Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the most costly cause of insurance claims for employers worldwide, according to research.
International provider Maxis Global Benefits Network’s (Maxis GBN) new report is based on several years of comprehensive medical claims data from local insurance companies in more than 25 markets around the world. It explored the top drivers of cost in diagnostic and benefits categories across the entire Maxis claims portfolio.
The findings highlighted that MSKs accounted for 12% of private medical claims costs for employers worldwide – larger than respiratory diseases (11.5%) despite the global impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
Surgeries and procedures for MSK conditions cost an average of $629 (£464) per member per year compared to an average of $615 (£453) for all other conditions.
Nearly half (48%) of the total amount paid under the category was for chronic issues, of which 43% were for back or disc disorders.
Acute respiratory conditions, including Covid-19, colds and flu, coughs, and sore throats made up over 74% of total paid claims in the entire respiratory claims category.
Digestive conditions were the third most costly for employers, according to the report, making up 10.3% of total private medical claims costs in the analysis. Neoplastic diseases – those conditions leading to tumour growth, were fourth at 9.1% of the total, followed by genitourinary conditions (7.1%).
Dr Leena Johns, head of health and wellness at Maxis GBN, said the report showed the need for an effective and dedicated approach to better care for employees with MSKs.
She explained that MSK conditions remain a major challenge for all types of employers, affecting employees’ health and productivity, and adding significant cost to medical policies and programmes.
“With the shift to working from home and poor ergonomic working environments, we may find that musculoskeletal issues continue to rise in 2022 and beyond,” Johns added.
“Conservative treatments for MSK conditions such as physical therapy could help to give better results for patients and lower costs, but access remains a problem.”