How employers can spark a movement to help us live longer and healthier lives

A new report by the consulting / accounting firm Deloitte:

The United States lags its peers in life span and health span, while spending more on health care than all of them.1 The US life span decreased in 2022 to its lowest point since 1996,2 while health care spending continues to outpace the GDP growth rate.3 In short, we are paying more and getting less.

But it’s not just about how many years we’re living. What’s important is how many years we’re living in good health—or rather, how many years we aren’t. Living a healthy life can be central to achieving one’s life goals, whether they’re social, physical, emotional, financial, educational, or business-related. Even though the average life span is 77.9 years, Deloitte calculated that Americans are living just 65.9 years (or 85% of their years) in good health. According to analysis conducted by Deloitte’s Health and Life Actuarial teams, all Americans could potentially live up to 95% of their years in good health and live to be nearly 90 years old (figure 1). Not only can people of all ages gain more years and more healthy years, but we could spend less on health care in the process.

To help ensure these projections are realized, we should embrace wellness and prevention, spur innovation, empower consumers, and advance equity, as outlined in our vision of the Future of Health™. And we believe that employers can be the catalysts in driving the change toward living healthier years and spending less. Leaning on the impact that the health and productivity of the workforce can have on an organization’s success, employers are uniquely positioned to take the lead on influencing health improvements more broadly. The payoff could be sizeable and long-lasting. In fact, we could see life span in the United States increase by an average of 12 years and health span increase by an average of 19.4 years by 2040, according to our analysis.

Full report here:

Writeup on The Hill about the report:

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Sounds like a good idea. Might be the only way it happens. Employers and insurance companies are the only ones in a position to get things changed. Patients aren’t really motivated, and healthcare professionals don’t get paid for preventative care.

Agree it would be beneficial but prevention isn’t what western medicine is about. In my opinion, it will always be a niche among those who take responsibility for their own health vs. delegating the responsibility to others.

Recognizing the problem is a first step. Most companies have a wellness program. Often this just means a bit of money toward a gym membership. There are a few concrete steps major firms could take:
Bring back the lunch hour instead of the lunch half hour. Better food choices in the company cafeteria.
Reduce required overtime. Create secure company housing campuses to eliminate 3 or more hours of commuting per day. We need to change the way we live. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my diet and lifestyle are healthy at home. When I am at work or traveling both are terrible.