An employer’s role in the well-being of their employees goes far beyond compensation. Employee health impacts businesses financially, with $575 billion annually spent on health concerns and millions of days of lost productivity, and it can also have an impact on team morale and employee sentiment. Fortunately, employers have the power to create a healthier and happier workplace. Research suggests that investing in employee health can bring significant savings for businesses and that healthcare benefits can make or break employment decisions for some candidates.
With that in mind, it’s vital to be proactive in supporting employees on their health journeys. Understanding the cost of employee health, and how it affects the workplace, is the first step in creating a healthy work environment. And in building benefits offerings, it’s important to consider adding virtual healthcare options to help improve employee health beyond the workplace walls.
The Cost of Leading Health Risks
It’s no secret that an unhealthy workforce can be costly for employers—just take into account the cost of absenteeism from illness or injury. Cancer is now the top driver of healthcare costs for large companies, with musculoskeletal conditions and cardiovascular disease following close behind. With employers taking on 82% of the cost of employee coverage, reducing costly misdiagnoses and inappropriate treatments can save businesses on healthcare spend.
Of course, focusing solely on the impact of illness on productivity overlooks the bigger picture. Investing in the health of employees can pay dividends in improved employee morale, which is essential for a positive and productive work environment. There is a strong correlation between how employees perceive their physical and mental health, how productive they are at work, how engaged they are with the company, and how likely they are to remain with the business.
Common Roadblocks to Improving Employee Health
Improving employee health isn’t always easy. There are many common roadblocks that employers face when trying to make changes, including:
- Lack of access to care or resources
- Lack of understanding or interest among employees
- Competing priorities
Inadequate access to healthcare services is one such obstacle, especially if an individual lives in a “healthcare desert,” if their insurance plan does not provide sufficient coverage, or if they cannot afford their co-pays or deductibles. Additionally, employees may not be taking advantage of existing programs due to either a lack of awareness or difficulty navigating their health plan offerings. And finally, busy schedules can get in the way, as many individuals have difficulty finding time between work commitments and family obligations for doctor visits or lifestyle-related health changes, such as exercise.
Five Ways to Improve Employee Health
Improving employee health can be a challenge. From engaging employees to take advantage of existing benefits to incentivizing healthy behavior, there’s a lot for employers to keep in mind. To start creating a healthier workplace, consider the following:
1. Educate Employees on Preventive Care Services Covered by Their Insurance Plans
It’s common for employees to learn about their health benefits only during the enrollment period and then forget about them until it’s time to renew. Often, they don’t realize how much their plans cover and end up skipping important services due to concerns about cost.
Consistently communicate with and educate employees on how their plans work, including how to access care services and how much they cost, to ensure they’re making the most of their benefits.
2. Provide Easy Access to Medical Expertise when Needed
When employees delay care, it can lead to worse health outcomes and higher healthcare costs down the line. Make sure employees have easy access to medical expertise and care when needed, whether through virtual visits, second opinions, or other telemedicine options.
For example, an employee who is dealing with a new diagnosis or treatment plan can benefit from a second opinion before committing to a particular course of action. This can prevent costly, unnecessary treatments and ensure they are getting the right care for their needs.
3. Offer Healthy Workplace Perks and Wellness Benefits
Wellness programs can help employees develop healthier behaviors, improve their overall health, and become better informed about their health. Offerings can range from gym memberships to healthier food in the breakroom. A healthy workforce will be more engaged, enjoy a better work-life balance, and be less likely to have to take leave of work due to illness.
4. Create Opportunities for Exercise and Healthy Lifestyles
Encouraging physical activity among employees has multiple benefits. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve overall physical health. Create opportunities for employees to exercise, such as on-site fitness classes or encouraging walking meetings.
Ways that employers can encourage physical activity include:
- Allowing employees to exercise during working hours
- Offering discounted gym memberships or exercise classes
- Organizing team activities such as walking meetings
5. Give Employees Access to Expert Second Opinions
While staffing issues have continued to impact healthcare, virtual care options can provide employees with an alternate means of receiving the care they need. Virtual access to expert second opinions from top specialists can provide much-needed peace of mind, reduce costs related to misdiagnoses, and put employees on the path to better health outcomes.
Adding Expert Second Opinions from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic to Your Benefits
Accessing quality care can be a major challenge for many employees. From limited local options to a lack of knowledge about how to access specialty care, employees may be putting off needed medical advice. Through The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic, employers are able to offer their employees access to world-class medical expertise with virtual second opinions.
This service provides patients with expertise from renowned specialists without ever having to leave home. Without concerns about missing time at work or costs related to travel, employees can make informed decisions about how to manage their health with confidence.
Second opinions provide peace of mind while helping reduce stress levels among team members who face difficult decisions regarding healthcare matters affecting themselves or their loved ones. Adding expert second opinions from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic can also help employers reduce healthcare costs associated with chronic care issues, such as musculoskeletal conditions.
Reach Out to a Representative Today to Learn More
The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic is committed to providing employers with an effective solution for improving employee health. Contact a representative today to learn how you can add expert second opinions to your benefits plan for an affordable, comprehensive healthcare solution. Take the first step toward improving employee health by getting in touch with us today.