Employers are going to begin being asked to pay for childhood obesity treatment. And it may be in their best interest to do so.
The two largest health care costs for employers are employees who are “heavy users” (interestingly, the same term is used in the fast food industry for diners who eat-in 14x/week or more)…and kids.
One-third of large employers’ beneficiaries are dependents under age 25. Kids and teens are responsible for 14.7% of a typical large employer’s health care costs.
Obese kids have twice as many MD visits and 3x the hospitalization rate as normal weight kids. That’s where the dollars are.
The National Business Group on Health has a Toolkit which highlights case studies, covers benefit plan construction, identifies employee education opportunities, suggests how to make the most of on-site facilities and looks at bang-for-the-buck philanthropic opportunities.
The Institute on Innovation in Workforce Well-being, a coalition of Fortune 1000 employers (Gen Mills, Amex, Cardinal Health, Coca-Cola, Costco, Dell, Express Scripts, Fidelity Investments, Honeywell, IBM, J&J Ethicon, Kellogg, Kraft, Medtronic, Microsoft, among others) and representatives from Weight Watchers, the CDC, HHS and United Health, underwrote the Toolkit.
There are many routes to success in this area.
I hope one of the routes is showing how helping kids learn to cook with their parents improves employee productivity and lowers health care utilization…of the entire family.
I’m working on a Santa Barbara Foodbank program–a reality TV pilot (sort of a Dr Oz meets Jamie Oliver in the Foodbank and at home)– to do just that, later next year.
Access the toolkit free.