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More Evidence on Obesity’s Cost

By September 29, 2009November 2nd, 2009Commentary

Obesity is constantly described as a national epidemic; one that plays a substantial role in rapidly increasing health care costs.  Now the National Council on Compensation Insurance has released a report on the role of obesity in workers’ compensation claims.(NCCI Report) The NCCI report found that in the year after a claim, those from obese workers had 2.8 times higher medical costs than those from non-obese employees.  The difference rose to 4.5 times higher after three years and 5.3 times higher after five years.

The NCCI work references an earlier study at Duke University which found that medical costs were seven times greater for overweight staff and that indemnity payments were eleven times higher.  NCCI reported that use of utilization and bill review reduced the gap in claim cost between the two groups.  Bearing so much of the blame for rising medical and workers’ compensation costs is probably causing some additional mental health service usage among the obese.

It is clear that vendors who can offer effective weight management programs to employers have a variety of potential paybacks to cite–lower group health costs, fewer sick days, more productivity and now fewer and less expensive workers’ compensation claims.

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