June 2021

Help your clients address health disparities within their workforce

For too many people, factors such as economic status, education level, neighborhood and home safety, access to care and healthy food, and relationships with family, friends, and community are creating obstacles to good health. These can make being healthy harder than it has to be, even with health insurance.

As a broker, you work with your clients to develop competitive and cost-effective benefit and wellness strategies. It’s important to consider the real-life social and environmental challenges people face every day and reach beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to health. By committing to this perspective, you can empower your clients to take action to remove obstacles as well as help everyone achieve their best health.

Addressing social determinants of health.

Up to 80% of a person’s health is tied to behaviors impacted by environmental, economic and social conditions – where they are born, live, work and play – known as the social determinants of health (SDoH). But only a fraction of health investments is focused on addressing these SDoH, leading to health disparities.*

Understanding health disparities.

A health disparity is an avoidable and unfair difference in health status between segments of the population. Health disparities negatively affect groups of people who have experienced greater obstacles to health based on their race, ethnicity, education, literacy, income level, language, culture, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability or geographic location.

Achieving health equity.

Health equity, in turn, is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. By being able to recognize and proactively address SDoH, we can reduce health disparities and transform these challenges into opportunities for health equity.

The primary barrier to employer involvement in reducing disparities is a lack of awareness.** When your clients recognize and work to reduce health disparities, it can lead to health equity for everyone. That could mean lower medical costs – and it can also help your clients build a healthier, more productive workforce.

Here’s a helpful White Paper you can share with your clients to get the conversation started.

* County Health Rankings and Roadmaps: A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program. (2019). County health rankings model. https://www.countyhealthrankings.org/explore-health-rankings/measures-data-sources/county-health-rankings-model

** Tools to Address Disparities in Health: Data as Building Blocks for Change. (2005, May). America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). https://aapcho.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AHIP-ToolstoAddressDisparitiesinHealth.pdf