Editor's note: This article was previously published on LinkedIn.
As employers across the nation face unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, they are likely wondering how best to care for their employees’ and families’ health and well-being, including how their health benefits may be affected. While it can be easy to feel helpless in a time of such rapid and widespread change, the good news is that there are a few steps employers can take to maximize the health and well-being of their employees and loved ones.
- If your company offers telemedicine as a benefit, make sure your employees know about it and can access it. By accessing and providing virtual care remotely through technology – rather than encouraging patients to make an in-person visit to a medical facility when appropriate – medical professionals can both respond quicker and protect the population at large through social distancing.
- Check with your health insurance carrier’s website or use your consultants to ensure that employees have the right information at their fingertips. With a quickly evolving situation, health plans may create specialized lines of communication, web pages and other ways to help manage the large influx of inquiries as quickly and as efficiently as possible. It is very much worth taking the time to confirm current and relevant phone numbers, apps, web sites, and specific service providers and vendors (such as those focused on areas like Employee Assistance Programs, mental health, etc.).
- Proactively share with employees trusted sources of information. Misinformation abounds in our society on a good day. But in times of crisis, fear can unfortunately lead to a rapid increase in the volume and quantity of misinformation that is shared. Additionally, in our current era of constant social media postings, it can sometimes be challenging to separate fact from fiction. To ensure that your employees are getting reliable and accurate information, be sure to double-check your sources as well as the credentials of the author and/or organization that is sharing the content. Some reliable sources include:
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- California Department of Public Health
- Blue Shield of California - COVID-19 Information
By taking small but specific steps, employers can make a big impact in helping their employees quickly receive the care and information they need.
Don Antonucci serves as Senior Vice President of Commercial Markets for Blue Shield of California.