Obesity: Healthcare Costs on the Rise

Obesity is growing in the US.  This has huge implications for our society and the workers’ compensation industry. Some studies show that medical costs for a workers’ comp injury are eight times greater for an obese person than a person of healthy weight. 

This article and analysis of the workers’ compensation market shows obesity trumping aging as a top influencer on workers’ comp claims. Yet all of these factors are interrelated. For instance, diabetes (Type II) drives higher severity, which is caused by obesity. Aging drives more joint pain and slower recovery, especially when combined with obesity. Opioid usage and addiction are very tightly correlated with obesity and smoking. 

The answer? We must identify these risk factors early on in a claim and help manage the case properly to derive healthy outcomes.  When managing claims, we track and look at top influencers through our analytics and predictive modeling products and our medical management programs. It’s one of the best ways we can take control of healthcare costs.