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Chronic Conditions and Containing Costs in the Workplace

chronic conditions and containing costs in the workplace

2.5 minute read

Chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity can be a significant source of financial pain for employers. According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, employer health care coverage for an employee with a chronic condition is, on average, five times higher than coverage for those without a chronic disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease—and 4 in 10 adults have two or more conditions. Furthermore, chronic diseases are the leading drivers of the nation’s $4.1 trillion in annual health care costs.

Individuals with or at risk for chronic conditions should receive treatment or preventative services to ensure that they are practicing a healthy lifestyle. Employers are uniquely positioned to help combat chronic conditions, which could, in turn, reduce their health care costs and yield a healthier workforce. Employers can consider the following strategies:

  • Focus on prevention. Many chronic conditions are preventable. Employers can help make preventative care affordable through medical benefits and encourage the use of such critical care.
  • Make it personal. Caring for chronic conditions can be time-consuming, complex, and inconvenient. Employers should find programs that offer targeted messages and support to provide employees with engagement and motivation to make healthy choices. Wellness coaches, health screenings, or assessments can help personalize the journey.
  • Find programs that address the common causes of chronic conditions. The top causes of chronic conditions include lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, and tobacco usage. Employers may consider offering programs that encourage smoking cessation or exercise. Fitness apps and wearing devices can also help encourage employees to make lifestyle changes.
  • Be accommodating. Employers may consider offering arrangements such as alternative worksites or flexible work options to help make chronic care management and treatment more accessible. Employees are most likely to remain productive and engaged at work if they can stay on schedule with their appointments, medications, and treatments.

Employers have an opportunity to influence and encourage employees to successfully manage their chronic conditions and develop healthy lifestyle habits. A healthy workforce will benefit an organization’s productivity.

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National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.

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Ken Zastrow

Ken Zastrow

Ken Zastrow enjoys establishing a strong rapport with his clients. He believes that education is key in helping them understand their benefit plans. Ken has a strong background in both active and post-employment benefit strategies. As Employee Benefits Consultant at National Insurance Services, Ken is responsible for the overall assessment and management of all an employer’s benefit plans including claim reconciliation, policy changes, renewals, and medical and dental analytics. He is also well versed in compliance, benefit integration, and early retiree benefits. Ken is a licensed health and life insurance agent, working with schools, cities, and counties in the Midwest Region.