How Employers Can Help Workers Battling Long Covid

Statistics show that more than 40% of Covid survivors have long Covid. Long Covid looks different in each person. Some may have issues with breathing, fatigue, stomach issues, insomnia, chronic kidney disease, and heart damage.

For employers and benefits managers, this means that accommodations for new disabilities are becoming more common. A recent study showed that 23% of Covid patients missed work because of their symptoms. Additionally, 46% had to reduce their working hours. These statistics suggest that employers will have to deal with employees’ new disabilities. Read more about this topic here.


Illinois Fines BCBS After Springfield Clinic Contract Termination

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is being sued by the state for failing to inform the state after it terminated its contract with Springfield Clinic. The fine is $339,000 for violating the “material change notice” requirement that is part of Illinois’ Network Adequacy and Transparency Act. The state alleges that BCBS failed to report this material chance within 15 days, and late fees accumulate at $1,000 per day. You can read more details here.


Consumers Have Saved More Than $100 Billion in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

High-deductible health insurance plans often save money by shifting more of the overall cost of healthcare onto the employee. However, Health Savings Accounts (HSA), help consumers save money (tax-free) to use to pay for medical expenses.

While financial experts agree that consumers should pay for health care out of pocket and invest HSA funds, only 7% of HSA accounts have some of their money invested in mutual funds or other investments. This suggests that most consumers view their HSA as spending accounts and not savings accounts. Read more here.


Impact of the Pandemic on Commercial Health Insurance: Spending, Risk, Both Increasing

The pandemic fundamentally changed how consumers use the health care system. For instance, mental health services increased 32%. One thing that has changed is that preventative care is lagging from where it was pre-pandemic. Experts suggest employers use incentives to prompt more utilization of preventative care.

Some further statistics suggest that employees and their families are sicker than pre-pandemic. While preventative care is higher than it was in 2020, it’s still not where it was pre-pandemic. This could be concerning to self-insured employers who rely on preventative services to maintain costs.

Telehealth continues to be big for health care, especially in mental health as is musculoskeletal services which is growing rapidly followed by cancer care.  Another statistic is that people with lower incomes don’t seek medical care as frequently as those who are wealthier. This indicates that broader access models are needed to address the needs of all communities. Finally, more companies are spending money on wellness programs aimed at preventative care. All these findings suggest that the integration of services is growing. Read more information here.


7 Best Life Transition Points for Introducing Family and Caregiver Benefits

In an effort to increase utilization of benefits, centering communication around those benefits at the times in the employees’ lives when they need those services is suggested. Here are seven life transition points to consider addressing.

  1. Family planning – When an employee is looking to expand their family through adoption or infertility treatments or surrogacy.
  2. Birth or adoption of a child – From childcare benefits to parental leave, parents rank these benefits as a top perk. Employers may phase this out with discussions about leave, and adding members to health plans, and childcare benefits. Information about maximizing 401k contributions and even estate planning is also important.
  3. End of maternity or paternity leave – When a parent is returning to the workforce, communication about any childcare benefits as well as an overall review of benefits would be appropriate.
  4. Parental leave – The pandemic exacerbated parental burnout and brought other issues of work/life balance into the spotlight. Outreach to parents about parental leave benefits before summer breaks, holidays, and back to school.
  5. Taking leave for an elderly parent – For those in the sandwich generation, taking care of elderly parents is hard. If your company offers a benefit for hiring a senior caregiver or this is a great time to remind them of this.
  6. Becoming ill or disabled – If necessary, disability benefits (short or long term), are good to discuss if an employee requires more time off work to deal with an illness or disability.
  7. Bereavement – The loss of a loved one can cause an employee to lose focus. Bereavement allows them to take the time necessary to be with their family, take care of funeral planning and process their grief.

No matter which benefits you are offering during these life stages, proactively communicating the benefits decreases attrition. Read more about this here.


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