With Health Care Reform changes imminent and exchanges opening in many states in October, most businesses are busy reassessing their healthcare situation. A major factor in that re-evaluation will be your employee health risk. Alongside risks of injury and accident, other health risks come from an employee’s lifestyle. While these risks can’t be managed in the same way as accident risks, it is important to understand your exposure. And to consider methods to mitigate the risk of a claim.
The most obvious lifestyle choice that causes a health risk is smoking. We all know the risks associated with smoking and yet the number of smokers in the country is still estimated at more than a fifth of the adult population. Meaning 1 in 5 of your employees is likely to smoke, and is 2 to 4 times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease or stroke and 13 times more likely to contract chronic obstructive lung disease. That’s reason alone to consider ‘quit smoking’ initiatives for your wellness program. And we never even mentioned cancer.
According to recent statistics, 154.7 million American adults are obese. Meaning increased risk of heart disease and greater exposure to the other risks mentioned below. Obesity was labeled a ‘disease’ last month and may become the biggest health issue in the country. Again, a well-managed wellness program that includes incentives for healthy eating and exercise can help to reduce your employee health risk and reduce obesity in your workforce.
While obesity can cause high blood pressure, you don’t have to be obese to have it. In fact, as many as 1 in 3 US adults may suffer from hypertension according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension was listed as the primary cause of death on 61,762 American death certificates in 2009. It is a real danger to your employees’ health. Information and incentives that encourage good eating, exercise and a reduction in sodium and alcohol intake can assist in reducing your employee health risk in this area.
The American Heart Foundation says that 98.6 million American adults have high blood cholesterol. While there is a distinction made between LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and HDL (Good) Cholesterol, the numbers still suggest a huge number of Americans at risk of health issues arising from high blood cholesterol. Yet another reason to encourage healthy lifestyle choices among your employees.
This list barely scratches the surface of the potential employee health risksthat exist within every business. Now more than ever, it’s important that business owners understand their risks and look for ways to reduce them. A good place to start is by providing information on health risks and helping employees make healthy life choices.
Curious about employee health risks and how they impact your company? Click here to ask an insurance expert any questions that you may have.