There’s no shortage of content making the rounds about problems in the business world related to health equity. You might be here because you’re wondering whether your company struggles with health equity.
What Is Health Inequity?
If that’s the case, we’re here to help. The best way to answer this question is first to define the problem. Health inequity stems from the current healthcare system not affording everyone the same level of healthcare access.
Different groups of people don’t have the same chance to diagnose, seek treatment for, and finance the cure of their ailments. Have you ever wondered why diagnosis and survival rates for things like asthma, cancer, or heart disease vary from demographic to demographic (be it racial, socioeconomic, or otherwise)? Those differences might stem from health inequities.
Now that you know why health equity is so important, it becomes clearer why it has been added to the growing list of HR problems. Employers provide many folks with access to healthcare by way of insurance, which is why HR teams work to construct a benefits package that is as accessible and available to as many employees as possible.
6 Signs of Health Inequity in the Workplace
How can you identify when health inequities are present? Here are some subtle signs that could pop up in the weeks and months before major health equity issues are apparent:
1. Increased absences among entry-level folks: Health inequity usually impacts entry-level workers the most. When illnesses or treatments take them away from the office for extended periods, it can derail big-picture productivity. If you notice folks at the lower levels of your organization missing a lot of work, it might be a sign they’re not getting the preventive care they need.
2. MIA moms: Do mothers represent a significant portion of your workforce? That’s great! Unfortunately, women tend to get called away from the office at a higher rate than men when children have health issues. Health equity imbalances result in mothers jumping into action for treatment and letting day-to-day tasks pile up in their absence.
3. Employees borrowing funds: Not everyone is financially prepared to take on major health issues. When those costs add up and exceed an employees’ budget, they might be forced to pull from assets like a 401(k) instead of letting those funds continue to grow. If you notice some employees borrowing from their savings, take note.
4. Team members seeking additional support: Are employees coming to you for alternative healthcare resources? Are they asking whether you can bolster your coverage options? If so, take those requests seriously. They could indicate an imbalance in your benefits package.
5. Maxing out existing benefits: Have some employees managed to stretch out their HRA funds while others routinely use them up before the year is through? This probably suggests the allowances you’ve built in aren’t cutting it for everyone on your team.
6. Folks living in certain geographic areas: Where are your employees located? Do they live in regions with insufficient primary care physicians? Do they reside in areas with higher income inequality? Is there a severe housing cost burden locally? Use these interactive maps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track various indicators in your area. If any of these metrics are imbalanced in your area, consider tipping the scales by offering services that lend a hand to those in need.
A reimagined, more equitable wellness approach is within reach for your company. Paytient is an affordable, accessible benefit that can help create health equity throughout your team. Learn how you can get started with Paytient today!