10 Illnesses Impacting Plan Costs and What to Do About Them


The list of the 10 illness and conditions having the greatest impact on health plan costs contains no big surprises. They are:

  • High Cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • Depression/Mental Illness
  • High-Risk Pregnancy
  • Heart Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

And while you may not be able to make a big impact on things like high-risk pregnancy, cancer or arthritis in the workplace, the rest of list includes things that can absolutely be influenced by strong wellness and well-being programs.


The rising rates of obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension are the costliest disease in terms of rising plan costs and but, they can be curbed with a well planned and executed wellness plan that focuses on diet and exercise. Consider a contest format with prizes offered for weight loss, exercise and smoking cessation (another in the top 10) programs as they engage employees and foster a sense of community and teamwork. Don’t forget to overlook mental health in your planning! Depression and mental illness are the leading cause of disability in the US and the CDC estimates depression is the cause of 200 million lost workdays annually — at a $44 billion lost productivity cost. Things like stress management, yoga, meditation and just encouraging discussion about the importance of mental health can go a long way in improving the health and happiness of your population. Improving employee’s mental and physical health can ultimately improve your bottom line.