By Peg O’Connell
A healthy economy and healthy businesses require healthy employees. This seems pretty intuitive, but the actual cost is staggering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that closing the coverage gap would save businesses $1,685 in lost productivity per employee per year. Where I come from, that is a good size chunk of change for a business—small or large.
Chronic health conditions and unhealthy behaviors reduce worker productivity. Five chronic diseases or risk factors—high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity—cost US employers $36.4 billion a year because of employees missing days of work.
Workers with health insurance can get the preventative care they need to take fewer sick days. They also are less likely to be sick on the job and spread disease to both coworkers and customers. Healthy workers are also more likely to be alert and responsive, meaning fewer on-the-job accidents and lower workers’ compensation costs for employers
For too long, North Carolina has struggled with workforce issues that have hampered economic development and dug into the bottom lines of many of our businesses. By closing the coverage gap, we can ensure that all of our workers receive the health care they need to be on the job and work safely.
Closing the coverage gap to provide an affordable option for health insurance to these workers isn’t just good news for them, it is good news for their employers and our economy.