Overweight man's belly

More employers are becoming aware of the dangers of obesity among their employees and are opting to assist them with weight loss and weight management efforts. That is one significant finding of the 2022 “Employee Benefits Survey” recently released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The survey indicates that 22% of employers in the United States cover prescription drugs for weight loss, and 45% cover bariatric surgery. Additionally, 32% of organizations offer weight management programs. Overweight people are at a heightened risk of other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and some cancers, according to Julie Stich, a certified employee benefits specialist and the International Foundation’s vice president of content.

“Although obesity is often misunderstood, the employer shift to covering prescription drugs for weight loss seems to be connected to a recognition that obesity is a disease that increases the risk for many more serious diseases and health conditions,” Stich told BenefitsPRO. “By providing coverage for weight loss prescription drugs, bariatric surgery, and other advanced therapies and weight management programs, employers can support employees earlier, preventing more costly medical events in the future.”

Indeed, according to the International Foundation, 25% of employers report that obesity has the largest impact on overall health care costs.

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