Chronic conditions may represent health care plans’ greatest challenge. These are medical issues that last at least three months — and may last for a person’s entire life. Arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity are examples. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly half of American adults (117 million people) have chronic conditions.
Both emotionally and financially, your employees need your support to cope with these problems. The following strategies can help make their conditions more manageable.
Encourage employees to learn everything they can about their condition. The more they understand, the better they can plan their treatment, navigate their options, and make informed lifestyle decisions.
They should reach out to their doctor for a consultation while doing their own research online. If your company offers a nurse, let employees know the nurse can help with research, too. They can also use a nurse line if offered by your health insurance.
Monitor Health Changes
Employees must keep track of their chronic conditions for warning signs. This allows them to catch potential problems before they develop into issues that are more threatening and more expensive to treat.
Someone with hypertension, for example, should know how to check their blood pressure to make sure it’s not too high. Similarly, someone with heart rhythm problems should know how to check their pulse to watch out for irregular patterns.
Keep Up With Medication
It’s critical that employees who take medications to treat chronic conditions keep up with their medication schedule. Things will only get worse if they fall behind, skip, or take a higher than intended dose. Any of these scenarios could lead to more serious problems and larger bills.
Your insurance company may be able to help your employees stay on track. Talk to your insurance provider about what options they can provide to your workforce. These could include a nursing hotline, telemedicine options or a smartphone app.
Take Healthy Steps
Employees may be able to help alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions through lifestyle improvements. Whether it’s quitting smoking, eating better or exercising more, taking healthy actions can make a big difference.
If you offer any programs for workplace wellness, encourage employees to participate. By taking these steps, your employees will not only feel better physically, but they may also get a mental boost from seeing that they can exercise control over their health.
Use Low-Cost Treatment Options
When an employee needs treatment for a chronic condition, remind them that where they go for care can make a big difference in terms of cost. If they need to meet with a doctor or nurse, they should consider using telemedicine to meet remotely, considering that this costs roughly $200 less than an in-person office visit, according to Healthcare IT News.
If they need lab work, image tests or surgery, they should research whether the work can done at an independent site, rather than at the hospital. And any care they receive should also be from an in-network provider. By using these options, employees can pay less out-of-pocket while reducing expenses in your plan.
Above all, employees should know that your organization is one more source of support for their condition. They will appreciate that you have their back.
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