This study estimates the percent of health care costs associated with employees’ modifiable health risks.
Cross-sectional multivariate analysis of 223,461 employees from seven industries who completed a health risk assessment during 2007 to 2012.
Modifiable health risks were associated with 26.0% of health care costs ($761/person) among employees with no self-reported medical conditions and 25.4% among employees with a medical condition ($2598/person). The prevalence and relative costs of each of the 10 risks were different for those without and with medical conditions, but high body mass index was the most prevalent risk for both groups (41.0% and 63.9%) and also contributed the largest percentage of excess costs (7.2% and 7.3%).
This study, coupled with past work, gives an employer a sense of the magnitude that might be saved if modifiable health risks could be eliminated.