UBP blog

07/30/2009

Two small steps to cure the big $194 billion price tag of type 2 diabetes

Filed under: Wellness — ubpblogger @ 4:35 pm
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As early as 2007, here’s how much it cost to care for all Americans with type 2 diabetes:

• $116 billion in Direct Costs (i.e. their medical care)

• Approximately $58 billion in Indirect Costs (i.e. disability benefits, money lost through work absences, premature death)

This all adds up to a grand total of $194 billon, or 10% of all healthcare dollars spent in the United States.

Let’s take a look at this issue on an individual level. The medical care for a person with diabetes is twice as expensive as the care for a person without diabetes.

On top of this, 16% of Americans with serious health problems have delayed necessary medical treatments (according to the Kaiser Family Foundation). So, if diabetics are a big part of this 16%, by delaying treatment now they will become more expensive to treat in the future; this is because they will develop major complications if they cut back on disease management efforts.

At a very modest cost, employers can reap substantial long-term cost savings, just by doing a couple of things:

1. Blood pressure monitoring

Blood pressure monitoring is a great preventative measure to help both employees at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and those who have the disease as well.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research has shown that blood pressure control can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with type 2 diabetes 33-50% and lower the risk of eye, kidney and nerve diseases by approximately 33%. Lowering blood pressure also reduces diabetics’ decline in kidney functioning 30-70%.

One value-added service Universal Benefit Plans offers to many clients that could help achieve the above risk reductions is free health screenings. Each year, we have a registered nurse come in and check the blood pressure of all employees among other things.

Would it be helpful if your broker offered free health screenings to your employees as a value-added service?

2. Lifestyle interventions

Lifestyle interventions such as having employees work with fitness trainers and nutrition educators, can reduce diabetes development in high-risk adults by 58% (and an alarming 71% for high-risk adults ages 60 and up).

Reduced diabetes development in high-risk adults is just one of the many things that adding wellness benefits for everyone at your company can accomplish for your employees’ overall health.

As early as 2007 the SHRM’s Benefits Survey Report found that 68% of companies offer wellness benefits. Is your company one of them?

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