Top 10 conditions costing employers the most — and what we’re doing about them

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A recent survey revealed the top 10 health conditions that impact employer health plan costs the most. More than 500 employers contributed to research conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Here are the 10 conditions — and what Kaiser Permanente is doing to address them.

10. High-risk pregnancies (as reported by 5.6% of employers)

More than 2,300 babies are delivered each year by our physicians and midwives in our Washington region. Women with high-risk pregnancies typically have more doctors’ visits and ultrasounds to make sure the baby is growing well. We rely on scientific evidence and our vast experience in caring for expectant mothers and their babies. We look to find any problems early and address them.

9. Smoking (8.6%)

We offer your clients’ employees enrollment in the Quit for Life® Program. Participants’ chances of successfully quitting tobacco are 8 times better in this very effective program.1

Employers can also find a tobacco-free campus toolkit here.

8. High cholesterol (11.6%)

Our doctors work with members to help control cholesterol through diet and exercise. Should medications be needed, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of statins, drugs specifically developed to reduce cholesterol.

7. Depression and other mental health issues (13.9%)

Our staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and nurses care for children, teens, and adults. Conditions treated include depression, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. We offer free downloads of stress management guides, toolkits, and workbooks to help our clients provide appropriate resources for their workers.

6. Hypertension/high blood pressure (27.6%)

We’ve been the top-performing medical group in Washington state for 10 years. We’ve posted above-average marks for 23 out of 28 care measures including controlling high blood pressure.2

5. Heart disease ( 28.4%)

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. We’ve developed programs that help members choose behaviors that can go a long way in preventing heart disease. We even have a cardiac risk calculator that members can use to find their risk of heart disease in the next five years. Our cardiologists were among the first in the Northwest to perform procedures using 3-D mapping systems. We also pioneered an electrophysiological technique to strengthen failing heart muscles.

4. Arthritis, back, and musculoskeletal issues (28.9%)

Our rheumatologists stand by to diagnose and treat inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune diseases. We have a Spine Center that treats fractures, dislocations, herniated disks, and congenital problems. Our approach to patient care starts with non-surgical treatment whenever possible. Our Musculoskeletal Oncology Center handles bone and soft tissue tumors in children and adults.

3. Obesity (29%)

Kaiser Permanente provides a variety of weight management classes, videos, and interactive tools. We offer tips on healthy eating and how to make lifestyle changes. Employers can even download weight management toolkits and resource guides to help implement programs for their workforce. Our joint effort with Overlake Medical Center has earned the designation of Center of Excellence from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

2. Cancer (35.4%)

Our cancer care team uses some of the best diagnostic and treatment technology around. They have real-time access to patient electronic medical records to ensure complete coordination across procedures and visits. Our patients’ survival rate for five common cancers was comparable or exceeded national performance.3

1. Diabetes (44.3%)

Our Care Management services help patients with diabetes manage their conditions. We’ll help your clients’ employees manage their diabetes care plan, including meals, medications, exercise goals, regular lab tests, and office visits. Our Living Well with Diabetes Workshops help patients manage their disease and work together to solve problems.

By knowing how we address the employee health conditions that most impact company health plan costs, you’ll be better able to show your clients why Kaiser Permanente is the best plan for them.


2. Washington Health Alliance 2016 Community Checkup. Ranking applies to then Group Health Cooperative’s medical group, formerly named Group Health Permanente, P.C. and now named Washington Permanente Medical Group, P.C.

3. Cancers reviewed in this analysis were lung, colon/rectum, ovarian, prostate, and female breast cancer.