Employers are all too aware of the increasing cost of providing health and wellness benefits to their employees. But these benefits — which can help lower the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and back and joint problems as well as detect serious illnesses like cancer at an earlier stage when it may be more treatable — are tools that can have a significant positive effect on an organization’s bottom line.

When employees are living with a chronic health condition or serious illness, productivity can drop and costs can rise. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Business Pulse online resource put the cost of productivity losses due to absenteeism at $225.8 billion or $1,685 per employee per year. The Integrated Business Institute has an even higher estimate of the financial impact of employee health problems, reporting data that shows that poor health costs the U.S. economy $576 billion per year.

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