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Diabetes Is Costing Employers Billions: HR Teams Can Save The Day

Diabetes costs the American healthcare system $237 billion every year. American businesses lose out when it comes to productivity: the cost of that is estimated to add another $90 billion to the diabetes bill. In the current tough economy, few businesses can afford this burden. Help is available from simple, digital solutions.

The Cost Of Diabetes For Employers

American companies providing healthcare to their employees have had to deal with increased premiums yearly for several years. For 2021, a survey of large U.S. employers conducted by the Business Group on Health (BGH) predicted an increase of just over 5%. Despite some uncertainty relating to the costs added by COVID-19, BGH members expect the growth to be slightly higher than it has been recently.

Industry experts estimate the cost per employee will exceed $15,500 in 2021, with large employers expecting to cover $10,850 and employees paying the rest. Diabetes is among the top five most costly conditions.

Of course, employers could choose to ask their team to shoulder a more significant part of the cost. However, they would still face the costs associated with unplanned absences, estimated to reach $20 billion per year. The good news is that type 2 diabetes is preventable. Employers have several cost-effective options to help their workforce become a truly healthy place to work.

Prevention Is Key

Diabetes is a chronic illness that currently affects approximately one in ten Americans. There are two types, with type 2 diabetes affecting the vast majority of people living with diabetes.

While type 1 diabetes has genetic causes and generally develops quickly during childhood or early adulthood, type 2 can take years to build. It is closely related to unhealthy diets and lifestyles. In both types, the hormone insulin does not break down sugars from the person’s food efficiently, leaving them with high blood sugar levels.

The good news about type 2 diabetes is that it is preventable, and there are simple, cost-effective steps employers can take to support their employees. Because of the illness’ relatively slow development, most type 2 diabetics develop a condition called prediabetes first. Medical experts estimate that one in three Americans is prediabetic. At this stage, blood sugar levels are higher than average but not yet high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes is reversible with the help of simple lifestyle changes. Implementing them in the workplace will help employers save money in healthcare costs and beyond.

What Employers Can Do Right Now

Preventing prediabetes from becoming diabetes requires changing a person’s diet and lifestyle.

Awareness is the first step in this process, and digital platforms like the diabetes screening platform from TrueCare™ help organizations team health and reduce healthcare costs.

HR professionals and employers have access to a simple way of screening their teams for prediabetes or diabetes risk.

The risks identified at the early stage can stop prediabetes from progressing. In some cases, an employee’s blood sugar levels returning to a normal range.

Diabetes prevention starts with a free, no-cost assessment. Factors like your team’s age and ethnicity play into the risk your organization faces, but they are only at the start of the process.

Based on this basic risk assessment, your business receives customized recommendations. We also arrange consults with members of our clinical team.

How To Create a Healthy Team

Helping your team prevent diabetes, halt the progress of prediabetes, and even reverse it is easier if the whole organization buys into the changes.

Creating a healthy company culture starts with communication. Helping employees understand that their choice of a chocolate bar over a piece of fruit in the vending machine directly impacts their healthcare cost can be part of your company’s strategy. Making healthier choices more readily available and financially attractive also works.

As an HR professional, you may find that many of your employees are interested in leading a healthier lifestyle but haven’t had easy access to information. Health and wellness platforms can fill this gap at excellent value to the business.

Digital Healthcare Is Gaining Momentum

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, digital services across all industries have grown in popularity. Healthcare is no exception. More than 50% of large employers questioned by the BGH said they were planning to offer more virtual care or telehealth services, making this the most frequently mentioned priority for 2021 healthcare.

The overall attitude to healthcare is also changing among larger employers, with 45% considering their healthcare strategy “as an integral part of their workforce strategy.”

Using digital platforms for diabetes prevention is not something reserved for large employers. Technology makes it easy for smaller companies to offer their teams the same level of diabetes prevention and assistance with lifestyle changes larger organizations can offer.

Companies of any size benefit from lowering their healthcare cost and having healthy employees. Diabetes screening is a great place to start building a healthier company culture.

Screen your people for diabetes and their risk for developing pre-diabetes. Get individualized recommendations to improve their health and learn about healthcare cost savings for your business.

 

About TrueCare™ 

TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.

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