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3 ways flu shots save you money

By Regence | October 21, 2015

It’s flu season and you’ve probably seen the signs: Get your flu shot here.

That’s a smart idea. Annually, flu costs our economy about $10 billion in lost productivity and direct medical expenses.

Getting your flu shot, and encouraging employees to do the same, saves you money in three ways:

  • Decreases absenteeism: Flu takes employees away from work, to care for themselves or a loved one.

  • Decreases medical claims: Flu sends about 200,000 people to the hospital each year, plus countless doctor visits.

  • Improves productivity: When employees are at work and healthy, your productivity goes up.

Make it easy for employees

Annual flu shots are likely covered for your employees with no up-front cost at contracted vendors. Check with your benefits coordinator on this preventive benefit.

Let your employees know if their flu shot is free. They’ll be more likely to get the shot if they know it’s covered. They can visit their family doctor, local pharmacy or other contracted flu shot vendor to use this benefit.

To make it easier, some vendors will come to your worksite to administer the flu vaccine.

  • Most vendors require a minimum number of employees. Check out the list for your area: ID | OR | UT | WA
  • Share this flier to encourage employees to use their preventive benefit to stay healthy this season. ID | OR | UT | WA

Companies that kept their health plan since 2010 might not have the same coverage. Check with your benefits coordinator, producer or account executive to find out. Even if employees must pay – usually $15 to $20 – it is a smart investment.

Who should get vaccine?

Flu shots were once advised mainly for children and seniors. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says everyone over six months of age should get a flu shot each year. That includes pregnant women.

One flu shot for each worker protects them and:

  • Children under six months, who cannot get the shot. They are vulnerable to flu. So are those between six months and 8 years who haven’t had their second flu shot.

  • Parents and grandparents, because more than 80 percent of flu deaths occur among those older than 65.

  • People who cannot get the shot. They might be allergic to eggs or have a compromised immune system.

This year’s flu shot covers three strains, according to the CDC. And even if you or your workers still get the flu, it’s likely to be less severe with the shot.

Timing

Get the flu shot early in season, which starts in the fall. It takes a few weeks to form the antibodies that will make the vaccine fully effective. Even if you delay, it’s still worth getting the shot. Flu season typically peaks from December to February and can go as late as May.

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