Employers See Value in Health Screenings

August 19, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Employers in a new survey agree they rightly have a part to play in their employees’ health by offering preventative care as part of their health care offerings.

A Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) news release about its survey said 97% of poll participants agree they can help employees by offering various screenings and vaccines, to those in their health plans.  By doing so, the employers admit, they can keep their workers healthy (84%), keep employees productive (59%), and reduce medical disability costs and prevent illness (94%).

Screening services covered by more than 90% of the responding employers include annual screenings, well child visits, pap smears, breast exams, prostate exams, colorectal cancer screening, and employee assistance program services.  Forty-eight percent of employers have a high benefit cap of more than $1,000 to encourage use of preventive services.

According to the survey, the top barriers to get employees to use preventive benefits are a lack of understanding of value of preventive services (88%); no motivation to stay healthy (56%); and difficulty in taking time during the work day (47%).

“Employers are increasingly investing resources in preventive care and wellness programs to reduce health care costs and improve the health and productivity of their employees,” said Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO, in the news release.

The study was supported by an unrestricted grant from Merck & Co. Inc.