*This article was last updated September 2020.
November is National Diabetes Month — so let’s talk about how this disease is affecting both your employees and business in more ways than one.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) External Site, 30 million people in the United States currently have one of the three types of diabetes and 1 in 4 don't even know they have the disease. With these numbers, it's inevitable that a portion of your employees have either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.
Types of diabetes
Type 1: In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce any insulin. Normally the body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat into blood sugar, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get sugar from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. In the absence of insulin, blood sugars can become very high, resulting in vomiting, dehydration and acidotic blood. The treatment for this type of diabetes is insulin.
Type 2: In type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin but is unable to use it properly due to insulin resistance in the cells. Type 2 is typically treated through lifestyle changes, medications and sometimes insulin as the disease progresses.
Gestational: Gestational diabetes starts when the body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, sugar cannot leave the blood and be used by cells as a source of energy. If not properly treated Gestational diabetes can cause complications in both the mother and the infant.
Source: American Diabetes Association (ADA)
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics experience medical costs twice as high as those living without the disease. And, when your employees are facing high costs — so are you. Here's how:
$3.3 billion increase in absenteeism
$26.9 billion in reduced workplace productivity
$37.5 billion in inability to work as a result of the disease (e.g. disability)
$19.9 billion in lost productivity due to early mortality
Source: American Diabetes Association (ADA)
Luckily, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is here to help provide the resources you need to improve employee health while managing health care costs — for both your business and employees.
Consider Condition Support.
Employees who don’t receive adequate support for unmanaged chronic conditions increase health care utilization and cost, which impacts your bottom line. With the Condition Support program, Wellmark uses a team of specially-trained health care professionals to assist with your employees unique needs. The program focuses on providing employees with education and support that empowers them to take charge of their condition.
Adopt a culture of health.
If diabetes is becoming a top claim expense for your organization, it may be time to welcome employer consulting and well-being services. These services are able to provide insight about your employees and provide the expertise to create engaging well-being solutions that meet your organization's unique needs.
- Take Vermeer Corporation, for example opens in new window — they saw diabetes was a top claim expense and knew they needed to take action to create a substantial change.
- Did you know? Diabetes can put your employees at increased risk for vision loss, too. The leading cause of blindness in adults, diabetic retinopathy, threatens 900,000 Americans External Site. Eye health is an important piece of overall health — reach out to your authorized representative to learn more about adding vision coverage.
Contribute to community health.Health and well-being is far more than what we do to change our workplaces. That's why, we're working in the community through Wellmark's Healthy HometownSM initiative opens in new window, to improve the health and well-being of Iowa and South Dakota communities is so important. We’re on a mission to provide the opportunity for citizens to lead healthier lives by making the healthy choice, the easy choice through healthy vending, community gardens and walking and biking trails.
Encourage your employees to schedule their age-appropriate preventive exams Opens in a new window today. They can easily find an in-network doctor with the when they register for or log into their myWellmark account Opens in a new window.
Questions about resources or how Wellmark can help your organization prevent or manage diabetes? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Send Email.