Investing in the health of your employees is an investment in your business. Maintaining a healthy workforce plays an important part in allowing businesses to thrive, grow, and innovate. Addressing minority health specifically is an excellent way to make equity a priority in your business, and the economic benefits are worth the investment. As of 2018, racial and ethnic minorities comprised 22% of the labor force in the US; projections indicate that by 2050, minorities will comprise over 50% of the working-age population. With the increase in minority populations living and working in the US, it essential that their health needs be addressed, considering the major health disparities that exist among racial and ethnic minorities. Minority populations in the US are burdened by higher risks of morbidity and mortality from health conditions that are preventable. Barriers to accessing healthcare or obtaining health insurance are also challenges for minorities. Investing in minority health, and providing a pathway for employees to access culturally relevant and high-quality healthcare has benefits that are invaluable to the health of the US population, but that is not all. We’ve compiled the data, to show you how addressing minority health, and helping individuals combat type II diabetes will benefit your business in both the short and long term.
Decreased Direct CostsThe total cost of diabetes in the US was estimated at around $327 billion in 2017, $237 billion of which were allocated to direct medical costs. The early prevention and management of diabetes has never been more important for employers, in order to reduce the development of the serious health complications of diabetes that increase the need for (and cost of ) care. However, to reduce direct costs of diabetes care most effectively, targeting minority populations has never been more important. Minorities are disproportionately burdened by diabetes in the US. While diabetes only affects 7.5% of non-Hispanic whites, 11.7% of non-Hispanic blacks, 12.5% of Hispanics, and 14.7% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives are burdened by diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Numerous studies have reported that minorities are also more likely to have worse control over their condition, and higher rates of diabetes related complications, such as renal disease, blindness, and heart disease. Thus, targeting minority health specifically in the prevention and treatment of diabetes reduces the prevalence of these conditions among racial/ethnic minority groups of the workforce. This further leads to lower employer expenditures associated with high prevalence.
Decreased Indirect CostsWhen diabetes goes undiagnosed or is poorly managed, the consequences for individuals, as well as businesses, can be severe. Indirect costs such as absenteeism, reduced productivity, inability to work and mortality accounted for a combined cost of $90 billion in the year of 2017. Given the disproportionate burden of diabetes on minorities in the US, and the severity of complications, access to adequate screening, prevention and management among minority workers is essential to reducing employer costs. Additional indirect costs that may arise for employers include disability benefits, and the hiring and training of new employees. Both are attributable to poor management of diabetes, and can be avoided by early prevention and management of minority health conditions.
According to the National Business Group on Health: “Large employers, then, have a vested interest in ensuring that health care treatments and services, for which they are paying, are of the highest quality and deliver the greatest value”.
Ensuring Healthy Future