Back to Benefits Insider

Biometric Screenings: <br> More than a Window into Your Workforce’s Wellbeing </br> Featured Image

Biometric Screenings:
More than a Window into Your Workforce’s Wellbeing

One Manufacturer’s Story

Wouldn’t it be great to see your staff healthier and your healthcare costs go down?

In addition to helping to create a healthy workplace culture, biometric screenings are a popular tool employers can use to gauge the health of their staff, develop wellness initiatives and work toward controlling the cost of their health plan.

In fact, more than 70% of U.S.-based companies utilize biometric screening, which can be used to establish a baseline for evaluating risk factors for some of the leading causes of death such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lack of physical activity.

After offering a voluntary biometric screening program for 195 employees, the CEO for one of Custom Design Benefits’ clients (an employer in the manufacturing sector) requested additional data to evaluate the program’s effectiveness in controlling benefits costs. For employers in the manufacturing sector, biometric screenings are especially valuable as they can help to improve safety (and worker productivity by extension) by detecting conditions that often result in workplace injuries and accidents.

CDB conducted the analysis and identified that those who participated in the screenings were found to have slightly higher per member per month (PMPM) medical and pharmacy plan costs than those who did not participate. This is expected because employees who are willing to participate in biometric screenings are more likely to utilize their plan benefits in general, especially for wellness or preventive care.

Overall Medical + Rx Claim Costs

For employees who participated in biometric screenings: $462.79 PMPM

For employees who did not participate in biometric screenings: $407.63 PMPM

However, when looking at claims data only for the diagnostic categories most impacted by biometric screenings (cardiac, cholesterol, diabetes, pulmonary, renal/urologic, and vascular) those who participated in screenings accounted for 36.9% of these medical claim costs and were less likely to require hospital and emergency room care than those who did not participate in screenings.

Cardiac/Cholesterol/Diabetes/Pulmonary/Renal/Urologic/Vascular Related Claim Costs

For employees who participated in biometric screenings: $67,518 or $59.17 PMPM

For employees who did not participate in biometric screenings: $115,298 or $150.32 PMPM

Claim Description Biometric Screening Participant Claim Costs Biometric Screening Non-Participant Claim Costs Grand Total
HOSPITAL OUTPATIENT SERVICES $30,520.24 $30,766.50 61,286.74
HOSPITAL ROOM AND BOARD $47,550.76 $47,550.76
OFFICE VISIT PCP $7,885.59 $6,778.00 $14,663.59
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES $7,852.12 $986.69 $8,838.81
EMERGENCY ROOM FACILITY $4,890.65 $2,447.65 $7,338.30
SURGEON $2,583.40 $3,311.16 $5,894.56
OFFICE VISIT SPECIALIST $2,280.00 $2,697.59 $4,977.59
LAB SERVICES $2,441.23 $1,986.59 $4,427.82
ALL INPATIENT PHYSICIAN VISIT $279.88 $3,735.45 $4,015.33
ANESTHESIA $3,902.00 $3,902.00
DIAGNOSTIC TESTING OFFICE SETTING $1,689.15 $1,869.13 $3,558.28
EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN $657.06 $2,682.93 $3,339.99
SUPPLIES $2,802.61 $2,802.61
RADIOLOGY INPATIENT/OUTPATIENT $446.98 $1,529.06 $1,976.04
RADIOLOGY READING IN/OUT $809.51 $822.36 $1,631.87
LABS IN OFFICE SETTING $345.30 $456.23 $801.53
CT SCAN FACILITY $646.35 $95.43 $741.78
CLINIC VISIT $291.00 $435.89 $726.89
DIABETIC COUNSELING $358.31 $183.60 $541.91
AMBULANCE GROUND $462.67 $462.67
MRI FACILITY $426.18 $426.18
URGENT CARE $120.00 $120.00
COVID 19 $57.55 $49.46 $107.01
Grand Total $67,518.20 $115,298.16 $182,816.36

In the case of this manufacturing employer, the data above confirms the benefits of biometric screenings. Those who participated in screenings were more likely to take action and use their health plan (the higher overall PMPM costs) for preventative care and had considerably lower claim costs for conditions that are most impacted by biometric screenings.

What are Biometric Screenings?

Biometric screenings can help prevent some of the leading causes of death, which also happen to be some of the biggest drivers of health plan  costs. They include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unprotected or excessive sun exposure
  • Exposure to air pollutants and allergens
  • Exposure to occupational hazards
  • Unsafe home and community environments

Although there can be different forms of biometric screening, these health examinations typically measure a person’s blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, waist circumference and Body Mass Index. Other types of testing can include heart rate variability, ketones, lipid profiles, and screening for diabetes and colorectal cancer.

Companies do not have access to individual results. Instead, they are provided with an aggregate summary of the overall results.

How Effective are Biometric Screenings?

There’s a lot of research out there to support the benefits of biometric screening, such as:

  • Early identification of health issues
  • Lower health care costs
  • Improved worker health, increased productivity and reduced absenteeism
  • Morale boost

Employees who participate in biometric screenings are more likely to use the data they receive to their advantage. This might include taking preventative medication, exercising more, and making other behavioral modifications to control their diet.

While biometric screenings are one piece of the puzzle, they can go a long way to providing employees with the critical information they need to take action, and in turn, help to reduce some of the health risks known to drive up the cost of employer health benefits.

To learn more about biometric screenings or start a program, contact your broker.

Back to Benefits Insider