Hidden Diseases That Could Be Raising Employer Insurance Costs

Posted December 15, 2017 by Mary McGinley

There is no question that health insurance and health insurance premiums are of a concern to everyone.   In an effort to help reduce costs across the board, companies have put many wellness initiatives in place in an effort to help their employees get a better handle on their health. Many of these company-sponsored wellness programs have had a great deal of success.  There are some diseases, however, that employers are less aware of but should be on their radar in order to help keep their employees well and healthcare costs down for everyone within their organizations.

In a recent article which appeared on the Employee Benefit Advisor website, Dr. Barbara Rutkowski, Vice President of Clinical Operations at Advanced Plan for Health, focused on diseases that employers should be aware of that can significantly affect healthcare costs for them and their workers. One of those diseases is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disease. According to Dr. Rutkowski, this disease is on the increase especially among the younger generations and may have an impact on as much as 25% of the American population.

The reason for this?  NAFLD and other liver diseases are the largest cause for patients requiring liver transplants.  The average cost for a liver replacement is a whopping $330,000 with insurance usually only covering just over $100,000 of that cost.  This does not even take into consideration potential complications after surgery which can rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars more, nor does it cover the cost of post-surgery medications which can cost as much as $3,000 every month.   All of these costs can significantly raise costs of health benefits that employers provide to their workers. With the recent hikes in healthcare premiums, the cost of diseases such as NAFLD is likely to go even higher.

In spite of the seriousness of this issue, few people are even aware of it. This lack of awareness leaves those patients who are diagnosed with the disease unsure as to how to deal with this potentially life-threatening condition.  As with most diseases such as many forms of cancer, high blood pressure or a heart condition, early detection and intervention are key in order to slow the progress of the disease or to prevent it from manifesting into a problem that needs to be addressed through difficult and expensive medical treatments which might include a liver transplant.

How can Companies Help?

The greatest part of prevention is raising awareness about the problem. Employers can help educate their workers about the risks of NAFLD and also raise awareness about measures that can be taken in order to reduce their risk. For workers who already suffer from Type 2 diabetes, those who are considered obese, have poor eating habits and those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle, the risk is greater. Work-sponsored wellness programs or working with a personal health care professional to help manage, and can greatly reduce the risk of workers developing NAFLD.  Such measures can also help individuals to maintain their health and help keep healthcare costs down.  That can mean significant healthcare savings for both employers and their workers.

At EinsteinHR, we have fully trained health and safety experts who can help you put together a wellness and safety program that will work for your organization and your precious human capital. Preventing illness and injury means fewer injuries and sick days, which means lower health care costs.

Call us today to speak with one of our experts and to get a quote. You can contact us at (770) 766-9721.