Health Care Costs Continue to Rise
Why should worksites be the platform for improving individual health? Why should employers incent employees for taking better care of their health?
More than 60 percent of American adults spend nearly half of their waking hours on the job and in excess of 61 percent receive their health insurance through their employers. In fact, the typical American now works about 47 hours per week and technologies such as laptops and smart phones have blurred the work-life boundary. These realities cut down on the amount of time that the average individual is able to devote to health and wellness pursuits and yet employees are expected to be at top performance when at work.
After several years of relatively modest premium increases, annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased 9 percent from 2010 to 2011. On average, workers pay $4,129 and employers pay $10,944 toward those annual premiums.
Health care costs continue to increase. The main contributions to rising costs are preventable diseases.
- Each year in the United States, chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes cause 7 in 10 deaths and account for about 75 percent of the $2 trillion spent on medical care
- In 2009, the economic costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke were estimated at $475.3 billion, including $313.8 billion in direct medical expenses and $161.5 billion in indirect costs ($39.1 billion in lost productivity due to sickness or disability and $122.4 billion in lost productivity due to premature death)
- In 2007, medical costs attributed to diabetes included $27 billion for care to directly treat diabetes, $58 billion to treat diabetes-related chronic complications attributable to diabetes, and $31 billion in excess general medical costs
- In 2008, the estimated health care costs related to obesity were $147 billion