Poor health, and its impact on workplace productivity, is costing the U.S. economy $576 billion per year, according to new estimates from the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI).
Using figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its own data, IBI calculated the annual cost of providing medical and pharmacy treatments to workers in poor health ($232 billion). The Institute also determined the costs of wage replacement, such as disability pay and workers’ compensation ($117 billion), and lost productivity ($232 billion) associated with employee illness. .
To help reduce these costs, the IBI report recommends employers recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy workforce, and invest in wellness programs. “The literature shows that employers can save an average of $3 for every $1 they invest in improving their workers’ health, so there are opportunities for companies to increase profits and wages while they improve worker health,” said Sean Nicholson, a Cornell University economist cited in the report.