Today’s workforce is spending more time at work than ever before. The hours are longer, which contributes to lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and overall decline in health and wellbeing. Many advisors agree it has been a challenge to get small businesses to take any initiative in developing wellness programs for their employees. But with instances of chronic, preventable diseases like diabetes increasing by more than 41 percent over the past five years, burdening our nation with an estimated $245 billion in expenses, brokers have an obligation to help insurance companies curtail our nation’s spending on this epidemic. This is especially true given that 34 percent of that $245 billion is currently being managed by private insurance companies.
For the past few years, I have worked closely with insurance companies by promoting their on-site wellness screenings. This provides employees with specific tests that can detect the early stages of diabetes. Recently, a client of mine hosted an on-site, employee wellness fair. This included health screenings testing employees’ glucose, and A1C readings. Out of the 45 employees who participated in this screening, three were diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
So, how much impact will these three affected employees have on the overall healthcare spending of their company?
Studies show that an employee with diabetes will have healthcare costs averaging $13,243.00 annually, while an employee without diabetes will have healthcare costs of about $2,560.00 annually. This deviation of expenditure should provide plenty of incentive for any company to explore alternative lifestyle management programs that focus resources on affected employees.