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Analyzing the Cost of Chronic Diseases and Their Effect on Employers

Chances are you, or someone you know, has a chronic disease. The CDC finds that six in ten adults have a chronic illness in the US, and four in ten have two or more. Most are preventable by engaging in activities such as eating healthier, exercising, and cutting out habits like smoking and drinking. Unfortunately, a 2022 study found that 93 percent of Americans are unhealthy, so the likelihood of people taking these steps to prevent a possible health condition is unlikely. Not only do these diseases cost the individual time and money, they also cost their employers. We’ll discuss the top chronic diseases, how much money employers spend managing them, and an easy solution for both parties.

The top five chronic diseases in the US

As mentioned, chronic diseases are illnesses you most often gain through an unhealthy lifestyle. Chronic diseases are slower to develop and progress over time, not to be confused with acute diseases, which come on rapidly and require urgent or short-term care. Below are five prevalent chronic diseases in the US.

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Diabetes
  4. Hypertension
  5. Arthritis

Another chronic illness that many overlook is mental health. According to a recent Gallup poll, 19 percent of all US workers rate their mental health as fair or poor. Four out of ten workers also said their job has an extremely negative (seven percent) or somewhat negative (33 percent) impact on their mental health. While the conversation about mental health in the workplace is a relatively newer topic, the trend of companies prioritizing employees’ mental health and including health benefits offerings around them is growing.

How much money do employers spend on employees’ chronic diseases?

Employees with chronic conditions like those above can be difficult for companies to manage financially. According to the CDC, 90 percent of the nation’s $4.1 trillion annual healthcare costs are for patients with chronic diseases. Five chronic diseases or risk factors (high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity, and obesity) cost employers in the US $36.4 billion a year due to employee absenteeism.

An Avidon Health report highlighted the cost of unhealthy habits for organizations per employee. Here are some of the key findings pertaining to the above risk factors mentioned:

The study found that the cost impact of the unhealthy habits above equals around $3,600 per employee per year.

As mentioned earlier, mental health also comes into play when discussing employee absenteeism costs for employers. In the US workforce, the workdays missed by employees suffering from one or more mental health issues cost the country $47.6 billion annually.

Seeing a doctor once a year can make a big difference in preventing chronic diseases

A large part of preventing these types of conditions is consulting your doctor. A yearly physical is recommended to check if you are at risk for developing a chronic disease. Conditions such as type 2 diabetes will usually warn you when you’re nearing this diagnosis — as 70 percent of people with prediabetes, a precursor to the illness, are later diagnosed. During your physical, your doctor can test and even diagnose if you have a chronic disease. If you’re nearing a diagnosis, they can set you up with a treatment plan to prevent it.

How Healthcare2U’s Direct Primary Care membership can lower employer costs associated with chronic diseases?

It’s worth noting that affordable and easy-to-use healthcare options result in a stable and happier work environment for employees. The effects increase productivity and save employers money. One solution that offers this type of healthcare is direct primary care (DPC). DPC is a steadily growing solution in the US that utilizes an integrated benefit model to overcome affordability restrictions of modern-day healthcare and to address long-standing accessibility barriers to managing preventative care, chronic conditions, and new health issues in a timely fashion before emergencies arise.

Healthcare2U’s DPC membership focuses on preventing, detecting, and managing 13 prevalent chronic disease states. This unlimited benefit is included in the membership for just $10 a visit. Having these benefits allows members peace of mind and continuity of care.

Healthcare2U helps employers manage the exorbitant cost of chronic disease by offering affordable, quality care and providing tools to prevent them from developing. Members also receive unlimited access to patient advocates that direct them through their benefits. Benefits include unlimited Virtual Primary Care for no out-of-pocket cost, unlimited in-office acute visits for $10 per visit and $25 urgent care visits, an annual physical with four basic labs and generous pharmaceutical discounts. Contact us to learn more about Healthcare2U and how it can help alleviate the costs of chronic illnesses for employers.

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