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Shaving Away Problems With Men’s Health

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A number of health issues continue to plague men, including prostate and testicular cancer. In fact, 39% of men will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

To help change the face of men’s health, two international campaigns, No Shave November and Movember, encourage men each November to grow facial hair as a way to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues.

(Related: Let’s Make Life Insurance Conversations More Mainstream)

Even if growing or shaving facial hair is not your thing, brokers and agents can get involved by using these campaigns as a starting point for client conversations. Consider talking about these three ways to help address common men’s health challenges:

1. Don’t split hairs over preventative care.

While going to the doctor may not be the most exciting activity, men especially are adverse to annual checkups. The Cleveland Clinic found that 72% of men would rather do household chores, like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, than visit their doctor. However, regular exams are crucial to ensuring health problems are spotted and treated as early as possible.

In addition to encouraging consistent check-ups and participation in a workplace’s wellness programs, help make employees aware that many supplemental insurance policies include a wellness benefit for receiving preventative care. The benefit can assist with the cost of health screenings, diagnostic testing such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and genetic testing, which may be recommended to men who have had numerous family members diagnosed with the same type of cancer.

2. Trim your financial risks.

When meeting with employees, reiterate that health insurance may not cover all out-of-pocket expenses related to an illness or injury. A study from the Federal Reserve found that about 40% of American households have unpaid debt from unexpected medical bills incurred within the last year. Additionally, four in 10 American adults would not be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense with cash, savings or a credit card charge that could be quickly paid off.

Beyond medical bills, a health emergency such as a cancer diagnosis may result in employees missing work, which can cause additional financial strain. Short-term disability insurance can help as a financial safety net to replace income lost when a policyholder is unable to work, helping him or her focus on recovery.

3. Get help with hair-raising out-of-pocket costs.

Unfortunately, medical surprises do not discriminate — they happen among people of all ages and backgrounds. Among men, prostate cancer remains the second most common cancer in the United States, while testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-34 years. While we cannot prevent such diseases, we can better prepare for them.

Consider highlighting how cancer and critical illness insurance can pay cash benefits directly to the policyholder, unless otherwise assigned, in the event of a diagnosis. These funds can help cover expenses health insurance doesn’t cover, such as copayments and deductibles, daily living expenses like the mortgage or rent payments, child care costs or groceries.

During November men’s health awareness activities — and all year — brokers and agents can help clients shave away some of the anxieties associated with men’s health issues by discussing the ways benefits offerings assist in the event of a diagnosis. Employees will be glad to know help really can be found right under their nose — mustached or not.

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Rich Williams (Credit: Aflac)Rich Williams is executive vice president and chief distribution officer at Aflac.