In an ever-evolving world where employers grapple with many challenges, one constant continues to remain a priority: healthcare. The 2022-2023 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) State of the Workplace study underscores how now, more than ever, employers are deeply concerned about providing good healthcare coverage.
Meanwhile, here is the astonishing reality: chronic conditions are sweeping across the nation at an alarming rate. In fact, Six in 10 U.S. adults have at least one chronic condition. More than one quarter of U.S. adults have multiple chronic – or “polychronic” – conditions. And chronic conditions account for 90% of the country’s $4.1 trillion annual health care expenditure.
This leads employers to a new challenge: providing health benefits that support early detection. The sooner individuals know they have a chronic condition, the sooner they can get care. This proactive intervention can help effectively reduce long-term medical and pharmacy costs. From the employer’s perspective, encouraging early detection is key to maintaining the bottom line.
To understand how widespread chronic conditions have become, consider the emergence of cardiodiabesity. It’s the interrelationship between cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
This latest health crisis follows rising rates of all three conditions. The U.S. cardiovascular disease death rate, previously in decline, surged after the onset of COVID-19. U.S. adult diabetes and obesity rates had climbed steadily in the decades leading up to the pandemic.
As these conditions become more common, more people will contend with cardiodiabesity. And more employers will have to manage the impact.
Promoting early detection for cardiodiabesity
Left unmanaged, cardiodiabesity can lead to poor health outcomes, including premature disability or death. The Evernorth Research Institute found that 32% of individuals at high risk of developing cardio diabesity did not have an A1C screening, and more than 25% did not have lipid screening. Short of these results, it can slow productivity and cause missed workdays. It can also raise the cost of care, including pharmacy, medical, and overall plan costs.
But individuals can avoid these consequences through early detection. Employers can help them – and lessen their financial burden – by offering the right health benefits. With data-driven, holistic health benefits, employers can help promote the early detection and management of cardiodiabesity conditions.
The solution should draw on data to identify not only current health needs, but also emerging ones. Through advanced analytics, it can give insights on future trends to inform prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
For employers, the solution can shed light on the health needs of the workforce. Features such as data visualization can help them make decisions. For example, these insights could help support new clinical care support, identify gaps in care for different population segments, or point to additional available solutions.
A better pharmacy benefit can also help attract and keep employees. As the SHRM State of the Workplace study noted, employees value good health care coverage. Organizations often highlight this benefit, along with competitive pay, to prospective candidates.
With complex, chronic conditions on the rise, cardiodiabesity is shaping up to be a major epidemic. Employers should prepare for the impact on business. While delayed detection can detract from the bottom line, a proactive approach can help.
When individuals receive a diagnosis before their condition is too far progressed, they are in a better position to manage their condition, improve their outcomes, and boost their quality of life. They can be healthier and more productive – and employers can rest easier as a result.