Cancer diagnoses also create additional fear, stress, and confusion for plan members. Employees may require extensive communications from the health plan to determine the best course of action when diagnosed with cancer. “Navigating [the complexity of cancer] calls for an approach that improves quality, manages cost and improves the employee experience,” NEGBH said. “Consider this: employees may not even be aware that their company offers a range of cancer care services. After all, an employee handbook or benefits website isn’t the first place someone turns to after learning they might have cancer. That is a moment when they are afraid, stressed and overwhelmed. But that moment — just after a cancer diagnosis — is exactly when — if possible — the benefits department should get involved.”
As they make more cancer benefits available to their employees than ever, large employers need to consider offering more help to workers who have been diagnosed with cancer to navigate the maze of options. On Tuesday, the Northeast Business Group on Health released a guide to help employers do just that. "Many employers have a variety of vendors and other people internally who can provide health to someone with a cancer diagnosis," said Candice Sherman, the CEO of NEBGH. With a "constellation" of different offerings from those vendors, newly diagnosed patients can find themselves fielding calls from different companies including their health plan, a second opinion service, a disability manager, navigation services and wellness coaches. "And a newly diagnosed cancer patient likely isn't in the best of all minds to sit down and figure out all the options that are available to them," Sherman said. One of the most important ways companies can handle this? Introduce their vendors to each other. This is crucial "so they know what the other does and can more seamlessly work together," Sherman said.
With growing numbers of working people providing informal care for sick or elderly relatives and friends, employers face new challenges—but also new opportunities— to support caregiver employees and, in the process, ensure a productive and stable workforce. This article addresses the difficulties employees can face when work and caregiving intersect and how employers can offer support regardless of company size or resources. Companies that wish to attract the best and brightest talent, as well as retain high-quality staff, need to offer competitive benefits. Across the corporate landscape, these have already started to include caregiving benefits.
"I do think we need to go beyond technology in order to disrupt some of the perverse incentives embedded in the status quo, and that's going to require purchasers—on a bigger scale—to push real delivery-system reform," said Candice Sherman, interim chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health, of which JPMorgan Chase is a member.
"Employers want to make sure they have a healthy and productive workforce and retain and attract employees," said Candice Sherman, CEO of the Northeast Business Group on Health, an employer-based coalition. "So an attractive benefits package is obviously a plus."
As more employees self-identify as caregivers for family members and friends, employers are starting to address the needs of workers who struggle to balance work while caring for others. The numbers are staggering. One in six U.S. employees identify as a caregiver for a family member or friend, according to research by Family Caregiver Alliance. An AARP study found that U.S. businesses lose more than $25 billion annually in lost productivity due to absenteeism among full-time working caregivers, and that figure grows an additional $3 billion when part-time workers with caregiving duties are accounted for.
To help employers get a jump start on creating caregiver-friendly workplaces, AARP and the Northeast Business Group on Health have produced a free online tool kit, chock-full of ideas and examples, expert resources and an assessment tool to gauge how well they're doing in providing assistance. Employers can find the tool at workandcaregiving.org.
Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) and AARP launched a free guide called “Supporting Caregivers in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Employers.” The guide, the human resources industry’s first publication of its kind, contains tools, resources, and guidance to help employers of all sizes create workplace policies to help support employees who are family caregivers.
The [Northeast Business] Group on Health has teamed up with AARP to offer businesses a new guide to help them support employees with family caregiving duties. One in six U.S. employees is a caregiver today for a relative or friend, according to research by Family Caregiver Alliance, and U.S. businesses face more than $25 billion annually in lost productivity due to absenteeism among full-time working caregivers, according to the AARP. Click here to access the free guide.
Employers can use several strategies to mitigate cost and health issues associated with workers’ musculoskeletal disorders, the Northeast Business Group on Health suggests in a report issued Sept. 21. A March 2016 study released by the United States Bone and Joint Initiative estimated that half of all Americans have a musculoskeletal condition, including arthritis and back pain. The annual costs for treatment, care and lost wages total $213 billion.