The article below was published on September 13, 2017 by Employee Benefit News, written by Nick Otto.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, more employers are looking at ways to target those costs. One step they are taking is looking at what health conditions are hitting their pocketbooks the hardest.
“About half of employers use disease management programs to help manage the costs of these very expensive chronic conditions,” says Julie Stich, associate vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans. “In addition, about three in five employers use health screenings and health risk assessments to help employees identify and monitor these conditions so that they can be managed more effectively. Early identification helps the employer and the employee.”
What conditions are costly for employers to cover? In IFEPB’s Workplace Wellness Trends 2017 Survey, more than 500 employers were asked to select the top three conditions impacting plan costs. The following 10 topped the list.
10. High-risk pregnancy – Although high-risk pregnancies have seen a dip of 1% since 2015, they still bottom out the list in 2017; 5.6% of employers report these costs are a leading cost concern for health plans.
9. Smoking – Smoking has remained a consistent concern of employers over the last several years; 8.6% of employers report smoking has a significant impact on health plans.
8. High cholesterol – While high cholesterol still has a major impact on health costs – 11.6% say it’s a top cause of rising healthcare costs – that number is significantly lower from where it was in 2015 (19.3%).
7. Depression/mental illness – For 13.9% of employers, mental health has a big influence on healthcare costs. This is down from 22.8% in 2015.
6. Hypertension/high blood pressure – This is the first condition in IFEBP’s report to have dropped a ranking in the last two years. In 2015, hypertension/high blood pressure ranked 5th with 28.9% of employers reporting it is a high cost condition. In 2017, the condition dropped to 6th with 27.6% of employers noting high costs associated with the disease.
5. Heart Disease – This year’s study found that 28.4% of employers reported high costs associated with heart disease. In 2015, heart disease was the second highest cost driver with 37.1% of employers citing high costs from the disease.
4. Arthritis/back/musculoskeletal – Nearly three in 10 employers (28.9%) say these conditions are drivers of their health plan costs, compared to 34.5% in 2015.
3. Obesity – Obesity is still a top concern for employers, but slightly less so than it was two years ago. In 2017, 29% of employers found obesity to be a burden on health plans. In 2015, 32.4% cited obesity as a major cost driver.
2. Cancer (all kinds) – Cancer has become more expensive for employers. Now, 35.4% of employers report cancer increasing the costs of health plans, compared to 32% in 2015.
1. Diabetes – The king of rising health costs, diabetes has topped the list both in 2015 and 2017. In the most recent report, 44.3% of employers say diabetes is among the conditions impacting plan costs.
If you or your client is struggling with trying to manage the costs of expensive chronic conditions, our wellness consulting and services company, CF&H, has the guidance and support to help. With over 30 years of experience, Corporate Fitness & Health helps businesses and agencies identify the risks that drive healthcare costs and implement a wellness program that can improve employee health and productivity.
Healthcare costs continue to rise. Let Corporate Fitness & Health ensure you’re taking every cost control measure possible.