Check Your DEI in Health Care Benefits With This Myth-Busting Checklist

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continues to be an important area of focus for so many HR leaders. In fact, 79% of companies allocated even more budget and resources to DEI in 2022 than in 2021. But there is a problem. Many of the actions organizations took in 2021 leaned towards quick fixes, rather than holistic strategies that directly address DEI-related issues, according to a study by Mclean & Company. So even though organizations are funneling a significant amount of resources into their DEI strategies, many of said efforts may not actually be moving the needle very much. If you’re finding this to be the case at your own company and want to create more impactful change, we encourage you to start with your health care benefits. Why?  Health inequity, which is when people don’t have equal opportunities to attain their full health potential, continues to be a huge problem. If you think health inequity doesn’t affect your organization, you may be surprized. A McKinsey report found that Black, Hispanic and Latino, Asian, and LGBTQ+ employees—including those with high salaries—are less likely to receive the care they need than their peers. They’re also more likely to consider switching employers for reasons related to benefits. By addressing the health disparities within your own workforce, you’re giving your employees the opportunity to reach their full health potential—a critical component of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture. If you’re not sure how much your current health care benefits are DEI-friendly, use this DEI checklist to gauge your offerings and identify areas for improvement. 

Your DEI checklist for health care benefits

Instructions: Review each statement and score your company on each one. At the end of each section, add up your total points. At the end of the checklist, tally up your totals from each section to get your final score. This will give you a sense of the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of your health care benefits.

Health insurance

Offering health insurance doesn’t automatically make your benefits diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Your workforce also needs to be able to access their offerings. Unfortunately, 73% of employees don’t have a solid understanding of their health care benefits, which means utilization is likely low. But education isn’t the only problem. It’s well-documented that people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, face many barriers—from discrimination to biases—when it comes to accessing health care services. As a result, a recent report by KFF found that Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native people fare worse than White people across measures related to health coverage, access, and use, as well as health status, outcomes, and behaviors. Transgender and non-binary individuals are also less likely to utilize health services out of fear of stigma. To ensure all of your employees have DEI-friendly access high-quality care, review these statements about your health insurance: 1. We offer multiple health insurance options so employees can choose one that best aligns with their needs. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 point) ☐ No (0 points) 2. We give employees a way to access culturally competent care, which delivers health care services that meet the social, cultural, or linguistic needs of patients. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 3. We offer virtual health care options (such as video-based appointments) for employees who might not be able to receive in-person care—whether that’s due to a chronic illness, disability, or any other life circumstance. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 4. We give employees tools to help them utilize their health insurance and save on health care costs. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 5. We offer ways for every employee to fully understand their health care options, and choose the plan that best works for them and their families. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) Total points: _____

Family-forming benefits

Everyone has the right to start a family. But when employers don’t give every employee the resources to support their family-forming journeys, it creates a significant amount of stress on the individual or couple—potentially leading to mental health issues, financial stress, and damaged relationships. For instance, did you know that for in vitro fertilization (IVF) to be covered by most health insurance, couples need to prove that they’ve been trying to get pregnant through regular intercourse for at least a year? This automatically excludes most LGBTQIA+ couples, single-intending parents, and anyone pursuing parenthood outside of a heterosexual, cisgender partnership from receiving financial support for fertility treatments. Let’s assess the current state of your offerings: 1. We provide diverse family-forming options, such as donor-assisted reproduction, adoption, and gestational carrier services. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 2. We offer birth-parent-neutral, gender-neutral policies that make parental leave accessible to all employees. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 3. In our benefits material, we use inclusive language that avoids outdated terms like “surrogacy” or “maternal/paternal leave.” ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 4. Our family-forming benefits are extended to every employee—not just those in specific locations. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) Total points: _____

Mental health benefits

Mental health can be a tough topic to address in the workplace. Despite the progress we’ve made over the last few decades, mental illness is still weighed down by stigma, making it difficult for employees to discuss it at work—let alone navigate the benefits that may be available to them. These challenges are even more pronounced for communities of color, within the LGBTQIA+ population, and among women due to the additional biases they face—not to mention the lack of access to specific mental health resources. To understand the severity of the problem, check out these statistics:
  • In 2015, 48% of White individuals received mental health services, compared with 31% of Black and Hispanic individuals, and 22% of Asian individuals.
  • LGBTQ people are twice as likely to have a mental health disorder in their lifetime when compared to heterosexual men and women.
  • Twice as many women experience depression in their lifetime than men.
Until we can close the gaps, employees in these demographics will be hindered in attaining their full health potential. Go through the next few questions to assess your mental health offerings. 1. We’re working to break the stigma around mental health by providing educational resources, creating space for conversations, and training managers to compassionately address this topic. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 2. We offer employees an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or another similarly low-cost, confidential service, to support a variety of mental health needs. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 3. We give employees ways to access culturally competent care, which delivers health care services that meet the social, cultural, or linguistic needs of patients. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) 4. We give employees ways to access mental health services through a variety of channels, including video or phone-based counseling, online chats, and apps. ☐ Yes (2 points) ☐ In progress (1 points) ☐ No (0 point) Total points: _____

Scoring system

FINAL SCORE: _____ If you scored between… 17 to 24 points = You have a top-notch health care benefits package Congratulations! It sounds like your health care benefits check all the right boxes. Your employees are lucky to work at a company that cares so deeply about its DEI efforts. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. If you want to take your health care benefits to the next level, consider adding Healthee to your offerings. Zoe, our AI-powered Personal health care Assistant, can answer your employees’ most pressing questions and guide them to the most cost-efficient, high-quality care that meets their specific needs.
Request a demo
9 to 16 points = You’re on the right path to creating a DEI-friendly health care benefits package. Great start! You’re on track to creating diverse, inclusive, and equitable health care benefits packages. As a next step, we encourage you to take a look at the sections that you scored the lowest on and pick one thing you can improve on. Remember: the goal is long-term impact, not quick fixes, so don’t worry if these changes don’t happen overnight. If one of your areas for improvement are related to helping employees better access their health care benefits, consider using Healthee. Our goal is to help your employees actually understand how to use their health care benefits—whether that’s by guiding them to high-quality, low-cost care or identifying the right provider for their specific needs.
Request a demo
0 to 8 points = Your health care benefits package may need improvement  Don’t worry! The good news is, even though your health care benefits leave a lot to be desired, there are lots of ways to make significant improvements. As a next step, we recommend choosing one area—whether that’s health insurance or fertility benefits—and start thinking of ways to make those offerings a bit more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Remember: the goal is long-term impact, not quick fixes, so don’t worry if these changes don’t happen overnight. If you feel overwhelmed, consider starting with Healthee. Healthee takes things off your plate by helping your employees better access their health care benefits, from start to finish. So whether it’s identifying the best provider for them or scheduling an appointment, you won’t have to worry about adding five new tasks to your to-do list.
Request a demo
How did you score? Regardless of where your current health care benefits package stands, we’d love to help you take your offerings to the next level. Request a demo to learn more.
Healthee Rainbow

See Healthee in Action

Reach out to schedule a free demo and learn how Healthee can keep your people healthy and happy.

See Healthee in Action

Reach out to learn how Healthee can keep your people healthee and happy.

I'm a... an...