November 28, 2017

Flu Shots and Remedies Employers Need for the Season

Artemis Health
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Artemis Insight

Trypanophobia: 10% of the population has it. The fear of needles or injections. If you’re one of those people, chances are you’re not looking forward to flu shot season. You might even be feeling pressured by your co-workers or spouse to get the vaccine.

According to the CDC, the flu shot costs employers an average of $17 a dose. The National Institute of Health says that vaccines are the first line of defense against the flu. And of course, vaccines are an excellent way to help most vulnerable populations, like the elderly and small children, fight what can be a very serious illness.

For most Americans, the flu shot is covered 100% by their insurance, whether it’s a government or private payer. When the flu is severe, it can be costly for patients and payers alike—some strains might lead to a doctor visit, while others may require a hospital stay and antivirals.  

So we thought we’d look at what happens if you do get the flu compared to whether you get the vaccine. First, let’s look at antivirals.

A quick exploration in the Artemis Platform shows that the common antiviral drug Tamiflu costs approximately $15 per dose. Not terribly expensive on its own, but it’s likely billed along with an office visit or urgent care claim.

Now let’s look at the home remedies that are essential to making yourself comfortable at home while you fight off the flu:

  • To help with nausea: ginger tea (3.99 for a pack of 16 tea bags)
  • To help with coughing: honey (3.29 for one bottle)
  • To help with decongestion: Theraflu or other similar OTC medications (8.99 for a pack of six)

If you include the Tamiflu shot, the total cost of treating the flu at home would be about $32.

So you can see that a flu shot is, in the end, more economical than treating the flu, especially a severe one. While the vaccine isn’t always effective, it’s a quick and easy way to safeguard public health during the colder months. That’s why so many employers, pharmacies and healthcare providers offer them free of charge.

Unfortunately, there will still be resistance to receiving a free vaccine, which is a struggle for businesses who want to keep their population healthy. Employers might want to consider providing an in-office flu shot clinic to administer the vaccine at a convenient time and place. This may eliminate a doctor’s appointment or long wait times at the pharmacy, and keep costs down from unexpected ER visits from flu-related illnesses.

And if you haven’t done it yet, conquer your trypanophobia and get the flu shot on your lunch break—your employer and coworkers will thank you.

Sick of overspending on your healthcare costs? See how Artemis can help. Watch our demo.

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