Survey Finds Majority of Employees Want Weight-Loss Drug Coverage

Weight-loss drugs like Ozempic have gained so much popularity that now employees want them included in their health plans. A new survey from Tebra says more than half of respondents want coverage for weight loss drugs.

Tebra’s survey explores the growing demand for weight loss drugs to be included in healthcare benefits. Investigators also uncover additional demands workers would like to see provided by their employer.

Wegovy and Ozempic are two semaglutide injections developed by Novo Nordisk. Ozempic is approved for improving blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes; however, the drug is often prescribed off-label for weight loss. On the other hand, Wegovy is specifically intended for weight loss. Other popular weight-loss drugs include Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound, both tirzepatide injections.

Ozempic videos are well-received on social media platforms like TikTok, with the hashtag #Ozempic garnering over 1.4 billion. Users can be seen uploading their Ozempic journeys or health experts discussing the drug’s impacts. Individuals across the globe with type 2 diabetes have experienced shortages of Ozempic, perhaps due to its social media popularity.

For those without health insurance covering Ozempic, the cost ranges around $1,000 per month but may exceed that price depending on the retailer.

Tebra’s survey reveals that 52% of their 1,017 full-time worker respondents want weight loss drugs in their health benefits. Also, one in 16 employees surveyed would be willing to give up vacation days if health benefits featured weight-loss drugs.

Member of Tebra’s creative team, James Campigotto, explains his team’s most eye-popping discovery while exploring the demand for weight-loss drug inclusion in health benefits.

“One of the more interesting findings from our research is that nearly one in 10 remote workers would return to the office if it meant weight-loss drugs would be included in their benefits,” Campigotto tells Healthnews. “This finding suggests that access to weight-loss medications holds significant importance for remote workers, to the extent that it influences their decisions about their work environment.”

Tebra’s research also breaks down the demand for weight-loss drugs by industry and gender. A reported 21% of transportation and logistics workers cite the inclusion of weight-loss drugs in benefit plans. Meanwhile, 65% of government and 59% of education staff want weight-loss drugs featured in their benefits. More women than men desire weight-loss drugs, with 59% seeking these medications added to their plans versus 47% for men.

“Including weight-loss drugs in employer benefits can contribute to a healthier, more engaged workforce,” Campigotto says. “Companies that implement weight-loss drugs into their employee benefits plan have the potential to see a more productive, professional environment that can redefine workplace satisfaction and health.”

But weight loss isn't the only thing that employees are yearning for.

Tebra survey respondents cite dental care (77%) and vision care (70%) as the top benefits to be included in their employer-sponsored health plans. Notably, employee demand for mental health services (69%) is greater than paid sick leave (62%), maternity/paternity leave (52%), and preventive health screenings (51%)

“The demand for mental health services reflects the importance of mental well-being in the workplace and a desire for comprehensive support to address mental health challenges effectively,” Campigotto says. “Investing in mental health services can create environments where individuals can thrive personally and professionally.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 43.8 million Americans experience mental illnesses each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

With mental health struggles on the rise, the NIH reminds individuals it is important to relax. Self-care can help those battling mental health conditions improve both physical and mental well-being.

Overall, the survey reveals the unmet needs for the employees and their desire for more benefits in areas that are lacking coverage in American healthcare.

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