Skyrocketing Healthcare Costs - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/04/06 - Lufkin

Skyrocketing Healthcare Costs

by Jessica Cervantez

Providing health insurance for employees is getting more expensive for most companies. And obesity is playing a major role in these rising costs.

Bryant Krenek, the CEO for memorial hospital in Lufkin, said, "Well it is expensive, and probably a lot of companies don't realize it.  But, research shows that an employee who is more than 30% their ideal body weight, generally costs a company almost $1,500 a year in additional healthcare costs."

Research shows companies also lose productivity, because of problems often experienced by overweight workers.

Krenek said, "It also costs a company about $375 a year in lost productivity and sick time, and sometimes it is not always employees out sick.  But, when employees come in and they feel bad because of their overweight problems, they are not as productive in their work stations."

Over the next ten years, those costs are expected to continue going up. The rising expenses will force companies to look at possible solutions. One incentive many companies already use is having a wellness program for employees.

Krenek said, "When you are talking about costs of $2,000 a year now, approximately or close to it, a wellness program for a company per employee would be a fraction of that, so it is truly more of an investment then a real cost to them."

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