Musculoskeletal claims are top driver of healthcare costs

Musculoskeletal claimsMusculoskeletal claims were the top driver of healthcare costs in almost all industries, according to research by Maxis Global Benefits Network.

The international employee benefits network’s 2024 report How do industry, culture and gender affect employee health?, based on global claims data, also found spending on musculoskeletal care tripled between 2018 and 2022, from US$26 million (£20.5 million) to $95 million (£75.1 million). The cost per member and year for musculoskeletal care was greater than for heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

In addition, there was a 70% increase in mental health claims in 2020-2022 compared to 2017-2019. Despite 23% of claims in the retail industry alone being for mental health, only a small proportion (2%) of all paid claims overall were for mental health conditions, with UK employees making the majority of these claims.

In Europe, 8% of claims paid were for mental and behavioural disorders, compared to 2%% in the Middle East and North Africa region, 0.5% in Latin America and 0.4% in the Asia Pacific area.

There was a 267% rise in the amount paid for migraine claims and a 93% increase in incidence from 2017-2019 to 2022-2022. Furthermore, significantly more women (60%) than men (39%) used an employee assistance programme service in 2023.

Dr Leena Johns, chief health and wellness officer at Maxis Global Benefits Network, said: “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.

“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.”