Liz Sheffield

Supporting the Health Care Needs of Mature Workers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of workers over age 55 will grow at a rate 5.5 times faster than that of the general workforce. As older workers may soon make up a larger portion of your staff, it’s important to understand how health insurance for older workers could affect your benefits offerings and how you can prepare.

How Will Retirement Delays Affect Health Insurance Costs and Management?

Due to the effects of aging, employers may face an increased rate of benefits usage and higher health care costs. Health care for employees 65 or older has been shown to cost twice as much yearly as health care for workers between 45 and 54.

That said, your older employees undoubtedly bring great value to your company. And you must be diligent about providing equal health benefits regardless of age. It’s also wise for employers to stay informed about health care reform issues that could impact health benefits for older workers. Staying on top of changes that may affect health insurance for older workers can help reduce costs and demonstrate that you care about your employees’ financial and physical wellness.

How Can Benefits Packages Address the Entire Workforce?

Regardless of the age of your workforce, employers with offerings that address chronic diseases can help employees maintain their health. When choosing which benefits to offer, look for programs that address the issues identified by the CDC as leading causes of death, disability and health care costs. These include:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic lung diseases
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

To help your workforce prevent or deal with chronic conditions like these, consider offering wellness programs — such as gym memberships, weight-loss workshops and smoking-cessation programs — that assist in creating healthy habits. Communicate to employees that you care about their health. And don’t just talk to them, get a conversation started. Consider setting up a mechanism for employees to submit ideas about creating a healthy workplace.

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Employers who offer health care benefits are in a better position to attract, retain and engage all employees, regardless of their age. A robust benefits package conveys to your workforce that you value them and understand the financial challenges of preparing for retirement, paying for quality medical care and staying as healthy as possible.

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