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Deferred Medical Care Can Cost Employers More Than They Think

Health care providers know that catching a condition in earlier stages can result in a more positive treatment outcome. The coronavirus pandemic brought a renewed light to this issue.

Deferred Medical Care infographic

Source: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/one-in-five-in-u-s-report-delayed-health-care-during-pandemic/

Of those that delayed care, 57% said they experienced negative health consequences.

Putting off care can have adverse effects on not just physical health, but also financial stability.

Impacts of Delayed Care

Individuals that delayed an earlier diagnosis and treatment may have been hit with a larger medical bill once they did receive treatment.

Generally, the longer someone waits to get the care they need, the more likely it is to result in a higher cost of treatment. For example, some prescriptions, treatments, or surgeries may not be necessary if the condition is identified from the start.

Employees that receive an early diagnosis may not need to take as much time off from work for doctor appointments, treatments, or recovery time.

Building a benefit plan to help combat delayed medical care can help businesses save money, both short and long-term, on health care costs.

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How to Combat Costs

Employers and brokers need to start planning for increased claim amounts in the future and incorporate strategies to encourage employees to seek treatment early and not put off care.

Below are examples of how a group health plan can help mitigate increased health care costs resulting from deferred medical treatment.

Create an Environment that Encourages Employees to Seek Care Quickly

Encourage employees to take care of their health. They should seek care for their symptoms quickly so they can get the treatment they need.

It is recommended to get routine preventive care such as seeing their primary physician, getting a biometric screening done every year, and going to other annual appointments. This can help catch conditions before they become more serious.

Use a Telehealth Service

Virtual telehealth services are popular and widely accepted ways to receive care. Patients can connect virtually with a provider, receive a diagnosis, and be prescribed treatment virtually. Employees don't have to wait for an opening with their primary care provider. They can save on costs by getting early treatment and may need to take less time off of work.

Communicate and Understand Benefits

Set up meetings throughout the year, not just during Open Enrollment, to discuss and explain the company's benefit plan and how to use it. Employees may put off receiving care because they aren't sure what is covered and don't know about all of the great benefits of the plan. This can include how to find a provider that accepts the plan, how to use telehealth services, and more.

The Bottom Line

Delayed medical care can negatively impact both employers and employees. To help alleviate that impact, build a health plan that encourages members to be proactive about their health care. It will help reduce employer health care costs, lead to more positive employee health results, and help avoid unnecessary surgeries, prescriptions, and treatments at the beginning of an illness.

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