The concept of comprehensive health care has evolved rapidly in the past few years and now means more than just ensuring the physical health of employees and their covered dependents.
Comprehensive or “holistic” health care also embraces the mental, emotional, and financial well-being of employees. It’s a view of caring for the “whole person” that employees have become increasingly aware of, especially since the pandemic.
A growing number of organizations are realizing that providing comprehensive health care benefits is critical to attracting and retaining top talent, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Comprehensive health care for generations
However, amid the ongoing economic uncertainty, continued budget constraints, the changing landscape of employee benefits and the workplace, and the impacts of having a multigenerational workforce, many organizations may need to reconsider what comprehensive health care can mean for them.
For some, it may seem impossible to offer the wide range of services that have become so popular and that their larger, legacy competitors might be able to offer.
But, here’s something that even the smallest company, or any HR or benefit leader operating on a shoestring budget, may not realize: You already have the necessary foundation for offering comprehensive health care to your employees. That foundation is your package of core benefits.
Rethink core benefits
When you view your core benefits through a comprehensive health care lens, you can see how they can help you provide holistic coverage even within a tight budget. This is especially important right now for organizations who are taking a second look at their budgets in the new year.
Here’s the good news: Your core benefits probably include at least nine elements of holistic care already. With a new perspective, you can leverage these components to develop a more comprehensive health care strategy.
1. Primary care
From the perspective of a comprehensive health care strategy, primary care is the crucial first line of defense. It ensures employees get the attention they need, from seasonal allergies to chronic illnesses to emotional or mental distress.
Primary care also supports a holistic strategy by helping to identify potential health issues before they become serious, potentially saving lives, reducing healthcare costs and guiding employees toward more specialized care.
2. Preventive care
Preventive care benefits can play a valuable supporting role in a comprehensive health care strategy, if only because they focus on preventing health problems, reducing health risks, and ensuring early diagnosis and treatment.
Your core preventive care benefits help employees reduce lifestyle-related health conditions, such as diabetes, depression and other emotional or mental conditions, and chronic diseases — all of which, if undetected, will negatively affect every other aspect of an employee’s well-being.
3. Specialty care
Because specialty care coverage lets employees access physicians and hospitals for specific injuries and illnesses, it’s an especially holistic type of benefit for employees who have chronic or ongoing medical needs.
When your core benefits provide access to specialty care, you can help decrease the stress and anxiety of employees undergoing treatment, which can improve their overall well-being.
4. Mental health services
Mental health benefits are essential for employees to maintain complete physical and mental well-being. In other words, they’re key to comprehensive health care.
With access to therapists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, employees get the mental health support they need, and other areas of their lives are less likely to suffer. Meanwhile, you reduce absenteeism and improve employee retention.
5. Dental and oral health
When you help employees maintain optimal oral health and prevent dental problems, you’re contributing to holistic health care in the long run. That’s because good oral hygiene is proven to be associated with better overall health, which, in turn, supports a healthier whole person.
6. Coordination of care
The core benefit of coordination of care can be reinterpreted as the linchpin that enables employees to receive comprehensive and personalized health care. It ensures that employees have personalized healthcare plans and receive the right treatment from the right providers.
This core benefit can result in overall greater well-being because it’s a driver of improved health outcomes, greater employee satisfaction and lower healthcare costs (lowering financial and emotional stress).
7. Access to medications
By providing access to medications at lower costs than employees would pay without medical insurance, you support the “whole” employee by helping them more effectively manage chronic diseases. This, in turn, empowers employees to lead healthier lives overall.
Over time, employees are more productive because they’re not only healthier but they’re also far less stressed about medication costs.
8. Long-term care
Long-term care has become more common as a core benefit, or at least an optional one. Used to help pay for everything from help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) to skilled nursing and memory care services, long-term care coverage very much plays into a holistic well-being strategy. It’s especially appealing to Baby Boomers.
9. Health education
Because it aims to improve overall health literacy, this core health benefit can easily be appreciated as part of holistic well-being. Information about topics including nutrition, disease prevention, and mental health increases employee wellness knowledge and can drive healthier habits. As a result, you help improve your organization’s overall health.
Elements exist for comprehensive health care
When it comes to comprehensive health care, employee core benefits play a critical role. When they’re used appropriately, core benefits can directly influence financial well-being and mental health for every generation in today’s workforce.
The nine core health benefits described above all contribute to a holistic health care strategy that can reduce healthcare costs, improve employee satisfaction and retention, and support a healthy and productive workforce. That’s the power of core benefits as part of a comprehensive health care strategy — especially as today’s workforce is demanding more sophisticated health and wellness solutions from their employers.