Whether it’s preventive care for men or women, the costs can be severe if your employees choose to skip them. The CDC estimates more than 100,000 lives would be saved annually if everyone received their recommended preventive care. Preventive visits are where patients receive age-appropriate screenings, vaccines, annual wellness examinations and more.

Preventive care is especially important for your employees who have pre-existing conditions in order to monitor, treat and manage the condition from getting worse. It’s also an essential part of your employees’ establishing a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) so they can build a trusted relationship. This helps your employees feel more comfortable sharing their health status with their PCP, who can help identify potential medical issues early.

Encourage your employees to call their doctor to arrange safe, preventive care during the pandemic. Many facilities require masks, separate those who are getting tested for COVID-19 from other patients, and have many other protocols to make sure their offices and hospitals are as safe as possible.

Resources to help your employees get preventive care

  • myWellmark®:

    By logging in or registering for myWellmark®, your employees can choose a PCP from in-network providers, get cost estimates before they receive non-preventive care and see their explanation of benefits. All of this and more is available at myWellmark.com.
  • Doctor On Demand®:

    If your employees are reluctant to receive care in a doctor’s office, they can get preventive care like lifestyle counseling, labs, emotional health, smoking cessation, age appropriate screening recommendations and more with a board-certified doctor from virtually anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or computer by visiting DoctorOnDemand.com External Site.
  • Wellness Center:

    If you are a fully-insured group, or group who has purchased the Wellness Center for your employees, after they receive preventive care, your employees can use the Wellmark Wellness Center powered by WebMD® to get the help and motivation they need to reach their goals and live a healthier life. They can access the Wellness Center through myWellmark and/or the WebMD Wellness At Your Side mobile app.

Consider a workplace well-being program

According to the CDC, a workplace well-being program has the potential to keep your employees in the “low-risk” category by promoting health maintenance and supporting the unhealthy employees in higher-risk categories to lower overall health insurance costs. A review of 56 published sites of workplace well-being programs showed that well-being programs can lead to 25 percent savings each on absenteeism, health care costs, workers’ compensation and disability management costs.

Want more workplace well-being solutions for your unique employee population? Contact one of our health and well-being experts by filling out our complementary consultation form.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at blueatwork@wellmark.com.