When you have a problem with a piece of equipment in your office, you try to fix it. If it becomes a recurring issue, you delve deeper into the problem and try to understand why it keeps happening. In some cases, you may need to look at a new piece of equipment.
The situation is a little different with your employees, but perhaps not as dissimilar as you might think. Most likely, you don’t look to replace employees just because they suffer from lingering health conditions such as obesity, depression, chronic pain and diabetes.
But have you made a concerted effort to help them overcome these health conditions so they can get back to working at full capacity?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7 out of 10 Americans die each year from chronic diseases, many of which are preventable.
“When preventive care is used and illnesses and diseases are caught early enough, individuals can avoid or better control their health problems,” says Ron Filice, president and CEO at Filice Insurance.
Smart Business spoke with Filice about what can be done to reduce the effects of chronic health conditions.
How can preventive care help alleviate chronic health issues in your workforce?
Preventive care is a type of health care designed to shift the focus of health care from treating sickness to maintaining wellness and good health.
It occurs before you feel sick or notice any symptoms and is designed to prevent or delay the onset of illness and disease. The CDC asserts that treatment for chronic diseases works best when they are detected early.
In its broadest definition, prevention includes a healthy lifestyle, exercise, diet and other similar efforts. In a medical setting, it includes a variety of health care services, such as a physical examination, screenings, laboratory tests, counseling and immunizations.
Regular health evaluations keep your employees healthy and prevent more serious problems in the future.
How do you create an environment where employees feel comfortable talking about and seeking help for chronic conditions?
You don’t necessarily want employees to freely express their conditions in the workplace; however, providing the tools and resources that allow them to speak with health coaches, doctors and nurses about their condition only promotes better compliance for health.
Bringing services on-site such as lunch-n-learns, seminars on various health topics and providing robust, interactive health fairs give employees the encouragement to seek out help.
How does addressing these conditions help your company lower its costs?
Many Americans live with one or more chronic diseases, which translate into an increased medical cost for employers. On average, employer health care coverage for an employee with a chronic condition is five times higher than coverage for an individual without a chronic disease.
So what can employers do to reduce healthcare costs for themselves and their employees? Think prevention.
While some factors such as age, genetics and environmental triggers may be unavoidable, most chronic conditions are preventable.
Preventive care helps lower the long-term cost of managing disease because it helps catch problems in the early stages when most diseases are more readily treatable.
The cost of early treatment, diet or lifestyle changes is less than the cost of treating and managing a full-blown chronic disease or serious illness, especially now that the Affordable Care Act has required many preventive services to be covered in full for your employees if they enroll in your group health plan.
What type of support is available to help companies help employees with these chronic conditions?
Services such as medication assistance programs, lifestyle health coaching and nurse navigation are just some of the ways that employers can assist their employees in gaining better access to services. Telemedicine services such as MD Live or Doctor-on-Demand are also solutions to help employees address and conquer their conditions. ●
Insights Insurance is brought to you by Filice Insurance