Awareness, Advocacy and Action in Women’s Health: 3 Steps Towards Equity

August 25, 2023
Awareness, Advocacy and Action in Women’s Health: 3 Steps Towards Equity

As a thought-leader in the industry, TriNet is putting out a call to action for women’s health. Through the following discussion of the “3 A’s” (Awareness, Advocacy and Action), we encourage you to join us on our quest for equity in women’s healthcare. While this article focuses on the health and healthcare of biological women, we understand that there are numerous groups who experience healthcare inequity. Some of the steps and resources described might be applicable to any group that has historically been marginalized by the healthcare system, including (but not limited to) the LGBTQ+ community and minorities.

Identifying the Problem

Women’s health requires and deserves targeted initiatives, therapies and considerations. Healthcare is not, and should not be, a “one size fits all” approach. As previously discussed in another TriNet blog, Women in the Workplace: We See You, the problems that plague women’s health and healthcare are multi-dimensional and vast in origin. For example, women are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed after a heart attack. In addition, they are more prone to be seen as chronic complainers when describing pain, and 1 in 5 women reported having felt dismissed by a healthcare provider. Part of working towards a solution includes broad change within the medical system. Until this change occurs women’s health may continue to be negatively impacted.

How did we get here? The issue is partially rooted in a historic lack of female subjects in medical research. This means that studies were done on men, and then the data from these studies was used to treat women. As women and men are biologically different, this is problematic. Compounding the lack of scientific data, many consider women-specific health issues taboo and are hesitant to discuss them. In some ways, women’s health remains a mystery. At TriNet we are raising our voice to identify the problem and begin a search for answers. This is where the “3 A’s” come into play: Awareness, Advocacy and Action.

Step 1: Awareness

Awareness is defined as “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.” In the case of women’s health, awareness, aka the facts, is twofold. First, as discussed above, we must acknowledge that an issue exists. Next, with the understanding that we will continue to strive for better, we turn our awareness to the vast array of resources that TriNet and other employers offer in support of women’s health. Whether through the medical carriers we provide access to, the TriNet Enrich™ product line, our vendor partners such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)* and HealthAdvocate*, or other public facing organizations, TriNet-sponsored medical plans support women’s health in all ages and stages of life.

*The EAP and HealthAdvocate are services available through TriNet sponsored medical plans. To learn more, visit us online.

  • Preventive Health: Certain preventive visits or screenings, such as well-women visits and mammograms are covered at 100% in-network.
  • Women’s Mental Health: Mental health disorders can affect women and men differently. Some issues such as eating disorders and perinatal depression are found more commonly or exclusively in biological women. All the medical carriers we provide access to offer behavioral health support, including talk-therapy, to address these or any number of mental health concerns. Additionally, the EAP offers extensive mental health support, including 3-free counseling sessions per incident.
  • Menstruation and Menopause: The EAP is not just for mental health, offering menstrual and menopause education support. Symptoms and treatment options vary widely for menstruation and menopause, and coverage may vary. Be sure to ask your medical provider what is right for you.
  • Maternity and Family Planning: Each medical carrier that TriNet provides access to offers a comprehensive maternity program that offers resources and support throughout the pregnancy journey, from trying to conceive to post-partum. TriNet’s Enrich Access allows customers to offer tax-free travel reimbursements to their employees for medical care received far from their home while Enrich Adopt allows customers to offer their employees tax-free reimbursements for expenses incurred during the adoption process.
  • Caregiver Support: Women often take on the role of their family’s Chief Medical Officer, making 80% of the healthcare decisions and acting as caregivers. HealthAdvocate and EAP both offer resources to ease the mental and physical load caregiving can take.
  • Navigating a Diagnosis: HealthAdvocate also provides diagnosis support including breast cancer, cervical cancer and support in finding a second opinion when diagnosed to ensure optimal care throughout the disease process.
  • Additional Resources: The following public facing resources compliment those already included in TriNet-sponsored medical plans, focusing on a wide array of women’s health issues including (but not limited to), fibroids, UTIs, menstruation, menopause and more.

Step 2: Advocacy

Highlighting the robust offerings also brings to light what is missing. When it comes to healthcare, we as employers can act as advocates and encourage women to advocate for themselves. This may feel overwhelming, so to help, we have assembled a quick healthcare advocacy checklist that you can share with your employees.

  • Find a doctor you trust; be sure this person makes you feel heard.
  • Make a list of questions and concerns BEFORE your next visit and bring this list to your appointment.
  • Start an open and honest dialogue. This applies to any and all physicians, but specifically to your primary care and OBGYN.
  • Don’t be embarrassed. Remember, your doctor is there to help you, but can only work off the information he or she is given.
  • Sign up for the patient portal. If available, this is a great tool to communicate with your clinical team In between visits.
  • Keep a log. If you notice a chronic issue that you want to discuss with your doctor, start writing down daily symptoms. Consider including intensity of the symptom, duration and any triggers that you recognize. Be sure to bring this log to your next appointment.
  • Speak up! If your doctor gives you an explanation that you don’t understand, or you aren’t comfortable with something, speak up. You are the expert on your body.

Step 3: Action

Take action to show women in the workplace that you are aware of the issue and are ready to advocate for them.

  • Consider implementing policies or trainings that will facilitate women to optimize their health by scheduling their preventive visits and making sure they are getting the best care possible.
  • Find out what your company has to offer to support women’s health.
  • Share your own resources or the ones from this article with your employees to join us in empowering women’s health and healthcare.
  • Make women’s health an ongoing conversation and part of your regular company dialogue and culture.

Join TriNet in our crusade for awareness, advocacy and action in women’s health. The time to begin is now. TriNet customers have access to all of the benefits noted in this article. If your business wants to learn more about the benefits available through TriNet-sponsored medical plans, contact our HR experts today.

© 2023 TriNet Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This communication is for informational purposes only, is not legal, tax or accounting advice, and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance. TriNet is the single-employer sponsor of all its benefit plans, which does not include voluntary benefits that are not ERISA-covered group health insurance plans and enrollment is voluntary. Official plan documents always control and TriNet reserves the right to amend the benefit plans or change the offerings and deadlines. WE DO NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

This post may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such web sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on TriNet.com does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.

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