E to E...by Employers for Employers E to E provides information from a business perspective that will educate regional employers about significant healthcare issues to help them make decisions benefiting their organizations and employees.

 Sponsored by Northern Illinois Health Plan

October 2008 Issue


Eye opening information on vision and dental care

Did you know?
Mental Health Parity Act passes as part of bailout

Quick Poll – Review

October Quick Poll – Vote

Further Reading

Contact Information


Pink Ribbon
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month…a good time to remind employees to take advantage of annual mammograms that may be included in their benefits package.


Oral and vision health have long been considered contributors to overall wellness, but their powerful connection to vigor and productivity are sometimes underestimated. That may be about to change.

For example, recent studies show jaw-dropping relationships between periodontal disease and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They also indicate a relationship between oral health and poor pregnancy outcomes associated with premature births. Consider this: in a study conducted by the Journal of the American Dental Association, 24 out of 28 women who delivered at less than 32 weeks gestation had periodontal disease. Further analysis suggests that simple dental treatment can help reduce pre-term and low birth weight babies, helping improve outcomes and decrease costs.

Seeing the light

Encouraging and providing insurance coverage for visits to the dentist is only part of the solution. According to the Vision Council of America, vision problems are the second most prevalent health problem in the country, affecting more than 120 million people — many of them in your workforce, no doubt. The study also shows that vision problems cost U.S. businesses an estimated $8 billion each year in lost productivity, exacerbated by the increased use of computers on the job. Proper preventive treatment can salvage some of this downtime, reduce long-term benefits expense, and improve life quality. In fact, eye care professionals estimate that proper detection and treatment can help diagnose non-ocular illnesses like hypertension, minimize serious eye maladies like glaucoma, and even prevent blindness approximately 50% of the time.

In the benefits realm, oral and vision insurance are sometimes seen as add-ons, even "extras." Though these concerns often take second seat to other medical conditions and proactive wellness initiatives, preventive care in these areas can be a lifesaver—and a cost saver, too.


Tucked quietly inside the recent economic "bailout," the Mental Health Parity Act passed and was signed into law. Complete details of each bill can be obtained at House of Representatives H.R.1424, and US Senate S.558.

Clearly, mental health issues influence workforce productivity, absenteeism, and healthcare claims, making it an important concern for all employers. More about the issue of mental health in the January 2009 issue of E to E.

A Quick Review of Last Issue's "Quick Poll"

In the July 2008 issue of E to E we asked readers, "Do you think it’s reasonable for states to require businesses to provide wellness programs?" Specific survey results are noted in the chart, below.

October Quick-Poll Summary

October Quick Poll – Vote

Were you aware of the connection between oral/vision health and overall health and productivity?
(Click a response to vote. Answers are strictly anonymous.)

Then, visit the NIHP website to view this issue's quick poll results.

Further Reading

American Eye-Q® Survey Indicates Strong Need to Educate Consumers About Eye Health

American Optometric Association, October 9, 2008.
Most Americans are unaware that comprehensive eye exams can detect more than vision problems, according to a new survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA). Many respondents did not know that an optometrist can detect diabetes, hypertension, brain tumors, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and multiple sclerosis.
Oral Health: A Window to Your Overall Health

Mayo Clinic, February 7, 2007.
Oral health and overall health are more connected than you might realize. In fact, oral health is connected to many other health conditions, such as infections and gum disease. Gum disease can let bacteria enter the body and wreak havoc in other parts of the body.
Why is Oral Health Important for Women?

Oral Health Resources, March 30, 2007.
The different stages of a woman’s life can affect her oral health. These changes over time can be related to hormone levels. Women are also more likely to be diagnosed with TMJ, myofascial pain, eating disorders and Sjögren's syndrome (which causes dry mouth).
Health Vision Month

CDC Features, May 26, 2008.
Vision impairments can cause significant suffering, disability, loss of productivity and diminished quality of life for millions of people. In addition, many disorders including diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases can be detected through regular check ups.

For more information contact us at:
(800) 723-0202 or NIHPCustomerService@nihp.com

Northern Illinois Health Plan

1006 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, IL 61032

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