How Florida Employers Can Foster a Healthy and Diverse Workforce

How Florida Employers Can Foster a Healthy and Diverse Workforce

How Florida Employers Can Foster a Healthy and Diverse Workforce, April is National Minority Health Month and the 2024 theme is “Be the Source for Better Health: Improving Health Outcomes Through Our Cultures, Communities, and Connection.” This theme is crucial in light of the abundant misinformation circulating in today’s social climate. By recognizing and celebrating the diversity within their workforce, employers can empower minority employees to better understand their health, access available resources, and find affordable care. This collective effort can lead to improved health outcomes and a stronger, more cohesive community within the workplace.

Promoting healthcare access, education, and affordability addresses many of the root causes of health disparities and helps promote equitable healthcare outcomes. Health disparities are the ways socially disadvantaged populations are disproportionately affected by disease, injury, violence, or barriers to achieving optimal health. Health disparities stem from factors such as poverty, environmental threats, educational inequalities, and inadequate access to healthcare. Interpersonal and structural racism as well as homophobia negatively impact millions of Americans in many areas of their lives, which can prevent them from achieving consistent mental and physical wellness.

Research shows health coverage confusion is higher in minority communities. This is one disparity that is often overlooked, especially by employers who offer traditional comprehensive health insurance. When coverage is misunderstood, it can lead to serious implications – delayed or forgone care, significant medical debt, and worsening health problems. This exacerbates the hurdles that many minorities already face. With a better understanding of everything comprehensive health insurance offers, all Americans can prioritize health and wellness – and employers can help many of their employees shrink the disparity gap. Here is what you need to know about the comprehensive health insurance Florida minorities need.

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Disparities affect minority Americans

Data shows us that racial and ethnic minority groups throughout the United States experience higher rates of illness and death across a wide range of health conditions, including:

  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • asthma
  • heart disease

Black or non-Hispanic Americans typically live four years fewer than White Americans and 21% of Hispanic adults report negative health status compared to 14% of White adults. The disproportionate impact among racial and ethnic minority populations, especially Hispanics, during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights these stark differences.

Hispanic adults in the U.S. are less likely than other Americans to receive preventive medical care and only about half currently have a primary care provider (PCP). Language differences can also be a factor since about 46% of Hispanic citizens say they have a close friend or family member who needs a Spanish-speaking healthcare provider or translator.

Black Americans are disproportionately affected by cancer. Black Americans are more likely than other ethnic groups to be diagnosed with female breast, lung, and colorectal cancers at a late stage. They also have a lower overall 5-year cancer survival rate and highest overall death rate compared to White Americans.

How’s the health of minorities in Florida?

Over 6.1 million Florida residents (27%) are Hispanic or Latino and 3.6 million (17%) are Black or African American. When it comes to health disparities, Florida has gaps to close. According to the Florida Department of Health, Floridians of color have statistically higher rates of illness and death from:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • specific cancers
  • diabetes
  • mental health
  • asthma

While the state is taking steps to reduce disparities, such as with the 2024-2025 Office of Minority Health Closing the Gap grant program, there is much more to do to improve minority health outcomes in Florida. One of the most significant areas for improvement is how Floridians interact with their health insurance plans.

Florida employees meeting to discuss health insurance in large, sunny conference room

What are common health insurance disparities for Floridians?

As of March 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 10.7 million Floridians are employed in the state. The vast majority of those individuals received employer-sponsored health insurance for themselves and their families.

2023 Curative consumer survey, conducted in collaboration with The Health Analytics and Insights Group, assessed how employees in Metro Florida felt about and used their health insurance plans. The results revealed most Florida employees struggle with their current health plans:

  • Only 45% say they could comfortably afford out-of-pocket costs if they had a major medical event or were diagnosed with a chronic illness.
  • 67% have used alternative methods to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, such as depleting a savings account (23%) and increasing credit card debt (24%).
  • 51% couldn’t anticipate out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions.
  • 32% of total respondents have medical debt and 48% of members with high deductibles have outstanding medical debt.
  • Within the past year, 32% have skipped preventive health services, such as a yearly check-up or routine test. Many are not adhering to medications.
  • 67% of respondents are missing work because of health-related issues and 46% agree their family health impacts their work performance.

As shocking as these findings are, responses from minority populations were even more revealing of health insurance disparities.

Insurance confusion and frustration in minority communities

According to the survey, Hispanic and Black employees struggle to understand their current employer-sponsored health offerings and report struggling to ensure they are covered. In fact, these employees faced harsher barriers to understanding and access across all metrics when compared to White, non-Hispanic employees.

Curative Florida Consumer Survey: Minority Disparity Results

The following questions from the 2023 Curative Consumer Survey showed the disparities in Florida employee health insurance confusion and utilization:

I don’t understand what’s covered by my insurance company.

  • 37% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 47% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 50% Hispanic

I don’t understand which doctors and hospitals are “in-network” and covered by my insurance plan.

  • 31% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 36% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 44% Hispanic

I have trouble navigating my health insurance coverage.

  • 36% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 45% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 48% Hispanic

I can’t anticipate my out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medicines even if the medicines are covered by my health insurance plan.

  • 45% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 49% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 58% Hispanic

I can’t anticipate my out-of-pocket expenses for health care services even if they are covered by my health insurance plan.

  • 50% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 58% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 57% Hispanic

I have to jump through hoops to get the care I need.

  • 34% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 36% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 49% Hispanic

I have to fight with my insurance company to get them to pay for my healthcare.

  • 32% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 35% Black/Asian/Others (Non-Hispanic)
  • 43% Hispanic

Untraditional payment methods used by minorities in Florida

Untraditional forms of payment highlight the inability of employees to anticipate and pay for their medical bills. According to the study, Hispanic employees tend to utilize untraditional payment methods more frequently than other groups to afford their out-of-pocket costs. This includes:

  • 21% who borrowed money from friends/family
  • 15% who used a payday lender

The high rates of confusion and frustration among Hispanic employees lead to borrowing or lending money, which only puts employees in further debt. This cycle of insurance confusion and untraditional payment methods can lead to risky health behavior like delaying or forgoing care.

Deferring care

According to the study, there are three main groups most likely to forgo or defer care

  • 42% of women are likely to defer care compared to 26% of men.
  • 58% of Hispanic employees are more likely to postpone seeing a doctor compared to 46% of non-Hispanic employees.
  • 42% of LGBTQ employees are more likely to forgo care than 34% of employees who don’t identify as LGBTQ.

Deferring care leads to worse health outcomes and higher treatment costs as opposed to identifying and treating illnesses early. Women, Hispanic, and LGBTQ employees in Florida are therefore much more likely to experience debt and chronic illnesses due to their likelihood of deferral.

How Do Health Disparities Affect Employers?

Employers that foster a diverse workforce come out ahead. Studies show that companies with ethnically and racially diverse teams are more likely to financially outperform others. Research also shows that diverse companies have 20% higher innovation than non-diverse companies which generates 19% more in revenues.

Despite the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce, companies must be mindful that the needs and struggles of certain employees are not the same. For minorities, income, economic stability, paid time off, medical benefits, and social conditions are major drivers of health disparities, and employers are in a position to help address many of them. Florida employers can improve the lives of their workforce and advance health equity by offering comprehensive health insurance that focuses on preventive health.

By doing so, employers can reduce both worker absenteeism and presenteeism by fostering a culture of wellness. When employees are confident in their health benefits, they will be more proactive in seeking care, reducing recovery time and decreasing their risk of future health problems. A healthy workforce also pays off for employers. U.S. employers lose $2,945 per employee every year in productivity losses linked to absenteeism and presenteeism from chronic illnesses and injuries. This loss in productivity includes sick days, short-term disability, long-term disability, and impaired job performance.

Curative can help employers close the gap

The Florida workforce deserves the best comprehensive health insurance, and minority groups deserve care that helps close the disparity gap. Curative is your answer. Curative is health insurance that’s simple, affordable, and engaging so your employees will fully understand and use their benefits.

With Curative, members have:

  • Access to $0 care: Your talent will have access to in-network services with zero-dollar copays or out-of-pocket expenses, so they never have to worry about surprise medical bills again.
  • No-hassle meds: Your employees will have access to free rapid medication delivery through a robust network of local pharmacies and the Curative Pharmacy.
  • Cancer screenings: Curative offers eligible members no-cost access to the Galleri® multi-cancer early detection test from GRAIL. Galleri can help detect more than 50 types of cancer with a single blood test.
  • Virtual therapy with Teladoc: Today, many people are always on the go. That’s why it’s so important to give your talent the opportunity to utilize virtual care. Employees can tap into remote therapy through our partnership with Teladoc. It’s hassle-free to schedule appointments and get connected to a therapist within a week.
  • Emergencies: If you find yourself in a critical situation or experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 for immediate support.

Learn more about how Curative’s comprehensive health insurance can help you close the disparity gap and cultivate better employee health in your organization by visiting our website. To see all disclaimers, please view them here.


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