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April 2024  Volume 22, Number 4        

nurse and patient

Early Cancer Detection Saves Lives, Lowers Costs

A recent report reveals that early cancer detection through screenings can improve survival rates and reduce healthcare costs for employers. However, many organizations struggle to get employees screened due to a lack of awareness, time constraints, and reliance on third parties for care. Proactive efforts by employers to promote screening compliance can lead to better outcomes.

Costs Are Rising, But Focus Remains on Treatment Over Prevention

Cancer claims over 1,500 American lives daily and has become the number one driver of employer healthcare expenses. Approximately 96% of benefits leaders agree early detection provides the best solution. However, most efforts still concentrate on treatment instead of evidence-based screening.

Around three-quarters of employers now emphasize screening, early detection, and risk prevention more. However, only 25% think their current health plans adequately meet employees' screening needs. Seventy-five percent say workers aren't getting screened enough by primary care providers. Forty percent of employees overall don't comply with recommended screenings. For cancers like lung, screening rates are as low as 6% among those eligible.

Awareness and Access Are Key

Nearly half of employees don’t know which screenings they require, with 46% fearing the results and 40% unable to make time for appointments. By promoting screening benefits and allowing flexible scheduling, employers can ensure employees understand requirements and can attend preventive care visits.

Experts advise making screening participation a social norm. When coworkers openly discuss checkups, it motivates others to get tested. Flexible work policies also enable staff to fit appointments into busy schedules.

Employers Must Take Active Role in Health Management

Just 17% of benefits leaders currently offer supplemental screening programs beyond basic health plan coverage. Most depend too heavily on third-party administrators (TPAs) instead of taking a hands-on approach to population health. But TPAs focus on claims coverage, not improving access.

Experts urge employers to directly provide screening services that remove barriers for staff. Though prevention programs may increase upfront costs, avoiding late-stage diagnoses ultimately decreases expenses. Paying for late-stage treatment is far more costly and does nothing to solve underlying problems.

Access to Data Is Crucial for Insights

Ninety percent of employers want access to data on employee screening compliance. However, only 16% can view combined rates for the five cancer types causing a quarter of cancer deaths. As healthcare is often the first or second highest employer cost, experts emphasize the need to analyze this spending.

Without data transparency, employers cannot identify what drives costs to take action. They should be able to segment data demographically to gain insights into different populations within their workforce. But currently, healthcare analytics remains a black box.

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In this issue:

This Just In ... The Great PTO Upgrade: Over 80% of Employers Boosting Leave Policies

The Personalization Mandate: Tailoring Benefits to Boost Retention

Prioritize Care While Cutting Costs

Navigating Compensation in the Era of Transparency

Early Cancer Detection Saves Lives, Lowers Costs



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