Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sobering Statistics: We Face a Wellness Crisis

Let’s face it.  Certain health conditions happen with every company, no matter how big or how small your organization is.  There is little that can be done to prevent a Premature Baby or a hereditary bone disorder, but many of the large claims that we see are preventable.

Let’s explore some of the staggering statistics on just two of the major contributors of health insurance claims – Obesity and Smoking:

  • More than half of all Americans live with one or more chronic condition.
  • Most adults will be overweight or obese by 2030, costing $950+ billion.
  • Productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost US Employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually.
  • This loss in productivity represents roughly 20% of the payroll.

  • Obese workers files twice as many workers compensation claims as non-obese employees.
  • Obese employees had seven times the medical costs for these claims, averaging $51,019 per 100 workers compared to $7,504 per 100 workers for people with normal BMI.
  • Obese employees lost 13 times as many days per 100 workers compared to 14 days per 100 workers for people with normal BMI.

  • Businesses pay an average of $2,189 in workers compensation costs for smokers, compared to $176 for nonsmokers.
  • Each employee who smokes costs employers $1,897 in lost productivity each year.
  • On average, smokers miss 6.16 days of work per year due to sickness (including smoking related acute and chronic conditions), compared to nonsmokers, who miss 3.86 days of work per year.
  • Employees who take four 10-minute smoking breaks per day actually work one month less per year than workers who don’t take smoking breaks.
  • Construction and maintenance costs are 7% higher in buildings that allow smoking than in buildings that are smoke-free.

As you can see, not only are the bottom-line health insurance costs increase dramatically, but ancillary effects are felt as well.  Workers Compensation costs, lost productivity and absenteeism all affect the bottom line.
The good news is that these are two of the easiest “problems” to fix.

More on Wellness strategies in future blog entries.

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