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Financial Wellness and Its Impact on Employee Health

By Jung Ryu

When you hear the word wellness, what comes to mind? For some, it may be physical health, others, mental. But for many, financial wellness and its impact on employee health and well-being are often left out of the equation.

With health care costs on the rise, financial burdens continue to weigh on employees. Consider that, when an employee is hit with unexpected medical bills, their checkbook isn’t the only thing that suffers. This financial strain can also impact how they recover from an illness or injury.

As an employer, you can respond to this challenge. Many disability carriers have developed their approach to address both physical and financial well-being. By using an approach that addresses an employee’s situation holistically, you can better support their unique situation. Here are key points to consider when thinking about how to provide your employees with a more holistic approach to wellness:

The Impact of Finances on Employee Health

The road to recovery from a health condition can be intimidating. As mentioned above, physical and emotional stress, coupled with financial concerns, medical bills and ongoing treatment, can add up quickly. These heightened stressors are a key reason why addressing the financial wellness component of employee health is an important part of an overall benefits strategy.

Consider this common scenario: One of your employees injured her back in a car accident several years ago. Over the weekend, she was rearranging furniture and hyperextended her back. She’s in tremendous pain, but if she goes to the doctor, she’ll need X-rays or physical therapy, both of which may require out-of-pocket costs. She decides to forego seeing her doctor and instead hopes the pain will subside.

In this instance, and many others, the concern of paying for unexpected medical bills can mount and create a chain reaction that may negatively impact an employee’s health. These compounding stressors are important to avoid, as they put employees at a higher risk for presenteesim, the act of working while sick or in poor health — which can lead to lost productivity.

If left unaddressed, financial stress can add up and cause delays in recovery, or even result in additional health issues – like depression or anxiety. The simultaneous presence of an additional health issue, known as a comorbid condition, can prolong an employee’s recovery and affect their productivity.

Tailored Solutions Can Help

A disability carrier can often help you develop a tailored approach that can help address an employee’s physical and financial wellness. Programs like Workplace Possibilities℠ will work directly with you and your team to develop a tailored stay-at-work or return-to-work plan for an employee, incorporating resources from your employee benefits programs that can help employees’ physical, mental, emotional and financial health. They can act as the bridge that can integrate with other employer vendors such as EAP, financial wellness counselors and wellness programs.

In addition, these programs can also provide you with ideas for accommodation options to meet employees’ needs. Depending on the employee’s health issue, accommodations like schedule modifications, ergonomic equipment or job modifications can help employees manage their condition, return to work faster and increase their productivity.

Addressing these financial wellness concerns is crucial to help curb lost productivity and reduce comorbidity before it’s too late. Consider partnering with a disability carrier to help find your employees solutions to their health-related challenges and keep them happy, healthy and financially secure.


About guest blogger Jung Ryu

Jung Ryu is the national accounts practice leader for The Standard and is responsible for developing comprehensive disability management solutions that address the whole person to meet the needs of the most complex clients. He provides recommendations in all aspects of benefits ranging from core to ancillary products, and is focused on providing strategic direction and advising stakeholders on the latest benefits trends.


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