MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: OBESITY :
MEDICAL INSURANCE :
State Plans’ Study Finds Higher Cost for Obesity
State plans’ study finds higher cost for obesity
By Andy Davis
A shorter URL for the above link:
The health plans covering public school and state employees in 2015 spent an average of about 31 percent more on obese employees or their obese spouses than they did on others, a report found.
According to the report by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, the plans spent an average of $4,302 in 2015 on health expenses for employees and spouses whose reported height and weight indicated they were obese, compared with an average of $3,270 on slimmer employees and spouses.
The average health costs were even higher for employees and spouses who said they exercised fewer than 20 minutes per week — $6,043, compared with about $3,445 for those who exercised more.
The study analyzed the results of a survey employees and spouses were required to fill out in 2015 to avoid having an extra $75 per month added to their premiums the next year.
The report was prepared for the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board, which governs the health plans.
Chris Howlett, director of the Department of Finance and Administration’s Employee Benefits Division, said he expects the board to begin considering options soon for encouraging healthy behavior among employees.
For instance, he said, the plans could discount premiums for employees who maintain a healthy lifestyle or meet goals such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
“I know there’s definitely an interest in individuals wanting to put, instead of cost increases across the board, cost increases to the population that becomes noncompliant” with health-related requirements, Howlett said.
The plans cover about 45,000 public school employees and about 26,000 state employees, in addition to retirees and the spouses and dependents of retirees and employees.
This year, the plans’ premiums rose an average of just 2 percent for public school employees and 3 percent for state employees.
But the board’s actuarial consultant has warned that larger increases will be needed in future years unless medical and drug costs rise more slowly or state and school district funding increases.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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