Academic Master


Employees’ Health Care Costs Essay


The present study discusses the prevention of obesity among employees through medical interventions that focus on promoting healthy lifestyle choices. It also emphasizes on health maintenance of employees and taking adequate measures that could prevent from the development of serious diseases. The paper uncovers the role of daily lifestyle choices and self-care on improvements of health. It further explores the type of medical interventions that are permissible in eliminating health risks including obesity and other associated diseases. Preventive healthcare interventions have a significant impact on employees performance however it involves costs.

Huge costs involved in healthcare practices results in declining purchasing power for the employees, as they are unable to pay for treatment or preventive strategies. The study explores the role of costs in healthcare programs that restrict employees’ from engaging in healthy lifestyle choices. Cost reduction remains one of the central concerns for the employees as healthcare programs mean additional cost and financial burden on employees. Employees attempts of reducing costs of the benefit programs affect the concept of preventive care that can increase the epidemics of depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic ailment. The study focuses on preventable behaviors and conditions that could enhance the overall health of the employees.

Research questions

  1. Does healthcare interventions be an effective strategy for preventing disease among employees?
  2. Does healthcare treatment result in additional costs of employees that limit them from availing benefits of programs?
  3. Does shifting financial burden on employees for healthcare interventions declining their ability to avail benefit programs?


  • To study the role of healthcare measures on prevention of diseases among employees.
  • To assess the role of healthcare interventions on prevention of obesity, diabetes, depression and chronic diseases.
  • To determine healthcare treatment results in additional costs of employees that limit them from availing benefits of programs.
  • To identify the negative role of employers on shifting financial burden on employees for healthcare interventions declining their ability to avail benefit programs.

Empirical evidence

Determination of obesity depends on the calculation of Body Mass Index (BMI) that relies on the weight and height of an individual. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) stresses on maintaining healthy BMI and identifies risks associated with obesity. The explanation of obese according to CDC is, “a person who is 5’9″ and weighs between 125 pounds and 168 pounds is considered a healthy weight; the same person weighing between 169 pounds and 202 pounds is overweight, and the same person weighing more than 203 pounds is considered obese”. Lifestyle patterns of employees have a significant impact on their BMI while CDC emphasize on the development of healthcare plans that minimize the risks of increasing BMI to the level that results in obesity and overweight. The empirical evidence identifies chronic diseases preventable when employees engage in healthy lifestyle choices and administer adequate self-care behaviors. Common preventable chronic diseases include arthritis, diabetes and circulatory disorders that involve direct medical costs for the employees. Depression remains common disease that results in increased healthcare costs for the employees’. Treatment of depression involves drugs that becomes costly for the employees. Cost burdens influence employees’ choices of healthcare interventions.

Smoking and obesity are negative behavioral attributes that affect the overall health and wellness of employees. Smoking and obesity add to the long-term costs of employees and the state. The state bears the cost of $98 due to smokers. Smoking and obesity lead to other serious diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and circulatory issues. The National Coalition on Healthcare spends $1.9 trillion on healthcare expenses. The costs of employees who are a smoker are 40% high compared to non-smokers. The health insurance costs of smokers are also high due to the increased risks of developing chronic diseases. The statistics reveal that 444,000 deaths of employees occur annually due to their smoking habits. The common reasons for their deaths include cancer, heart disease, and obstructive lung disease. Evidence also depicts that annually 8.6 million people suffer from serious illnesses due to smoking. Obesity is another issue that involves high costs for employees. Denial of firms to share costs of employees’ results in increased cost burden on employees. State also bear high financial costs due to the inadequate adoption of prevention programs. Obesity on employees adds $93 billion annually on state expenses. Prevention of obesity is important as it results in long-term financial costs and increased burden on employees (Hammaker & Tomlinson, 2011).

Cowan and Schwab (2011) explores the role of smoking and obesity on healthcare costs and employees spending capacity. Employees who are smoker face high risks of chronic diseases including lungs cancer, heart disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The study identifies the employees engaged in smoking and who are obese receive low wages that declines their financial ability to spend on behavioral interventions. Low wage smokers face elevated medical costs that results in depression and stress. The results also indicates that obese and smokers manages to earn low throughout their lives compared to non-smokers and non-obese. The firms and state also face high healthcare costs due to smokers and obese employees. These employees were more likely to avail health insurance and healthcare policies compared to non-smokers and non-obese. Smokers experience wage gap due to the imposition of penalties at workplace. The hourly wage of smokers and obese employees is low compared to non-smokers and non-obese. The results depicts that smokers and obese employees are unable to spend on healthcare services due to wage differentials and low earnings (Cowan & Schwab, 2011).

Blumberg (2014) uncovers the increased financial burden on employees due to investments in health. Firms that do not support employees through provision of health insurance or other programs declines has negative impact on employees as it decline their capacity to avail health benefits. The study reveals the adverse impacts of health insurance on employees. Increased healthcare costs have negative implications in terms of financial instability and personal bankruptcies. Employers that shifts the burden of healthcare insurance or treatments on employees increases financial burden. Reduced healthcare benefits from firms or states affects healthcare spending of subgroups resulting in health deterioration and decline. The implications of high healthcare costs depicts the need for affordable benefits that promote healthcare spending of employees.

The study represents suggestions of providing comprehensive medical aid benefits that results in little or no costs on employees. The plans also make healthcare affordable for the employees, increasing healthy lifestyles choices. Affordable health policies such as insurance and reduced payment shift the burden to the state or organization. The study recognizes the benefits of lower healthcare costs on employees’ health and wellness. Lower cost increases their capacity of spending on health that leads to improved health status. Healthcare plans have direct impact on household incomes and overall spending. To minimize risks of chronic diseases the study suggests the adoption of cost sharing model. The model protects employees from high financial costs, thus leading to enhanced health. Employees that do not spend on healthcare face high risks of developing disease (Blumberg, Waidmann, Blavin, & Roth, 2014).

Goettler, Gross and Sonntag (2017) determine the relationship of employees’ healthcare costs with prevention of obesity. Obesity remains one of a serious problem that affects the work quality, productivity and life of employees. The study depicts that obesity prevention and healthcare involve high costs for the employees. Without state’s support or firm’s insurance policy employees avoid seeking medical health. Their intentions to avoid healthcare service are to save limited money. Healthcare spending has significant impact on household spending and income of employees. Low or mediocre earners are unable to use their personal savings or monthly incomes on medical care. Studies depicts that employees who are obese face risks of developing other chronic illnesses including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Obese employees represent high rates of absenteeism resulting to productivity loss.

The evidence reveals significant direct and indirect costs associated with obesity in absence of customizes prevention programs. Ignorance of firms to share burdens affects the health of the employees resulting in health deterioration. The assessment of literature depicts that organizations are least concerned to provide healthcare benefits to obese employees that lowers the spending capacity of the employees. Their decision to avoid obesity prevention programs depends on costs. High costs associated with the programs eliminates the chances of improved health and obesity prevention. The estimated cost indicates that the costs incurred on overweight employees is $156 while on obese employees’ is $242. The work loss imposes indirect cost on employees as it affect their lifetime earnings. Lifetime cost of disability for overweight employees is $31,037 and obese employees is $32,668 (Goettler, Grosse, & Sonntag, 2017).

Shwatka et al., (2016) uncovers the relationship between health risk factors, costs of injuries, illnesses and fatalities. Employees’ ability to attain healthcare service relies on compensation claims and benefits provided by state or organization. Health risk factors are common among employees working in risky environments. Demographic and organizational factors influence the healthcare benefits of employees that in turn affects their ability to spend on health. The study explores optimization of work environment for prevention and mitigation of diseases or injuries. Self-care and administrative care depends on the healthcare policy and costs. The results depicts that employees avoid seeking medical help when they have to pay high costs. Cost sharing encourages employees to spend on their health that prevents the development of chronic diseases and ailments. The study also identifies discrimination in healthcare policies of organizations that affects the minority populations more. The results indicates that employees receiving medical care exhibits better health status compared to the employees that reject spending on healthcare due to increased costs (Schwatka, et al., 2018).


The study uses qualitative research as it involve in-depth understanding of the facts presented by researchers in scholarly database. Qualitative research helps in understanding the factors that leads to the identification of issue presented in the study. The present study uses empirical research methodology as it relies on the facts and evidences provided by researchers in scholarly database. In-depth analysis of the literature helps in determining the relationship of smoking and obesity with healthcare costs. Scholarly database include research papers and articles revealing the information for the present research. Empirical studies provide evidence that supports the central research.


The research identifies smokers and obese employees’ face high healthcare costs due to the increased risks of chronic diseases. Smokers and obese employees earn lower lifetime wages compared to non-obese and non-smokers. State and firms also face high healthcare costs for these employees. Majority of the insurance policies and other benefits availed by employees are smokers. The research also uncovers that the financial capacity of employees restricts their ability to spend on health services. The results obtained from literature reveals the significance of intervention programs to eliminate long-term costs associated with employees who are smokers and obese.


BLUMBERG, L. J., WAIDMANN, T. A., BLAVIN, F., & ROTH, J. (2014). Trends in Health Care Financial Burdens, 2001 to 2009 . Milbank Q , 92 (1), 88–113.

Cowan, B., & Schwab, B. (2011). The Incidence of the Healthcare Costs of Smoking. J Health Econ. , 30 (5), 1094–1102.

Goettler, A., Grosse, A., & Sonntag, D. (2017). Productivity loss due to overweight and obesity: a systematic review of indirect costs. 7 (10).

Hammaker, D. K., & Tomlinson, S. J. (2011). Health Care Management Law. Cengage Learning, Inc.

Schwatka, N. V., Atherly, A., Dally, M. J., Fang, H., Brockbank, C., Tenney, L., et al. (2018). Health risk factors as predictors of workers’ compensation claim occurrence and cost . BJM.



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