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Blue @ Work

One small step for man, one giant leap for workplace health

Husband, father, brother, son — what titles do your employees have outside of work? Someone in their life cares about them and needs them to be healthy. But studies show men don’t always take proactive steps to ensure they are here for the long haul. Thirty-one percent say they wait until they feel extremely sick before seeking care.

What this means for your workplace

Premature illness and death in men External Site has been estimated to cost the United States economy approximately $479 billion in annual health care costs. Not only do chronic diseases affect the health and financial well-being of your employees, chronic diseases mean productivity loss and increased health care spending.

This delay in receiving care has some frightening results. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality External Site:

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Men are: 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year

Men are: 22 percent more likely to neglect their cholesterol tests

Men are: 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure

Men are: 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes.

Men are: 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia, which can be prevented through immunization

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Preventive care as a solution

Preventive care helps detect serious diseases before they become difficult to manage and prevents higher costs associated with chronic diseases. As a result, men are more healthy and productive in the workplace. So, why do they seem to avoid getting the care they need?

Consider a few scenarios outlining the common barriers to preventive care men face. Do these sound like any of your employees?

Justin, age 23

Justin feels healthy and doesn’t see the need to go to a provider. He also wants to avoid spending money on health care.

  • Recommendations: Men around Justin’s age should already be receiving regular cholesterol and blood pressure testing, even if they don’t notice any symptoms. In fact, there are a number of recommended health screenings to share with your employees age 18 to 39 External Site.
  • Preventive care received in-network may be fully covered with Justin’s employer-sponsored health plan, so he doesn’t have to worry about putting a dent in his wallet.
  • Why it matters: 1 in 13 adult men live with heart disease, which is also their number one cause of death. Plus, the CDC finds External Site men who have a heart condition are at greater risk for depression than those without heart problems.

Clint, age 30

Clint knows he should be going to a primary care provider by now, but he’s worried what the results of preventive screenings will show — and what the doctor will say about him not coming sooner. Clint is under the assumption his workplace decides who his primary care provider is and is unsure if he can find a doctor he trusts.

  • Recommendations: There’s a reason providers are called part of a health care “team.” They’re on Clint’s side and want the best for his overall health. His employer-sponsored health plan provides him with in-network options to choose from and he can check out tips Opens in a new window from BlueSM on finding a trusted personal doctor.
  • Why it matters: Studies show External Site men are at higher risk than women to develop Type 2 diabetes, and Clint will be better off getting tested now rather than putting it off any longer. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and more. And, diabetes can result in $19.9 billion in reduced productivity at work due to early mortality.

Dave, age 50

Dave is a busy manager and father who can’t imagine adding a doctor appointment to his already packed schedule. Plus, he thinks some of the recommended screenings are awkward and finds them easier to just put off.


Health care is essential at all stages of a man’s life. Your employees should visit a primary care provider to find out which preventive screenings External Site, vaccinations and routine exams are most appropriate for them.

Make it a part of the conversation

Men report External Site talking about their job 32 percent of the time, compared to talking about their health only 7 percent of the time.

So why not make health part of the workplace conversation? Share this “3 excuses men use to avoid the doctor” article with a printable chart Opens in a new window from Blue Opens in a new window with your employees.

Bonus tip:

For more common illnesses, like the cold or flu, give your employees access to care at a lower overall cost. With Doctor On Demand® External Site, a virtual visit benefit, your employees can connect face-to-face with a board-certified doctor from virtually anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or computer. Employees can get the right care, at the right place, at the right cost without sacrificing productivity and engagement in the workplace.

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