The 2017-2018 flu season was responsible for:
49 million flu illnesses, 960,000 hospitalizations and 79,000 flu-related deaths.
However, the flu vaccine prevented an additional:
7 million flu illnesses, 8,000 flu-related deaths and 109,000 hospitalizations.¹
US Vaccination Rates Need Improvement
While vaccines are becoming increasingly accessible, vaccination rates are still well below government goals. A study from the University of North Carolina² found that over the 2015-2016 flu season, “the flu accounted for $5.8 billion in health care and lost productivity costs. Some 80 percent of those losses were tied to people who chose not to get vaccinated.”
Time to Take Action
Coverage mandates are required under the Affordable Care Act for many vaccines, including the flu, but the way coverage is handled is at the plan’s discretion. A plan may cover under the medical benefit alone or under both the medical and pharmacy benefit.
Many people receive their flu vaccine from their local pharmacist, while others may need to rely on their doctor’s office for their shot. Some employers even arrange to bring someone in to administer the flu vaccine to their employees while at work.
Cover Your Participants Under Your Pharmacy Benefits Plan
Some plans still don’t cover immunizations under the pharmacy benefit, which is unfortunate as pharmacists are one of the most accessible and convenient health care professionals. Coverage under the pharmacy benefit can easily be added and tends to be more cost effective than the medical benefit.
The flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths every season. By being proactive, you can help keep both your workforce and your bottom line healthy. Help your participants get vaccinated by ensuring they have easy and cost-effective access. Implement the Broader Vaccination Network today!
- Influenza (Flu). (2017, April 19). Retrieved June 15, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/2015-16.htm
- Morris, C., & CNBC.com, S. T. (2016, October 28). The $5.8 billion hidden cost of the flu on the US economy. Retrieved June 15, 2017, from http://www.cnbc.com