The mid-term elections are behind us now, and it's hard to believe after such a contentious election cycle, but there is a consensus between the political parties that something has to be done about the opioid crisis in The United States.
According to CBS News, the crisis costs American businesses close to 2.8 billion dollars each year.
The costs to small business are further amplified because it's hard for small companies to absorb the shock of all the costs of somebody who becomes addicted.
The costs come from a wide range of sources, including:
It's natural for people not to want to talk about their addiction. They realize there is a problem and know they are vulnerable to judgment and ostracism if they reveal their dependence.
The problem is this can lead to them not seeking help, or trying to solve the problem on their own.
You can help fight this by opening the lines of communication with your staff. Let them know that your health insurance plan covers addictions issues. Furthermore, also let them know, and adopt a policy and procedure, that allows them to flex their hours so they can attend medical and addiction appointments.
The critical step here is to establish trust with your employees, let them know you are going to help them with the problem. Dealing with addiction is like dealing with any other significant disease, you are supporting the employee to seek treatment for the illness while letting them be productive for your company.
Don't let this become a "word-of-mouth" campaign. Make the subject a topic of meetings, produce posters, or take whatever steps you usually take to get the word out about other work issues.
Be Familiar With Your Health Insurance Policy's Addiction Plan
Read, or have somebody, read your health insurance policy and become familiar with the process for a person to get help. Once you let people know about your willingness to work with them and helping them overcome their addiction, it's possible they may first go to a manager about the issue. They may not know how to deal with the insurance company, have somebody who can assist them with the process.
Privacy And Discretion Are Critical
If an employee does come to you for help with the issue, it's critical for both your company and the employee that you keep whatever you learn strictly confidential.
First, you don't want people to think that is they go to your HR department everything they say will become public knowledge.
Second, if employees do think that the information will become the subject of gossip and rumors, they will never seek assistance in the first place.
One way to combat this is to provide information to the employee about how to contact the health insurance company without inquiring about the reason.
Culture Insurance goes beyond selling insurance policies; we want to help businesses create company cultures that sustain companies. If you have any questions or comments about the topic, we encourage you to contact us to learn more.