26% of employers plan to offer weight loss drug benefits over next year: Survey

Weight loss drugs like Ozempic and other GLP-1s exploded in popularity this year, resulting in drug shortages and increasing costs for payers and employers. 

A majority of employers are experiencing rising costs for weight loss drugs, and about a quarter plan to offer coverage for them in the next year, according to a survey published Sept. 12 by Found, a weight management platform.

The survey included responses from 500 U.S.-based individuals overseeing employee health benefits at companies with at least 5,000 employees. The survey occurred between August 2 and August 4 and was conducted by OnePoll.

Five key takeaways:

1. Employers currently offer an array of weight-related benefits, including fitness and exercise benefits via gym memberships (46 percent), digital weight loss solutions (39 percent), coverage for weight loss medications (34 percent), or preventive solutions like health screenings and nutrition classes (33 percent).

2. Among employers, 62 percent have seen an increase in weight loss drug spending in the last year, 18 percent have seen a decrease and 16 percent have seen no change.

3. In the next year, employers plan to offer preventive solutions (30 percent), digital weight loss solutions that include medications (29 percent), digital weight-loss solutions (27 percent), weight loss drug coverage (26 percent), and fitness and exercise benefits (23 percent).

4. Weight management is very important to 56 percent of employers when it comes to preventive and physical health and somewhat important to nearly 40 percent of employers. 

5. The biggest concerns among employers with weight loss drugs are clinical efficacy (35 percent), cost (29 percent), stigma and bias (17 percent) and supply (14 percent).

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