Mary Beth Basu, CHC, RDN, LDN
Time: 2 min
In my last post, I talked about barriers to healthy eating and what employers can do to provide more healthy food options in the workplace. For part two of this series, I’ll be talking about employee barriers to accessing care and what employers can do to help improve care accessibility.
One major reason individuals report not accessing care is due to lack of time. Approximately one-quarter of Pack Health members reported time as a barrier to accessing healthcare. Employers can help improve access through policy-related measures or environmental strategies. Offering a wellness day or flex time annually, in addition to sick time or PTO policies, allows members paid time off to complete preventive or routine care.
Another option is to physically bring care to the office. Mobile screening services come directly to your office or worksite or consider a near-site clinic option such as Access Health. Both options provide biometrics screenings, which include tests such as body mass index and blood pressure assessments. Prior to arrival, providing awareness to the team through email blasts or signage can help employees mark the day on their calendars.
A third possibility to access-related care barriers is implementing a digital coaching solution like Pack Health. Our digital health coaches deliver reminders for preventive care, assist with scheduling and preparing for appointments, and translate medical language to understandable terms. Digital options also remove the barrier of a physical location. Engagement is conducted over the phone or through other digital channels, such as email or text.
Cost as a Barrier
In addition to time, 23% of Pack Health members report cost as a barrier to accessing healthcare. There are several ways employers can help lessen the impact of cost-related barriers. Promoting cost estimation tools available publicly or through your health plan provides employees with a tool they can use to estimate potential healthcare costs. Cost estimation tools help employees get an average health care estimate for a specific kind of care. This helps employees make plans for the utilization of services that may have a higher impact on their bottom line.
In addition to tools that can help employees make plans for healthcare costs, make employees aware of free care services that are covered on their health plans. Many employees are unaware that most preventive services are covered at 100% by their insurance plan. Employers should work to communicate the importance of preventive and routine care. Create a communication plan to raise awareness about preventive coverage beyond open enrollment. Additionally, take the time to remind employees of services within their health plans. For example, if your organization offers a high-deductible health plan with an HSA, communicate how employees may use those funds.
Stay Tuned for More!
Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be providing more employee-reported barriers. We’ll also be touching on strategies employers can implement to minimize barriers for employees. Get these perspectives emailed to your inbox by filling out the form to the right!