Flu shots can pay off big for employers

Posted: 11/10/2010

From The LA Times:

Flu vaccinations for employees can help an employer's bottom line, according to a new study. Research presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Assn., found that for each employee vaccinated an employer can save $63 to $95 per person. Vaccinating an entire 150-person company, for example, could yield savings of between $9,450 and $14,250.

The study analyzes the cost of providing flu vaccine to employees and the costs in terms of absenteeism and lost productivity from having some workers out with the flu. The key to big savings, however, is to immunize workers early in the flu season. If an employer holds a flu clinic after December, the savings won't add up. The savings to an employer are especially significant if a flu clinic is held early in a year when a pandemic flu is circulating. In that case, vaccination can save an employer $33.94 to $700.69 per vaccinated employee.

"Employers are likely unaware of the potential savings," said the lead author of the study, Rachel Bailey, of the University of Pittsburgh. "They may view employee vaccination as a short-term expense but may not be fully aware of the savings that result later into the influenza season."

And, for employers who can't be bothered with setting up a workplace flu clinic, Citi is offering a prepaid flu care card that employees can take to one of any 17,000 pharmacies or clinics nationwide to get a flu shot. The card can only be used for a flu shot and the expense is charged to the employer at the time of service.

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