From the report:
"The number of companies taking action to combat the chronic health conditions of employees and their families jumped almost 30 percentage points over the past year, as organizations attempt to balance rapidly rising U.S. health care costs with a growing population of unhealthy Americans, according to a recently released survey by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company.Here's the fix.
The number of Americans with chronic illnesses — and the health costs associated with treating these conditions — continues to grow at alarming rates. According to a recently published report by the Milken Institute, the total cost spent on managing chronic health diseases in the U.S. is estimated to be $1.3 trillion annually, with $1.1 trillion spent in lost productivity and another $277 billion on treatment. For diabetes alone, Hewitt estimates that a typical employer with 9,500 employees and 500 pre-65 retirees spends $18 to $22 million on direct medical care for its diabetic population.
To mitigate these costs and improve the declining health of their workforces, Hewitt's survey of 343 large U.S. employers found that almost two-thirds (65 percent) continue to make significant investments in improving the health and productivity of their workforce...
While an increasing number of employers are targeting specific conditions among their member population, Hewitt research shows only a small percentage of workers who are eligible to participate in condition management programs actually do so. Even fewer are actually satisfied with the programs' results.
'The long-term success of these initiatives depends heavily on members changing behavior to manage their conditions,' said Jennifer Boehm, a principal in Hewitt's Health Management Consulting practice. 'Many of the root causes of chronic conditions, particularly diabetes, are lifestyle-related, which means they are avoidable. Employers with well-designed condition management programs that encourage healthy people to stay healthy and help at-risk individuals reduce their chances of becoming chronically ill will ultimately see the best returns. Even moderate changes in participant behavior can result in significant annual cost savings and a healthier workforce over time.'"