What does wellness look like? Is it a busy executive trying to lower his or her cholesterol and shed a few pounds? A working mom joining a gym to keep up with her active lifestyle? In our industry, wellness used to be viewed as a luxury item reserved for people with the time and money to spend on their health. In fact, it is true that wellness benefits and programs are often reserved for individuals with major medical coverage — full-time, salaried employees with a full range of benefits.

But what about the working uninsured, those who don't have access to comprehensive coverage through their employer or spouse? They are often hourly or part-time employees struggling to pay for the rising costs of gas and groceries — without the benefit of basic medical care. The working uninsured have more stress related to financial and family issues and have more risk of developing chronic health conditions. And yet this population is the least likely to have access to preventive measures that will keep them well, out of the hospital, and on the job.

The working uninsured also typically lack an ongoing relationship with a primary care doctor, resorting to urgent care clinics or emergency rooms, even for non-emergency care. This leads to an inconsistent approach to both medical care and documentation in medical records. And even if they want to take an active role in wellness, these individuals face financial hardships that can make buying healthy foods or joining fitness clubs and weight loss programs difficult at best.

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