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Why your female employees avoid the doctor

And the importance of preventive care for women.

This article was last updated Feb. 7, 2023.

Wonder Woman isn’t a name reserved for a superhero character — there could be a “wonder woman” or women who exist in your workplace. The wonder women in your office may be balancing a demanding full-time job while raising a family, pursuing their side hustle, or immersing themselves in the community.

But unlike a superhero, women may be experiencing negative health effects from doing it all. Stress-related illnesses show levels nearly twice as high External Site for women compared to men according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And, women make up a large portion External Site of the workforce: 46 percent of U.S. workers are women.

Encourage female employees to occasionally step away from their superhero duties to receive regular physicals as part of important preventive care. It could go long way in impacting their health — and your bottom line.

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Productivity loss costs the economy about $260 billion annually.

Chronic diseases account for 75 percent of the nation’s health care costs.

69 million workers report missed work days due to illness each year.

Americans only use preventive services at about half the recommended rate.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Why aren't female employees taking advantage of preventive care?

If preventive care is so important to the overall health of your employees and the success of the economy, why isn’t everyone taking advantage of preventive benefits? Here are a few potential reasons, along with helpful solutions that break down barriers for women receiving preventive care services.

1. They’re worried about health care costs

Your employees work hard for their paychecks. They might be concerned about the cost of office visits, screenings or vaccines. But with their business-sponsored health plan, preventive care received in-network may be fully covered. Plus, they'll save money on health care costs in the long run by avoiding future costs associated with chronic health issues.

Be sure to remind your employees of this benefit. If they have specific questions about costs, or ask questions about what services are considered preventive, check out these helpful resources:

2. They’re busy

It could be intimidating for employees to ask for time off to go to the doctor, especially when they have a busy day filled with a never ending to-do list.

And, other factors may make it difficult for them to go to appointments after 5 p.m. Depending on where your employees live, they may not have access to in-network providers within convenient driving distance. They may also have to line up child care to get to appointments after work.

Eliminate some of the scheduling stress:

  • If your employees can flex their work hours, encourage them to go to doctor appointments to receive important preventive exams during the day. As a bonus, you’ll help them establish care with a primary care provider.
  • If you have employees on a shift schedule that's difficult to miss, consider hosting onsite wellness screenings or other easily accessible services.

Virtual visits can make busy employees' lives a little easier.

With Doctor On Demand External Site, your employees have 24/7 access to doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and other medical experts. Help educate them about the benefits of virtual visits by posting the Doctor On Demand flyer in your workplace. Log in to the Marketing Toolkit and search M-2318407 to download it.

3. They feel healthy

Wonder women may feel invincible now, but they shouldn't wait until they're sick to go to the doctor for treatment or vital screenings. According to the American College of Radiology, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss 30 percent of cancers. This ready-to-share story Opens in a new window with a downloadable chart can serve as a welcome reminder for age-appropriate preventive exams.

The bottom line

Healthier employees are more productive employees. Research shows those who improve their health regain an average of 10.3 hours in productivity annually. By encouraging employees to prioritize their well-being now, workers can avoid prolonged time off and long-term costs that may result from more complicated health issues.

Getting preventive exams is only one aspect of healthy living. Consider addressing all six elements of well-being in your workplace and talk to your authorized Wellmark representative for more information.

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