28 February 2024news

MAXIS GBN releases new employee health report

Muscoskeletal claims - which includes conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back injuries - have tripled in the last five years according to a new survey. 

MAXIS Global Benefits Network has released a new report which also shows that MSK claims are the leading cost driver in 12 out of 13 industry surveyed. 

The report analyses the factors impacting employee health and looks at how multinationals can ensure their wellness plans deliver the best outcomes for both their employees and their organisation. 

The report looks specifically at industry, culture and gender as three factors impacting health, and uses MAXIS GBN’s global data, drawn from standardised, anonymised data from millions of claimants around the world, to draw key conclusions.  

MAXIS GBN said one key link found in the report is how industry affects musculoskeletal (MSK) claims. 

It explores the link between the type of job someone performs, sedentary or active, and discusses how that might impact the likelihood of them making a claim for an MSK condition.

MSKs are a particular issue for multinational employers. The report finds that in 12 of the 13 industries covered by MAXIS GBN’s data, MSK claims were the top cost driver, with spending on MSK care more than tripling from $26 million to $95 million between 2018 and 2022.

The report looks in-depth at how industry, culture and gender impact a variety of different health claims. One area of particular focus is on mental health. The report states that all three of these factors have the potential to impact mental health claims, yet only a tiny proportion of all paid claims (1.6%) in MAXIS GBN’s data are for mental health conditions. This is in spite of the fact that 22.9% of claims incidence in the retail industry alone were for mental health.

Another industry particularly impacted by a specific health condition is the hospitality (food & beverage) industry, where 71.2% of metabolic health paid claims were found.

As well as the focus on these health issues, the report looks at how gender plays a role in the types of conditions employees face. MAXIS GBN’s data shows women’s inflammation claims costs outpacing men’s (57.6% for women compared to 42.4% for men in 2022). The report also examines a variety of health issues that predominantly affect women, including lupus and ‘the missed disease’, endometriosis.

MAXIS GBN encourages multinationals to take the trends outlined in this report and use them as a starting point to dig deeper into the make-up of their own workforce. It believes that multinationals can better address employee health concerns if they fully understand and consider the needs of all of their employees. It suggests employers offer a tailored approach to health and wellness benefits that incorporates factors such as industry, culture and gender.

If employers step away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that has been traditionally adopted to achieve equality when forming wellness plans, they can really address the differing needs and health concerns of their people, with better outcomes for everyone.

“Increasingly, I'm tasked with guiding multinationals who want to know how to persuade their board of directors on both the merits of wellness and sustaining their investment in it,” said Dr Leena Johns, chief health & wellness officer, MAXIS GBN. 

“And I completely understand this predicament. HR executives championing wellness initiatives find themselves navigating a complex landscape, where every expenditure is put under the microscope, against the backdrop of escalating healthcare costs and broader economic inflation. Multinationals are right to want to see a return on their investment in wellness programmes.

“Our treasure trove of claims data, drawn from standardised, anonymised data from millions of claimants around the world, gives us rich insights into the truly diverse landscape of employees’ health and wellness needs. This report draws on those insights to show employers how to look at their people’s healthcare needs through the lens of industry, culture and gender, and help them understand why a one-size-fits-all approach could be letting them down.

“As the saying goes, ‘health is wealth’, so when employees can convert their sense of wellbeing into productivity, they can be rewarded with job satisfaction and optimism for the future. And when employers invest in their people, they can be rewarded with better organisational resilience, eased pressure on healthcare costs and the ability to attract and retain talent, ultimately improving the bottom line.”

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