COVID-19 vaccine, deferred care are top comp, benefits concerns for 2021

January 14, 2021

Members of the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), a regional coalition of employers and healthcare stakeholders, have asked questions about vaccine rollouts and about whether particular types of workers qualify as essential workers, NEBGH CEO Candice Sherman said. But with guidance changing on a day-to-day basis, there is still a "good deal of uncertainty," she added.

Sources who previously spoke to HR Dive described incentivizing vaccination as one potential avenue for employers worried about the impact of other policies, such as a vaccine mandate. While Sherman said NEBGH has not heard much from members with respect to incentives, "I frankly am in favor of incentivizing." She added that employers may want to work with health plans and pharmacy partners to ensure employees and their families have access to good information about vaccine availability.

Employers, in connection with their health plans, may be able to look into concepts such as drive-thru vaccination clinics once vaccines become more broadly available, Sherman said. Some states are already beginning to experiment with this specific idea. Florida announced plans this week to open a golf cart drive-thru vaccination clinic for seniors at one retirement community, reported ABC affiliate WFTV.

Goodbye, Haven: The benefits industry reacts

January 5, 2021

“The Haven health venture and the publicity surrounding it shone a light on the critical role employers play in funding the health care system and generating innovation that can benefit employees and the public at large. But health care delivery is primarily regional, so it’s not a surprise that these companies are pursuing projects tailored to their own populations.”

–Candice Sherman, CEO, Northeast Business Group on Health

Why It’s Vital For Employers To Add Mental Health Benefits

December 28, 2020

Heightened anxiety and stress have a direct impact on employees’ emotional resilience and productivity. Major depressive disorders are tied to 27 lost workdays per year per employee, according to the Northeast Business Group on Health, and an increased cost of $4,426 per employee per year. Additionally, mental health conditions are also tied to other chronic conditions such as obesity and heart disease.

But there are also more widespread impacts on the broader workforce.

Keep in mind that while many employees try as much as possible to compartmentalize work and life stresses, that’s not always possible. Especially at a time of widespread remote work, work and life stresses blend together and can create a charged and overwhelmed state of being.

Guidelines for supporting an employee with cancer

December 10, 2020

For cancer patients, employment is more than financial security and healthcare benefits — it’s a support system.

Four out of every 10 people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. That number is only expected to grow; by 2040, the number of cancer survivors is expected to reach more than 26 million — a 50% increase from last year.

“With a growing number of cancer survivors in the workforce, employers need to better understand and be equipped to help support them, given the challenges these employees may face,” said Candice Sherman, CEO of the Northeast Business Group on Health, in a report by the organization.

Here’s how employers can more effectively support cancer survivors

December 9, 2020

A growing number of patients are surviving a cancer diagnosis, meaning employers must be prepared to offer a workplace that supports their specific needs.

To assist with that process, the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) has released a guide for employer benefits and human resources professionals that highlights the key challenges and opportunities in meeting the needs of cancer survivors.

Estimates suggest there will be 26.1 million cancer survivors living in the U.S. by 2040, an increase of more than 50% compared to 2019, the NEBGH said in an announcement.

Creating a supportive workplace for cancer survivors

December 2, 2020

The Northeast Business Group on Health, based in the Financial District, today unveiled a new guide designed to help human resources and benefits leaders better understand the complex issues associated with cancer survivorship.

The guide details six areas that employers can focus on to create a workplace supportive of people living with cancer: physical health, mental and social health, wellness and healthy lifestyle, family and friends, finances, and work.

Its release comes as cancer is on the rise among millennials, who make up the largest generation in the nation's workforce, and the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. is increasing steadily, the business group noted. It's estimated that by 2040, the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will reach 26.1 million, a more than 50% increase compared to 2019.

Some of the recommendations include providing comprehensive mental health coverage and an employee assistance program for short-term counseling and other services. Other recommendations focus on providing support and resources to employees who may be serving as caregivers to family members or friends who are cancer survivors as well as to the co-workers of cancer survivors.

Better understanding cancer survivorship also benefits a company's productivity and finances, said Candice Sherman, CEO of the business group. That can include a decrease in turnover costs, which can be high, the group noted. It also can be costly to lose expertise if employees who are survivors depart.

Cancer survivors also generally have higher annual medical costs than their colleagues because of ongoing monitoring and the long-term effects of the disease, the business group noted. However, supporting survivors' work and well-being increases the value of those health care expenditures.

"Employers are going to be having greater numbers of survivors in their workforce in the years to come," Sherman said. "It's important to understand what the issues are in terms of survivorship." —J.H.

Cancer Survivorship: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers (PDF)

December 2, 2020

48 pages. "[A] cancer diagnosis and treatment together comprise just one part of the patient journey. What happens when people move beyond active treatment to survivorship? ... [This guide] is designed to provide you with information on the challenges and opportunities associated with cancer survivorship and practical guidance on creating a workplace that supports people living with cancer and is productive for all." 

How Employers Can Support Employee Cancer Survivorship

December 2, 2020

Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) released a new guide for employers on cancer survivorship Wednesday morning.

The free guide was created in collaboration with CancerCare to offer employers' HR departments "practical guidance on creating a workplace that supports people living with cancer and is productive for all."

The guide covers challenges that cancer survivors may face and how employers can support them. It also includes information on support organizations, employment laws and agencies, and recommendation checklists for employers.

Reforming Oncology Care Payments: Interviews From the QCCA Leadership Summit

November 10, 2020

payment reform. Research by the Northeast Business Group on Health found that in 2015, employers spent $125 million on cancer care, and since then, cancer therapy costs have increased substantially with greater use of immunotherapy and the introduction of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies that can easily cost half a million dollars for treatment.

The federal government is taking the lead with the Oncology Care Model, which will transition into Oncology Care First in 2022 after a 1-year extension due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, but commercial payers are also testing payment reform models.

Tips for employers on how to aid workers who care for loved ones

November 1, 2020

Did you know that nearly 17% of your employees may be caregivers? According to an AARP and the Northeast Business Group on Health, in the U.S. today, one in six employees is a caregiver for a relative or friend and spends, on average, 20 hours a week caring for a loved one. And it's safe to say (given demographic trends) that the number of employees acting as caregivers will only grow.