MBGH conducted a preventive care benefits survey in 2010 that revealed few employees took advantage of preventive care benefits


of employers thought employees lacked an essential understanding of the value of preventive care


of employees took advantage of immunization and lifestyle management programs


of employers thought their employees had no motivation to stay healthy


Employers serve as the primary purchasers of health insurance for employees and their families in the U.S. today. By offering comprehensive benefits and programs, including those related to wellness and preventive care, they have the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of their workforce. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employers can benefit from workplace health programs and services through the positive impact healthy workers can have on productivity, absenteeism and job satisfaction. In addition, there are economic benefits for employers, like spending less on direct medical costs including workers compensation, disability and replacement for ill or injured employees. 1 However this is only true if employees actually use their benefits, especially preventive health benefits. Unfortunately, many employers experience low utilization of such services.

In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One provision of the ACA provides insured Americans free access to preventive care by mandating that health plans provide a set of services with no out-of-pocket costs, placing the focus on wellness, prevention and early detection. Despite improved access to preventive services, research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that consumer awareness and utilization remains low and cost is a perceived barrier to use. 2

Supporting Employer Efforts

Employers can more effectively manage health costs by helping employees understand the value of using preventive benefits for maintaining their health and well-being and the value of making healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce the need and demand for high cost treatments. For this to happen, employers need to promote the value and use of preventive services among their covered populations throughout the year. In fact, most employers are already communicating to employees and family members about wellness programs and benefits on a regular basis. Integrating information about the value of preventive benefits and the importance of using them is a great way to enhance these efforts.

This toolkit contains important information and best practices from leading employer, academic, clinical, government and industry sources, offering new and proven tools to help employers:

  • Understand the concept of prevention and how the related ACA requirements work
  • Eliminate cost and access barriers to preventive services by: Identifying and closing related gaps in benefit plan design
  • Integrating language into benefits materials that is easy to understand, find and use
  • Improve employees’ knowledge of why preventive services are important and the long-term impact of failing to take advantage of these services
  • Ensure that communications emphasize the importance of taking advantage of free preventive services to improve health and avoid disease
  • Leverage existing and new communication tools to reinforce the message, including those used in established wellness programs and initiatives
  • Increase awareness and utilization of these services by using topic-specific promotional materials to communicate the importance of certain screening tests and recommended immunization schedules
  • Benchmark what other employers are doing

Note: The term “employee” used throughout this Toolkit refers to the covered population, including families.