Demographic trends indicate that a greater number of employees of all ages will assume the role of family caregiver for an increasingly older population. This means that more employees will be dealing with eldercare issues.
This report, The MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs, from the Mature Market Institute (MMI), Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) focuses on how caregiving, employer health costs, and employer-sponsored wellness benefits intersect. Using a Health Risk Appraisal questionnaire between 2000 and 2007, 17,097 employees from a single, large corporate employer headquartered in northeast US provided data for The MetLife Study. The data was analyzed for indicators of disease status, health indicators and sociodemographics. Key findings included:
- The estimated average additional health cost to employers is 8% more for those with eldercare responsibilities.
- This differential in health care for caregiving employees is estimated, conservatively, as costing U.S. employers $13.4 billion per year.
- Employees providing eldercare were more likely to report fair or poor health, and are more likely to report depression, diabetes, hypertension, or pulmonary disease.
Although the case study approach limits the extent to which the results can be generalized, the analysis provides the first structured approach to understanding what these eldercare-related employee health costs might be. The report concludes with a series of clear recommendations corporate employers can enact to defray these costs.