Poor Health Costs U.S. $576 Billion Annually
With the upcoming presidential election hinging on health care and the economy, analysis shows that poor health and its impact on productivity costs the U.S. economy $576 billion per year. This is according to estimates by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonprofit health and productivity research organization.
In addition to showing the entire financial burden of poor health, IBI researchers found that 39 percent--or $227 billion--is due to lost productivity associated with poor health. Lost productivity results when employees are absent due to illness or when they are underperforming due to poor health ("presenteeism"-- when employees are at work but not performing at their peak).
"There's a reason that everyone in the U.S. is worried about the economy and health care," said Thomas Parry, Ph.D., IBI president. "These are two fundamental issues that are tightly coupled through health's impact on productivity, and shape our standards of living. Since this election is weighing heavily on how the candidates tackle these issues, it's important that we recognize how they are connected. Illness costs this country hundreds of billions of dollars, and this should serve as a wake-up call for both candidates and employers to invest in the health of workers, for the sake of the people and the benefit of U.S. business."
Sean Nicholson, Ph.D., a Cornell University economist and a leading researcher on the link between health and productivity, stated, "The literature shows that employers can save an average of $3 for every $1 they invest in improving their workers' health, so there are opportunities for companies to increase profits and wages while they improve worker health."