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Obesity is Impacting your Workers Compensation Premiums

The percentage of the US population considered obese rose from 12 percent in 1990 to more than 26 percent in 2007, according Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC further estimates that by the year 2020, 40 percent of men and 43 percent of women will be obese with a total 70 percent of the population overweight.

Workers CompensationThese are scary numbers when you consider the affect obesity has on the human body and mind.  The increased risk of mental (including low self-esteem, depression) and physical (including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome) ailments associated with obesity can have catatrophic affect on a workforce.

According to the National Council of Compensation Insurance, claims involving obesity have “markedly higher” indemnity and medical costs.

This passage taken from the Insurance Journal outlines results from a 2007 study done by Duke University Medical Center,which “observed ‘dramatic’ workers’ compensation-related differences between people with normal weight or body mass index (BMI)– a calculation that assesses weight relative to height– and those in the obesity BMI range:

  • Claims: Morbidly obese workers filed 45 percent more claims than non-obese workers.
  • Lost Workdays:Morbidly obese workers had eight times the number of lost workdays versus workers with BMIs in the normal range.
  • Medical Claim Costs:Morbidly obese workers had 5.4 times the medical costs versus workers with normal BMIs.
  • Indemnity Claim Costs: Morbidly obese workers had nearly eight times more indemnity claims costs than normal sized workers.”

In response to studies of this nature, some health care providers have been proactively finding ways to fight back against obesity.

Capital District Physician’s Health Plan has created a program call Life Points where participants in their health programs get rewards for completing a variety of activities, such as joining a gym, playing in a sports league, attending annual physical exam, and even purchasing healthy foods.

If preliminary results from the NCCI newest study hold true, obese claims are approximately three times more expensive after 12 months and over five times more expensive after 60 months.

This effect obesity will have on the insurance industry and consumers is only starting to be felt.  With no end in sight to the ever increasing number of obese Americans, the insurance industry must take a hard look at its affect to prepare for the long-term ramifications.

What This Means to You

More workers compensation claims and larger workers compensation claims means premiums go up.  Having programs in place to get people back to work as quick as possible means premiums as low as possible.

Thank you,

Ryan H.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposely only. There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered and the author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.

created by Ryan Hanley