Migraines - Plan Design & Policies

Benefit & Policy Considerations

According to a recent study, 14% of workers report having migraines but only 3% receive treatment. In fact, even when migraine sufferers seek medical care, many are misdiagnosed and undertreated. As a result, migraines among employees often result in both higher health care costs and lost productivity for employers.

When making decisions about whether to add new treatment options and workplace policies that support migraine sufferers, it’s important to take health care costs and productivity, including presenteeism, into account. Helping workers suffering from migraines with the right benefits coverage and workplace support (e.g. through related policies), can deliver both cost savings for employers and improved health and well-being for employees, helping them stay on the job and be productive.

Existing benefits, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), can provide significant confidential support without stigma for migraine sufferers. Increasing the number of EAP visits allowed may provide migraineurs the support needed to better manage stress and mental health disorders associated with their headaches.

Fitness and nutrition also play a role in addressing stress and migraine prevention and management. Promoting benefits in these areas including fitness centers/memberships, walking clubs and healthy eating initiatives as support for those with migraines is another tactic that can be used. For example, registered dietitians can assist employees in identifying and managing migraine headache triggers associated with certain foods.

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