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Promoting Men’s Health and Wellness: An Action Plan for Brokers

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Quick look: June is an ideal time to shine a light on men’s well-being, as National Men’s Health Month and International Men’s Health Week both occur this month. Since the pandemic, men have been become more attentive to their health, yet there’s room for improvement in life expectancy, preventive habits, and overall wellness. These trends also present valuable opportunities for brokers. By partnering with a PEO, brokers can provide helpful employee benefits, effective benefits communication, and assistance in creating a supportive, wellness-focused workplace culture.

June is not only a month to celebrate fathers but also a time to recognize men’s health and wellness. It is designated as National Men’s Health Month, with International Men’s Health Week occurring from June 10-16 in 2024, coinciding with the week leading up to and including Father’s Day.

Men face a unique set of physical and mental health challenges, many of which can be mitigated with supportive employers and robust employee benefits. Explore current men’s health trends below and discover how brokers can leverage partnerships with professional employer organizations (PEO) to provide clients with comprehensive employee benefits packages that encourage holistic well-being.

About Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week

Men’s Health Month is recognized nationally each June and aims to “promote awareness, prevention, and family engagement for the health and well-being of men and boys.” This year’s theme is to “teach men and boys how to fish (for health),” meaning to educate boys and men on how to make healthier, preventative lifestyle choices that provide lifelong positive effects.

Similarly, Men’s Health Week is celebrated internationally with the purpose to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” Men’s Health Week intends to inspire healthcare providers, policymakers, the media, and individuals to encourage males to pursue regular medical guidance and prompt treatment of any disease or injury.

Men’s health statistics

Brokers must understand current men’s health trends to identify the employee benefits that will help this group the most. While some statistics reveal room for improvement, others signal growing awareness and knowledge about health—and all the data shows the need for thoughtful, comprehensive employee benefits and education.

Fast facts about men’s health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of men aged 18 and up:

  • Approximately 14% are in fair or poor health
  • Over 30% have had five or more drinks in one day at least once in the past year
  • Just 28% met the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities
  • 13% currently smoke cigarettes (and 5% use e-cigarettes)
  • Half have hypertension

Additionally, nearly 42% of men aged 20 and up are considered obese, and 11.5% of men under age 65 lack health insurance coverage. Further, the top two causes of death for U.S. men are heart disease and cancer, respectively.

A widening life expectancy gap

The difference between men’s and women’s life expectancies is increasing. Recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health reveals that the gender life expectancy gap is the largest it’s been since 1996, clocking in at 5.8 years, up from 4.8 years in 2010. The widening gap is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected men, as well as unintentional injuries, poisonings, and suicide.

Mental health challenges

Mental health burdens are often unspoken trials that many men face. Approximately 6 million U.S. men have depression, and an estimated 14.3% of men have an anxiety disorder.

Sadly, men died by suicide 3.85 times more than women, and white males accounted for nearly 70% of those deaths in 2022.

Cultural pressures

Social expectations make it difficult for some men to seek and ask for mental and physical support.

More than half of men don’t receive yearly routine checkups, and many don’t know their family’s medical history regarding prevalent conditions like urological issues and cancer. The top reasons men skip preventive doctor visits include:

  • Forgetting to schedule an appointment (24%)
  • Out-of-pocket expenses (21%)
  • Doubting the seriousness of their concerns (18%)
  • Fear of receiving bad news/discovering a problem (18%)

Many men also face pressure to conform to traditional gender norms of masculinity and want to appear independent and in control. This can cause some men to downplay symptoms and be hesitant about being vulnerable about their health. However, receiving regular blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, colon cancer, and prostate cancer screenings is of utmost importance to men’s health.

Increasing awareness

On a positive note, men’s awareness and concern about their health has increased in recent years. Healthgrades reports that 66% of men are more concerned with their health and wellness than before the pandemic, including conducting more extensive online research regarding health conditions (44%) and self-treatment options (40%). This has led to many men saying they feel more knowledgeable about their health than before the pandemic. However, there is still ample opportunity for brokers, employers, and healthcare providers to educate and connect men to appropriate care.

Which benefits impact men’s health the most?

Brokers have a unique opportunity to enhance the well-being of men nationwide by offering a diverse range of employee benefits. Here are some recommendations to suggest to clients to help maintain and improve the health of their male staff.

Comprehensive health insurance

Health insurance with expansive coverage is a must for men’s health. Ideally, health insurance should cover the various preventive screenings men need throughout life (see recommendations for ages 18-39, 40-64, and 65+).

Mental health coverage is also a must, and including convenient, private telehealth options can encourage more men to seek treatment. Additionally, offering health savings accounts (HSAs) and/or flexible savings accounts (FSAs) can help offset out-of-pocket costs and encourage more men to get the care they need.

Dental insurance

Offering supplemental dental insurance is essential. Studies show that men visit dentists less regularly than women (especially for preventive services), have higher rates of periodontal disease, oral cancer, and dental trauma, and are more likely to ignore their oral health and have poor oral hygiene habits. Giving male workers affordable dental insurance (and educating them on the benefits of preventive dental care) can foster improved overall well-being, as poor oral hygiene has been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Vision insurance

Vision insurance is another key supplementary insurance for men. Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential for everyone, regardless of if they require vision correction. Over 270 systemic and chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and cancers, can be identified during eye exams. Further, one in five Americans report that their eye professional has detected or diagnosed a non-eye-related health condition.

Employee assistance program

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a powerful tool that provides various support to working men with no out-of-pocket cost. EAPs feature professionals who confidentially discuss multiple issues, including:

  • Depression, grief, loss, and emotional well-being
  • Addictions such as alcohol and drug abuse
  • Stress or anxiety with work or family
  • Family, marital, and other relationship issues
  • Life improvement and goal-setting
  • And more

Why a PEO partnership makes sense

Brokers have plenty of opportunity to make a difference in men’s health. While men have become more health-conscious in recent years, there is room for improvement regarding their life expectancy, preventive care habits, activity levels, and more. These issues can be addressed with the right employee benefits, education, and a supportive work culture—all of which brokers can access through a PEO partner.

When you team up with a PEO like ExtensisHR, you can align your clients with:

  • Tailored, comprehensive employee benefits packages that help them attract and retain talent and support men’s health.
  • Cost-effective, large-group pricing on benefits, which encourages utilization by mitigating out-of-pocket costs.
  • A range of benefits administration and management services, including compliance, renewal and open enrollment support, and benefits communication that reiterates the importance of physical and mental well-being year-round.
  • Human resources (HR) support to guide men’s health awareness in the workplace and create a culture that promotes health through assisting with designing flexible work policies, sharing educational materials, developing fundraising ideas, etc.

Additionally, unlike other PEOs, ExtensisHR is partner-centric and focuses equally on your clients’ success and your business objectives. We do this by providing flexible, cost-efficient, and full-service solutions tailored to your clients’ needs, as well as offering competitive commissions and a seamless RFI process.

Help your clients improve the health of their employees today. Explore ExtensisHR’s employee benefits solutions or learn more about partnering with ExtensisHR.

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