Based on a study released by Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Ind., we believe more employers will put more pressure on their employees to live healthier lifestyles.
The study found that lifestyles play a greater role in health insurance claims than was previously believed.
To determine the results, graduate students in the university’s business school studied insurance claims and the accompanying health data. The students looked at claims data as well as the blood test results to determine the cost of lifestyle choices. Of course, all data were anonymous.
Biomarkers chosen for the study included blood pressure, body mass, tobacco use and cholesterol levels. The study found that there is a direct correlation between these biomarkers, the indicators of a person’s general health and well-being, and their heath care claims. Not so surprising.
But here’s the news that shocked us: an amazing 87.5 percent of the claims’ costs were attributable to the individual’s lifestyle. The more closely those bio-markers fell into acceptable guidelines, the lower the individual’s health care claims.
The results will have national implications, especially as the developed nations of the world continue to battle rising health care costs and companies ask employees to shoulder more of the burden.
Lately, we have witnessed an increasing number of employers becoming “smoke-free.” Some of the employees of these organizations shared with us their fears that “maintaining a healthy weight” might be next … that they are concerned about the trend toward employers dictating all of an employee’s lifestyle choices.
As we have watched and wondered about the many unhealthy lifestyle choices people make, we can’t help but expect that employers facing huge increases in health care costs will begin to be more forceful with their employees.
This trend will cause more overall churning in the labor marketplace, as employees rebel against this Big Brother movement on the part of employers.
From The Herman Trend Alert, by Joyce Gioia-Herman, strategic business futurist.