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Publication Date

10-29-2018

Keywords

population health, health systems, wellness, weight loss, insurance, obesity, body mass index

Abstract

Background: Aurora Health Care’s caregiver wellness program provides incentives and resources to encourage weight loss for obese caregivers and spouses. Quantifying the benefits of these programs to the participants and to the organization was examined, including overall shift in body mass index (BMI) and change in health care claims costs for those who participated in the program.

Purpose: To understand the impact of an incentivized weight loss wellness program and the relationship between weight loss and caregiver health insurance claims costs.

Methods: Annual BMI screening data and health insurance claims costs were analyzed using a multiple regression model to examine overall weight loss, BMI shift, and health insurance claims costs pre- and post-weight loss program participation.

Results: Over 60 tons of excess weight loss in first 5 years (2013–2017). A multiple regression model shows claims costs go down $20 for every 1 pound decrease in weight. Mean medical claims costs dropped by $3535 for the year after participation in one specific weight loss program when compared to prior-year costs. Pharmacy claims did not show a reduction from pre- to postprogram periods.

Conclusion: This research shows some support for the interventions targeting obesity in a workplace setting and the idea that weight loss results in lower health care costs.

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