Concentra Examines the True Cost of the Flu
11/18/2011 // Posted in Press Releases
The flu season has arrived and without proper protection like an annual flu shot, the influenza virus can be very costly. To help educate employers and patients on the importance of annual flu vaccinations, Concentra has compiled some facts about the true cost of the flu.
Each year, thousands of people become ill with the flu, which often means sick days, reduced workforce capacity, out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits, additional money spent on over-the-counter and prescription medications, and an overall bad feeling. Influenza produces direct costs due to lost productivity and associated medical treatment, as well as indirect costs related to preventive measures.
Below are some actual statistics and costs directly related to the flu that employers and individuals face due to an influenza outbreak:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza is responsible for a total cost of over $10 billion per year in the United States. A future pandemic could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs.
- Every year, businesses spend approximately $10.4 billion on flu-related illnesses in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits.
- An estimated 15 percent of the population will contract influenza during flu season. Using the average national cost for a doctor visit, each person will pay a total of $154.55 for the visit, not including costs related to prescription or over-the-counter medications.
- A study of the impact of influenza on productivity found that employees who became ill with the flu miss an average of three workdays.
Seasonal influenza, or the flu, is an extremely contagious respiratory infection and often includes symptoms like high fever, cough, and full body aches. Flu symptoms are more severe than those of colds and can cause medical complications that result in an average of 36,000 deaths each year. But individuals can protect themselves with an annual flu vaccine, which offers numerous benefits with minimal effort:
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workforces that received a flu vaccination saw a 25 percent decrease in upper respiratory infections, 43 percent decrease in absenteeism, and 44 percent decrease in medical visits.
- Factoring in direct cost savings associated with the flu vaccine (both absenteeism and medical costs), an annual flu shot returns up to $46.50 per vaccinated employee.
- The flu vaccine has been calculated to save more than 8 million lives annually – the equivalent of one person saved every five seconds.
"With an all-new season flu vaccine available this fall, it's more important than ever for the public to be protected from circulating strains of influenza," said Senior Vice President of Medical Operations Bill Lewis, M.D. " By providing employers and patients in the area with seasonal influenza vaccines, physicians and public health officials can better prepare for the upcoming flu season."
As medical experts in the flu, Concentra recommends that any individual, wanting to reduce their chances of getting the flu, should get vaccinated. To help save money and reduce the risk of catching the flu virus, Concentra offers flu shots at all Concentra Urgent Care locations across the country. Concentra can also provide flu shot clinics at employer worksites across the nation to assist employers in keeping their employees safe and healthy. To learn more about the seasonal flu, including popular myths and facts about influenza, visit www.concentra.com/flu, or the nearest Concentra Urgent Care location.