U.S. Employers May Double Coverage for Weight-Loss Drugs in 2024
A recent survey conducted by Accolade, a healthcare program provider for employers, and research firm Savanta, suggests that the number of U.S. employers covering obesity medications, including Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, a GLP-1 drug, could nearly double next year. Currently, 25% of employers cover GLP-1 drugs, but the survey indicates that 43% of employers plan to offer coverage in 2024.
GLP-1 Drugs and Their Uses
GLP-1 drugs, also known as glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists, are commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss. These medications have shown promising results in helping individuals manage their weight effectively.
“For the 43% of employers planning to offer coverage next year, we recommend a physician-led approach that guides the prescription of GLP-1 medications and incorporates them into a comprehensive health management plan,” said Accolade Associate Chief Medical Officer James Wantuck, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to healthcare.
The survey also revealed that nearly all companies currently covering GLP-1 drugs intend to continue doing so in the coming year.
Impact of Weight-Loss Drugs on Healthcare Costs
Employers who cover weight-loss drugs are experiencing an increase in their healthcare costs due to the rising popularity of Wegovy. Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Ozempic, both containing the active ingredient semaglutide, have witnessed significant sales growth over the past year. Additionally, Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro, another GLP-1 diabetes drug, is expected to be approved for weight loss in the United States this year.
According to benefits consultant Aon, the uptake of weight-loss drugs by employees is predicted to drive a 1% increase in employer healthcare costs next year.
As the demand for weight-loss medications continues to rise, employers are grappling with the financial implications while striving to provide comprehensive healthcare coverage for their employees.