WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve blogged before about the rising cost of the obesity epidemic in the United StatesÃ‚ both in terms of pounds and dollars.
The dramatically higher medical costs suggest that the types and nature of injuries sustained by obese workers, especially the Ã¢â‚¬Å“morbidly obese,Ã¢â‚¬ are more likely to result in permanent disabilities, NCCI says.
Given that obese claimants have more permanent disabilities and longer duration of medical treatments, it is highly likely that obese claimants would also have higher indemnity costs than comparable non-obese claimants, it adds.
So what can be done?
According to NCCI, one way for insurers to manage this risk for the benefit of injured workers and to control costs is to collect data on claims for height and weight:
If the data is available, insurers could be aware up front if obesity is likely to be an issue and try to improve the outcome for the injured worker and their family by keeping the claim from becoming a permanent injury, and, in turn, reducing duration. Depending on the added cost in terms of managing these claims, it may also reduce overall claims costs.Ã¢â‚¬
Another important part of managing obesity risk is prevention. NCCI observes:
In terms of prevention, insurers could offer incentives similar to those already in place for drug-free workplaces. Employers can also play a role in prevention by putting programs in place to try to improve lifestyle choices in terms of nutrition and fitness.
An interesting point.
A related article in the Wall Street Journal today reports on how local communities around the country are taking new steps to push residents to improve their health.
The WSJ quotes New York CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s deputy commissioner for environmental health saying:
What do you think?