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October: Shining a Light on Breast Cancer Awareness

Cancer holds the unwanted distinction of being the most claimed condition in terms of cost across our captive programs. Specifically, breast cancer emerges as the top claim not only by cost but also by prevalence among our captive members.

From a health insurance perspective, claims translate into dollars and case notes. What we must remember is that behind each claim is a person—a loved one, a friend, an employee—battling through one of life’s most challenging times. These are our member companies’ employees, co-workers, and spouses. The question arises: What can we do to help?

Stepping Up the Fight Against Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society breast cancer survival rate is 90% on average – a rate higher than many other cancers. However, there is always room for growth in battling breast cancer. Easier treatment experiences, better preventative measures and early detection are the paths forward to health.

Our annual Captive Member Meetings are a great resource to learn about preventative measures and steps companies can take to reduce risk. You get a first-hand look at what other like-minded companies are implementing in order to reduce claims and save lives. Members use Member Meetings as an opportunity to learn from peers and gain new perspectives on improving employee health and wellbeing.

Identify Gaps in Healthcare

In addition to member meetings, Innovative Captive Strategies (ICS) members have more access to claims data than other companies in the traditional market. ICS group captives provide transparency into the claims experience and it is up to business owners to harness this data and make informed decisions on the best preventative care for employees. Here are some questions to help you navigate this journey with your data:

  • Are my employees receiving their annual physicals?
  • Do employees have a dedicated primary care physician ensuring timely blood tests and preventive exams?
  • Are my female employees compliant in their mammogram screenings?

Bridging the Healthcare Divide

There are a variety of factors you can consider when making healthcare decisions easily accessible for employees, including:

  • Offer sufficient time off and easier access to screenings for employees to undergo their mammogram exams.
  • Collaborate with local hospitals or companies to explore bringing mobile mammogram screenings to your office. ICS recently partnered with Bexa to bring mammogram screenings to our Waukee, IA office. Bexa is a state-of-the-art breast exam tool. As an easy-to-use, handheld medical device, Bexa can be administered on-site at an employer’s location by a trained examiner. If you are interested in learning more about Bexa, please reach out to an ICS employee benefits team member.
  • Incorporate cancer screening compliance into your existing wellness programs. Many businesses incentivize employees to be compliant with their required screenings through additional paid time off (PTO), gift cards, premium differentials and more. By knowing what motivates your employees, you can drive wellness engagement within your organization.

We have seen several captive member companies successfully implement these strategies, leading to a surge in the number of screened female employees.

Empowering Through Education

By giving your employees knowledge about breast cancer prevention, you can empower them to make regular medical exams a priority. Here’s a valuable resource for breast self-exams from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.: “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are found by women who detect a lump. Hence, establishing a routine for breast self-exams is pivotal.” National Breast Cancer Foundation PLC (National Breast cancer Foundation PLC http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam.).

Additionally, The American Cancer Society provides these screening guidelines:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 can choose to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
  • Those between 45 to 54 should get mammograms annually.
  • Women 55 and above can opt for mammograms biennially or continue with their annual routine mammogram.

A Pledge for Health

In recognition of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we hope that you find these prevention and detection tips valuable in enhancing your company’s employee education and wellness initiatives. Investing in your employee’s health up front is one of the greatest ways of showing them you care. If you are interested in learning more about how an ICS employee benefit group captive can help enhance your company’s wellness program, please reach out to our employee benefits sales team.