Where an employee lives can have implications for employers

Employers that consider social determinants of health when designing employee benefit plans encourage healthier and more productive workforces.

When it comes to an employee’s overall health and well-being, where they live matters. One’s ZIP code may determine whether an employee and their family are financially stable or have access to transportation, safe and affordable housing, nutritious food, quality education or health care. But these social determinants of health (SDOH) ultimately impact the employer too.

Some of the states that rank lowest based on the prevalence of crime, air pollution, housing problems and other environmental factors include California, Hawaii, Mississippi, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.1

When employees are facing these challenges, their physical and mental health can suffer, which may in turn affect their productivity at
work.2  In fact, employees with these types of SDOH are 2.4 times more likely to go without necessary health care and take 6 or more days off work each year.2

While employers can’t necessarily change where an employee lives, they can implement programs that help address some of these physical and social barriers as well as help ensure their health plan meets employees where they are. For example, employers can offer supplemental food assistance for employees who may live in food deserts and who may not have healthy food options, provide virtual health options for employees who are transportation-challenged or lack nearby medical facilities and encourage employees to participate in preventive wellness checks to more proactively identify potential health concerns.

UnitedHealthcare is also committed to working with employers to build healthier communities, such as by teaming up with community-based organizations to help address SDOH and ensure employees are supported on their journey to living healthier lives. Contact your UnitedHealthcare representative to learn more.

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