Jim’s Take

How Diabetes is Ravaging Your Employees and Hurting Your Bottom Line

America is suffering an explosion of diabetes, and it’s costing your company money. Lots and lots of money.

How prevalent is diabetes? Well, according to the American Diabetes Association, it affects just under 9% of the American population. That’s a 26% increase in ten years.

Sound like an epidemic to you??

What does it mean for your firm? Here’s the math:

Item Number (Millions)
US Population, 2010 308.7
Estimated Population, 2019 335.7
Estimated Working Age Adults 186.3
Adults with Diabetes, total 30.0
Less: Over Age 65 with Diabetes -11.7
Working Age with Diabetes 18.3
Percent of Working Age with Diabetes 9.8%
Cost of Diabetes Treatment $327,000.0
Cost per Diagnosed Patient $10,900/year

Most of those with diabetes are adults. If we subtract out those who are under age 24 and those who are over age 65 working age (and probably not on your plan), there are 186.3 million working age adults.

Of those, 18.3 million have diabetes, 9.8% of the working age adults. The impact varies from company to company because of age mix and number of spouses covered on the plan, but if you take your employee head count and multiply by 1.4, you’ll get the approximate number of adults on your plan.

Multiply that number by 9.8% and $10,900 and you can get a rough number that diabetes costs your plan. For example, let’s assume you have 50 employees on your plan. That means about 70 adults.

9.8% of that number is about 7 adults (6.9) with diabetes. Multiply that by $10,900 each for medical costs, and voila! you have spent $76,300 for medical care for your 7 diabetics.

But those claim dollars flow through your insurer, so add in their markup for administration of your plan, and your premium costs are about $91,500.

Your total premium for a 50-employee health plan is probably about $650,000, so diabetes takes 14.1% of every dollar you spend.

What’s more, about 30% of that treatment is wasted. Overtreatment. Errors. Fraud. That’s true of every kind of care, and 30% of $91,500 total cost means about $28,000 that you might as well shred for all the value you receive.

Yes, but What Can You Actually DO?

Many BBI clients have elected to dramatically improve the care that their most needy employees and dependents receive. One of the vendors we work with gives your employees – at no cost to them, free – access to the top 1% of specialists in the world.

Those employers profit from lower cost because the care their people receive avoids the waste attributable to misdiagnosis (20% of serious conditions are misdiagnosed, and 63% have treatment modified when a second opinion is sought), to overtreatment and to less lost time and inefficiencies caused by absenteeism or presenteeism.

More important, employees receive better care, recover more quickly, suffer fewer side effects and complications. In other words, they have a more effective, more comfortable treatment experience.

How much does this top end access cost?

It’s surprisingly affordable. At a cost of about $2/month for each single and $4/month for multi-person family units (that’s only $140/month for the group in this example – only 0.2% of the total cost of their plan), employers can offer this superb, employee-friendly support to their employees.

If you’re fully insured, however, you are unable to directly recoup this cost. Certainly because groups >50 on the plan are experience rated, you, as a fully insured employer would have a lower level of claims than you would in the absence of this program. But it’s impossible to measure what those savings really are.

On the other hand, if you were willing to share risk with an insurer you’d know that you – and only you – would benefit from never having to pay for all the waste, overtreatment and errors that would otherwise occur.

Can your firm apply this program?

Drop an email to mhollister@bbibenefits.com and let’s find out together!

National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month. This year’s focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes. This is because over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.

How to Manage Diabetes:

  • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
  • Manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits – be physically active and learn ways to manage stress.
  • Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

How MORE Health Can Help:

  • MORE Health’s platform provides employees access to the world’s leading specialists at top medical institutions for second opinions.
  • Our second opinion service ensures your employees benefit from the latest and most effective diagnostic and treatment approaches.
  • We also decrease the cost of healthcare to the business, by minimizing unnecessary overtreatment and by reducing waste due to the treatment of misdiagnosed conditions.

Did You Know?

  • Diabetes affects about 30.3 million Americans or about 9.4% of the U.S. population.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 adults living with diabetes, or 7.2 million Americans, are unaware that they have the disease.
  • Another 84 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
  • 9 out of 10 adults with prediabetes don’t know they have it.