Those extra pounds mean extra dollars when it comes to workers’ comp claims — a lot of extra dollars.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is out with a new study showing that the duration of benefits paid out to obese workers who file claims is more than five times as long as it is for claims filed by their healthy-weight counterparts.
To arrive at that figure, NCCI researchers matched claims that were comparable in every way, except for weight of the claimant and age at the time of injury. They then used a device to minimize the potential impact of age.
And they examined claims provided by insurance companies in 40 states over a period of 11 years.
The findings reinforce several earlier studies, including one by Duke University.
The Duke study found that medical costs for morbidly obese employees were almost seven times as high, that morbidly obese workers were twice as likely to file claims, and that when they missed time, obese workers missed almost 13 times as many days as their non-obese co-workers.
It’s increasingly clear that just about anything you can do to help overweight employees trim down is likely to be a good investment.