A new report shows that 70% of Americans don't have employer-based coverage for Ozempic, Wegovy, and similar weight loss drugs, and 20% would switch jobs to get that benefit.
Recently, 9amHealth, an organization providing a whole-body approach to cardiometabolic care, surveyed 1,334 American men and women 18 years and older about weight loss drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro.
The active ingredient in these medications is semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1(GLP-1) receptor agonist that helps people lose weight by reducing hunger and slowing the movement of food through the digestive tract.
The survey results suggest that for some people, the desire to take semaglutide medications comes at a significant out-of-pocket cost, and employers without Ozempic coverage could lose employees if they don't offer this benefit.
Trends in Ozempic and other GLP-1 medications
According to the report, around 14% of people surveyed take semaglutide-based drugs for weight loss, while close to 10% say they are currently taking them for medical reasons.
Just over 50% said they are not currently using semaglutide and don't want to in the future. In contrast, close to 24% stated they would like to take it at some point.
Regarding insurance coverage, around 30% of respondents said their workplace offers insurance that covers semaglutide medications, and 70% do not have coverage through employer-based insurance.
Of those without current coverage who want to take Ozempic, Wegovy, and other GLP-1 drugs, just over 20% say it's likely, or very likely, they would change jobs to get coverage.
Among people taking semaglutide who worked for an employer with insurance coverage, nearly 40% said this perk was a very, or extremely important factor for determining whether to accept the job or stay employed at the company. Moreover, over 66% stated they would remain in a job they didn't like to keep their Ozempic coverage.
The cost of drugs like Ozempic is high, on average $1000 per month without insurance. Shockingly, the survey found that among people without insurance coverage, 33% spend 21 to 30% of their monthly income on semaglutide medications.
Moreover, 21% of people surveyed have considered using "knock-off" semaglutide drugs, which could be potentially harmful. And while 61% get advice about weight loss medications from their healthcare providers, around 47% obtain information from social media or influencers.
The report found that Ozempic, Wegovy, and other GLP-1s may be causing a shift in grocery spending. The survey indicated that 22% spent $500 or less monthly at grocery stores before taking these medications. After starting GLP-1s, only 17% said they spent that amount. Restaurant spending showed similar trends.
Although the survey showed some interesting trends for Ozempic and similar drugs, it only captured the opinions of a small number of people. Still, the results offer insights into the significant financial challenges individuals without GLP-1 insurance coverage face when using these weight loss medications.
- 9amHealth. GLP-1 Trend Report 2024.