Healthcare is running up big medical bills for the country--and the country’s businesses. The U.S. spends over $3 trillion, or 20% of the country’s GDP, annually on healthcare expenses. Chronic health problems account for about three-quarters of that spending. For kidney healthcare alone, Medicare spent nearly $103 billion in 2014 for all stages of kidney disease, not including prescription medications.
Businesses are being hit particularly hard as they spent more than $620 billion on employee health in 2014. That figure is rising and doesn’t include lost productivity, paid sick leave, disability, and other health-related expenses. Chronic kidney disease is an expensive illness, involving dialysis treatments and transplantation, and is particularly costly to employers in insurance costs and absenteeism.
It comes down to this: Sickness costs money. A lot of money. Unfortunately, kidney disease, despite its huge cost to businesses, is often overlooked in favor of issues such as obesity, smoking, and mental health. Also of great concern is the lack of awareness that diabetes and high blood pressure, which alone affect tens of millions of Americans, are the top two causes of kidney disease. Here is what educating employees about kidney health can do for your company:
Lower Insurance Premiums
Healthcare costs increase 7–10% every year, and each employee costs a business an average of $8,699 per employee, or 7.6% of a company’s annual operating budget. When an employee has a chronic illness like kidney disease, there’s a ripple effect with premiums. For medium-size companies or larger (usually 100 employees or more), claims usage affects future premiums. As more claims are made, the company’s premiums go up. One employee’s extended hospital stay or major health complication, such as end-stage kidney disease, can affect the healthcare costs for an entire organization.
Lower Operating Costs, Increased Competitiveness
Improved health drives performance. Healthier employees take fewer sick days. Absenteeism isn’t just about a missed day, particularly when an employee is frequently out with a chronic illness like kidney disease. Sick days also mean an employee’s work is delayed, other workers are taken away from their own jobs to cover, or temporary workers are hired to fill in.
Companies with on-site wellness programs show a 19% reduction in employee absenteeism; an average savings of $264 per employee, per year. Healthier employees feel better and do better work. Their output and stamina increase, their concentration improves, and they make fewer mistakes. In certain roles, a clearer head also means reduced on-job injuries.
Employee Engagement and Morale
Workers who feel better physically feel better about their jobs. Workplace wellness events also send a good message to employees that the company cares about their wellbeing. And wellness events, even if it’s simply gathering the staff for a presentation, draw employees together for something positive, improving morale and increasing camaraderie.
The figures demonstrate the benefits: Companies with engaged employees outperformed other companies by 202%. A positive company also tends to have better employee retention.
Better Customer Perception
Giving back is good for business: 91% of consumers believe companies should support issues that are important to communities where they live and work. Your customers will notice that you care for your employees and view your company positively.
Keeping your employees kidney-healthy can pay off big time for your business. To find out about how to educate your staff about kidney health by holding a KEEP Healthy kidney health check at your company, or by hosting a ‘Your Kidneys and You’ educational presentation, visit www.kidney.org.