Diabetes Management Programs for Employers

Employee wellness programs are all the rave these days. They represent an employer’s investment in the social, mental, and physical health of their employee population and can help employees exercise more, lose weight, and improve nutrition and overall health. Specific programs differ widely across employers and include both lifestyle and chronic disease management programs, so it isn’t uncommon to see benefits such as on-site yoga classes, fitness center memberships, and heart disease programs offered by the same employer. Technology is elevating these services to new levels, allowing employers to integrate existing services into online platforms to consolidate benefits, address health challenges, and give employees on-demand access to health-related information.

The Financial Benefit

Employers benefit financially from successful wellness programs. Engaging wellness programs can have a 3:1 return on investment (ROI) and can lead to a reduction in employee absenteeism, staff turnover, and employee stress.1 Johnson & Johnson estimates that its wellness programs have cumulatively saved the company over $250 million since their inception in 1995.2 Additionally, these programs can help companies attract and keep talented employees. Surveys have shown that employees factor benefits into career decisions: nearly 3 of 5 employees will consider a job opportunity with slightly lower pay if it offers better benefits and 1 of 6 employees have rejected a job offer or left an employer due to the benefits offered.3 Chronic disease management programs offer can higher financial benefit for the employer because these conditions are expensive to treat and typically account for most of an employer’s healthcare costs.4

Diabetes – A Big Problem for Employers

Diabetes is a chronic disease that directly impacts over 29 million people in the US.5 An employee diagnosed with diabetes spends $13,700 annually on medical expenses, whereas an employee without diabetes spends only $5,800. Inpatient care and prescription medication to treat diabetes-related complications (hypoglycemia, comorbidities, etc.) account for 60% of these costs. Not only is this a financial burden for employees with diabetes, but employers pay indirect costs due to employee absenteeism and reduced productivity while at work.6

Diabetes Management Programs

Studies have shown diabetes management programs have a significant impact on improving A1c and increasing patient-initiated preventative medical screenings for those enrolled.7,8 The most effective components of these programs were a high level of provider-to-patient interaction and the ability of coaches to be more proactive in diabetes management.8 In one study, 6,800 Medicare recipients with diabetes were given access to diabetes management programs and the results were clearly in favor of the programs: enrollees visited their primary care physicians more frequently, were more likely to receive eye, lipid, and kidney screenings, and had lower blood glucose levels compared to those who were not enrolled. Moreover, enrolled members visited the emergency room less than non-enrollees and consequently, the average monthly cost for enrollees was 20% lower.9

Do Your Homework

Unfortunately, all diabetes management programs ARE NOT the same. It is important to understand if each program being assessed can integrate into the lives of your employees, identify risk within your employee population, provide personalized insight to motivate employees to make better lifestyle choices, and ensure that the coaches, care teams, and physicians that treat your employees have access to their diabetes data. Finally, the diabetes management program should be financially advantageous. Glooko created an ROI calculator to help potential customers understand the financial implication of adopting Glooko as their diabetes management program.

Reach out to us if you are interested in learning more about Glooko!


1 Mattke, S., Schnyer, C., & Van Busum, K. R. (2013). A Review of the U.S. Workplace Wellness Market. Rand Health Quarterly, 2(4), 7.

2 L Berry, A Mirabito, W Baun. “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?” Harvard Business Review. 31 July 2014. Web. 03 July 2017. <https://hbr.org/2010/12/whats-the-hard-return-on-employee-wellness-programs>.

3 “Aflac Supplemental Insurance.” Aflac. Web. 03 July 2017. <https://www.aflac.com/business/resources/aflac-workforces-report/fact-sheets/company-size/default.aspx>.

4 “Disease Management Programs Offer Shorter Time-to-ROI.” Healthcare Trends Institute, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 06 July 2017.

5 “Statistics About Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association. Web. 05 July 2017. <http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/>.

6 “The Cost of Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association. Web. 03 July 2017. <http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html>.

7 Impact of Disease Management Programs on HbA1c Values in Type 2 Diabetes Patients in Germany. K Kostev, T Rockel, L Jacob, Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology Vol 11, Issue 1, pp. 117 – 122 First published date: May-30-2016 10.1177/1932296816651633

8 C Pimouguet, M Le Goff, R Thiébaut, JF Dartigues, C Helmer Effectiveness of disease-management programs for improving diabetes care: a meta-analysis CMAJ February 8, 2011 183:E115-E127; published ahead of print December 13, 2010, doi:10.1503/cmaj.091786

9  “Does Diabetes Disease Management Save Money and Improve Outcomes?,” J Sidorov, et al. (2002) Diabetes Care, 25(4): 684-689.