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Take Good Care of your employees

Helping your employees understand the full value of their health plan

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Employee well-being is a must-have for the modern workplace. Many argue that it should be an organization’s highest priority due to the clear links between wellness and employee engagement. An organization directly benefits when employees’ overall well-being thrives – resulting in 53% fewer sick days, higher productivity and lower rates of burnout and turnover. On the other hand, when employees’ well-being suffers, so does the organization. So, how does an organization help its employees thrive?

Merriam-Webster defines thriving as flourishing, prospering or growing vigorously. Generally, thriving employees have an overall “healthier” well-being, which translates to higher engagement rates. According to a 2022 Gallup survey on workplace trends, engagement and well-being interact with each other in powerful ways. Engagement is often associated with work, whereas well-being is what happens outside of work. But it seems the lines are blurring.

In Gallup’s survey:

  • Employees who consistently experience high levels of burnout are 23% more likely to visit the emergency room;
  • More than half of the world’s employees (57%) are not engaged at work and only 35% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work;
  • Only 33% of employees are thriving in their overall well-being; and
  • 61% of employees who are engaged at work but not thriving have a higher likelihood of ongoing burnout than those who are engaged and thriving.

Similarly, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield member analysis shows that members with higher social vulnerability – for example, those who are impacted by poorer air quality, economic stability, and whether they live in an area with increased crime rates – are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic condition, adding evidence to the case that our environments effect our ability to stay healthy and well.

So, how do we turn the tides? Simply put…collaboration.

Arkansas Blue Cross is your trusted partner in taking good care of your employees and navigating the healthcare system so your employees and the ones they love can live their best life, their whole life long. We know that taking good care of our employees makes our communities healthier and businesses stronger. That’s why we work closely with you to create tailored health plan offerings to address the needs of your people.

But that’s not enough. It’s crucial for businesses to make sure their staff members know how to use their benefits. If employees cannot take advantage of these benefits, the organization will suffer as a result. In fact, low health literacy is thought to cost the U.S. economy up to $236 billion annually as a result of medical errors, increased disease and disability, lost income, and poor public health.

At Arkansas Blue Cross, we’re committed to partnering with you to educate your employees about making full use of their benefits to develop a healthier, happier and more engaged workforce – meaning a healthier bottom line for your business.

Here are a few tips to get you started

  1. Say it clearly and simply. Offer a comprehensive guide or brochure that clearly outlines all the information your staff needs to know about their health plan, including what services are covered, how to access care, and how to file claims. Consider creating a comprehensive handbook or guide that outlines all the details of the plan and provides step-by-step instructions for accessing care.
  2. Offer educational resources. Consider offering educational resources, such as webinars or informational sessions, to help your employees understand their health plan and the services it provides. These resources can be a great way to answer questions and dispel any confusion about what is covered and how to access care on the spot.
  3. Encourage preventive care. One of the most important aspects of good health is preventive care. Encourage your employees to take advantage of preventive care services, such as regular check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings, to stay on top of their health and catch potential issues early. Make sure they understand the benefits of preventive care and how it can help keep them healthy.
  4. Promote healthy habits. Encouraging healthy habits is a great way to help your employees understand the full value of their health plan. Encourage regular exercise, healthy eating, stress management, and provide resources to help them make these changes.
  5. Offer incentives for healthy behavior. Consider offering incentives for healthy behavior, such as gym memberships or wellness programs, to encourage your employees to take care of their health. These incentives can help make healthy habits more appealing and can help your employees understand the value of their health plan.

Gone are the days when health insurance was just another cost to be managed. The value of health benefits should be viewed as an investment in the whole health and well-being of your employees and ultimately your business.

Dr. Aaron Novotny

Director, Health Economics

Dr. Aaron Novotny smiling

Dr. Aaron Novotny, Ph.D., M.S. is a director of health economics at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, where he works to examine the economic impact of clinical services and population health interventions on members’ outcomes and understand how community characteristics impact members’ health trajectories and manifest as regional health disparities. In addition to his role at Arkansas Blue Cross, he is also an adjunct professor at the Fay Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where he works with other faculty members on research projects regarding population health and dynamics while serving on dissertation committees.