Unlocking Benefits Potential: The Importance of Preventive Care

January 26, 2024
Unlocking Benefits Potential: The Importance of Preventive Care

If you could find a way to save money, improve health, increase productivity and decrease burnout, would you do it? Would you offer it to your employees? Part of working in a small or medium-size business is looking for opportunities to optimize returns. You and your employees' health are no exception.

Preventive care is a key component of most employee healthcare benefits. Preventive care includes well visits and screenings, like checking your cholesterol, blood pressure or getting your annual mammogram. These important health visits are generally available at no cost per the Affordable Care Act and may help catch a disease or illness before it becomes serious, which can make it easier and more cost effective to treat.

With so many various benefits, why do over half of U.S adults regularly skip these visits? Equally as important, how can you, as a business leader, make an impact with your employees? Let’s examine a few key barriers and possible solutions below.

Barrier: Time

We’ve all been there. You just rescheduled your annual physical (for the third time) so that you can attend that super important last-minute meeting. You keep meaning to find a primary care physician, but other things take priority. There are only 24 hours in a day and with an endless to-do list, scheduling preventive care generally fall to the bottom.

Solution:

Keep in mind that many jurisdictions require that covered employers provide their covered employees with paid (or, less commonly, unpaid) sick and safe leave that can be used by employees for preventive medical care or paid leave that can be used for any reason at all. Typically, such leave can be taken without any required medical documentation. If you provide general paid time off (PTO) to your employees, such time can typically be taken for any reason, including preventive care appointments. If you aren’t required to provide such time and don’t already provide PTO, then consider allowing employees to proactively schedule time off for wellness visits and screenings. If you already have these policies in place, make sure your employees know about them AND feel comfortable using them. As always, actions speak louder than words. Be the example.

Barrier: Knowledge

I feel healthy, why do I need to see a doctor? I know I have diabetes, but I feel fine! These common misconceptions keep people from important doctor visits. We as humans are tangible beings. We want to feel, touch and see something before we address it. While we might go to urgent care if we have the flu, feeling healthy rarely prompts action.

Solution:

Consider providing your employees with education on the benefits and importance of preventive care. If you do not have an on-staff wellness consultant, tap into resources such as your medical carrier, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or Healthy People 2030. Remember that less can be more. Small bites of actionable information sent out through your preferred communication channel(s) is the way to go.

Barrier: Fear

We all fear the unknown. What if I go to the doctor and she tells me that my blood pressure is too high? My mom died of heart disease, I feel fine, I’d rather not know. These are just a few of many fears that may keep people from preventive care. What we don’t know can’t hurt us, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Diabetes, heart disease and many other chronic illnesses may be difficult to feel until they have progressed. When you diagnose a chronic disease early, it may be easier to treat. That can translate to better health outcomes for you and your employees.

Solution:

Fear comes from many places and manifests in different ways, but providing education on the benefits of prevention and early detection might help employees take action. Knowledge can empower us to act. We get to make lifestyle and medical choices that may help manage a disease, like high blood pressure, and promote a longer and healthy life.

There are many more reasons why people do not get preventive care. You can’t possibly know each one, nor is it your job to. What you may be able to do is help remove barriers that you may have control over.

  • Ensure your employees are provided with any required paid or unpaid time off that can be used to get preventive care and to attend other important doctor’s visits. Even if not required to do so, providing your employees with time off that can be used for this purpose is best practice.
  • Remind employees of the importance of preventive care through consistent education campaigns. This may take the form of a quick email, messages on a social channel or a call out in an all-hands meeting.
  • Set the precedent…employees are watching. Lead by example and make educating your employees about preventive care a priority and support your employees in doing the same.

To find out more about empowering your employees to make the most of their benefits, such as preventive care, download TriNet’s The Benefits of Benefits eGuide and contact our experts today. Cheers to a healthy 2024!

© 2024 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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