Health equity is quickly emerging as a popular topic under the diversity, equity and inclusion umbrella. From the American Medical Association to Harvard Business Review to NAMI, institutions across the country are sounding the alarm on the imbalances that exist within our healthcare system. And the topic is becoming an increasingly popular search term on Google, too:

Interest in the topic of “Health Equity” in Google Search

August 2022 – October 2022

So it’s encouraging to see that curiosity around this important topic has piqued. But unfortunately, there’s still a gap in education and understanding. Our recent research shows a lot of confusion about what “health equity” actually means, and how it applies to our HR and benefits strategies. 

of HR pros have not heard the term “health equity” before

2 in 5

HR pros say they understand the term “health equity”

of HR pros say they don’t understand the term “health equity” at all

While some HR pros are experts, others are still learning. When asked for a definition of health equity, responses varied widely across the board:

“How would you define health equity? (Give your best guess.)”

“Giving everyone the opportunity to have access to healthcare”
“Putting money in an account for medical.”
“Attain your full health potential”
“I’m not sure”/ “I have no idea”
“Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full healthy potential”
“The value of your health”
“Everyone has fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health”
“Prepaid health coverage”

It’s good to see that some of us are ahead of the curve. But these trends show that we could all benefit from more education around this topic. If you’re new to health equity, it’s okay. We’re all learning together, so let’s level-set with a definition from the experts. 

What is health equity?

Health equity means increasing opportunities for all of our employees to live their healthiest lives, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they make.

SHRM adds that it’s our responsibility as employers to make that vision a reality, guaranteeing all employees have equal access to healthcare (beyond taking care of basic needs). But are companies taking that responsibility seriously and doing the real work yet, or are they still in the dark? Let’s find out. 

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