By Jeramy Tipton, senior vice president, Aflac Distribution Expansion and Consumer Markets
Grills, gadgets and corny T-shirts line the shelves in anticipation of Father’s Day, but a recent study found there’s one gift men of all ages need more than a tie or spatula. According to the Aflac Men’s Health Survey, conducted by Kantar Profiles, men aren’t paying enough attention to their health, and they frequently skip wellness exams that can identify signs and symptoms of serious illnesses. The study also found that younger men are especially vulnerable to mental health concerns, and men of all ages expressed strong interest in obtaining wellness tools. Here’s how men and their loved ones can take the first step to better overall health.
Make preventive care No. 1
Just like continued maintenance on the yard, car or house, our minds and bodies need regular care. The study found that fewer than half of men (47%) had an annual checkup or wellness exam in the past 12 months, only one-third had a routine dental exam and just 29% had a routine eye exam. Taking a pass on preventive care, men are potentially missing screenings, scans and evaluations that can catch serious illnesses in the early stages when treatment is often more successful and cost effective. That’s why it is so important to make preventive care a priority and use wellness benefits if you have them — for instance, some supplemental insurance plans include a cash benefit for wellness exams, and many health plans include an annual checkup without cost-sharing.
Try out mental health benefits and tools
The study found that a majority of men have experienced a mental or behavioral health concern in the last 12 months. Mental health concerns were especially acute for Gen Z and millennials, with 79% reporting a mental health concern this year, compared to 57% and 68% among Gen X and baby boomers. Gen Z and millennials are also most likely to say that mental health issues affected their productivity.
So how can men and their loved ones address these concerns? Since many men reported interest in mental health and wellness tools and resources, they should first look at the benefits they already have to understand how mental health is covered. Additionally, some policies give access to a doctor or psychologist through telehealth and mental health apps. These tools and resources are worth a try because they can make reaching out for help less intimidating and more convenient.
Be proactive about financial peace of mind
Finances — and worrying about them — could be keeping men from going to the doctor. In fact, men who worry about finances are more likely to experience a behavioral or mental health concern, 78% compared to 56% who are not that worried or not worried at all. Additionally, roughly two out of five men (38%) postponed or avoided going to a doctor or filling a prescription because of the costs.
Even with health insurance, there are out-of-pocket costs that many people aren’t able to pay. Simple ways men and their families can help give themselves the gift of financial peace of mind include:
- Supplemental insurance can help take care of expenses health insurance doesn’t cover. Insured individuals can use their benefits to help with medical co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions or everyday living expenses like rent, utilities or child care.
- Financial planning resources and tools help provide a framework for making the most of your finances and preparing for the future.
- Telehealth resources can help remove the barrier of seeing a doctor or therapist in person, making it easier for men to seek the health care they need when they need it.
Make this Father’s Day and every day about health and wellness. When the men in our lives are healthy, they’re likely to be happier, more engaged and productive. This Father’s Day, make the men in your life feel valued by giving them the support they need to take care of their health. Find out more about the Aflac Men’s Health Survey at aflac.com/menshealth.
Content within this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting or medical advice regarding any specific situation.
The 2022 Aflac Men’s Health Issues Survey is a national online survey of 1,001 U.S. men ages 18-65, fielded in May 2022 by Kantar Profiles.
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