Weight Loss Drugs and Your Benefits – What Employers Should Know

Weight Loss Drugs and Your Benefits – What Employers Should Know.

Weight loss drugs and your benefits - what employers should know. For the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese, the ability to lose weight could feel as likely as the chances of winning the lottery — next to impossible, until recently. Headlines across America are highlighting new weight loss drugs, which may create a challenging decision for many employers – and possibly a unique opportunity.

Obesity is a serious public health threat linked to multiple chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cancer. And although these health risks are well known, obesity is still a growing concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects 4 in 10 people in the United States and is expected to affect 1 in 2 adults by 2030. 


In the past several years, the FDA has approved weight-loss drugs that have shown efficacy in helping people lose weight. Originally designed to be used as a treatment for diabetes, interest in these injectable drugs known as GLP-1’s has soared, presenting employers with a difficult decision. Many businesses already cover drugs of this class for diabetes only, but with the potential health benefits for employees and as interest in drugs of this category continues, employers need to consider if they will include these drugs in their benefits program for weight loss – and how.

There are several considerations employers should discuss with their consultants to help determine what approach is best for their business and workforce. For example, weight loss drugs are often prescribed to patients who meet certain criteria, including their body mass index and certain health conditions. If approved, a doctor may only be able to prescribe the medication while a patient is losing weight. Once the weight has been lost, coverage could end as well.


Some patients treated with weight-loss solutions such as drugs or diets may have a hard time keeping the weight off indefinitely, something employers will need to take into account when implementing weight-loss medication into their benefits program. Health coaching and support following weight loss could help patients who have completed a weight-loss protocol. A study shared by the National Library of Medicine shows a lifestyle health coaching program resulted in clinically relevant improvements in “multiple biomarker risk factors,” including body mass index, body weight and waist circumference.

The same study also showed high satisfaction levels and improved quality of life among those involved. Benefits are often a crucial factor when employees consider a job. A recent survey from Ro and the Obesity Action Coalition showed almost 50% of workers would change jobs to gain coverage for obesity treatment, and almost 90% feel that obesity is a medical condition and should be treated like one.

Whether a business decides to cover GLP-1 drugs for weight loss or considers alternatives, these programs have the potential to help employees develop lasting change. However, employers still have a lot to consider.


On April 23rd, Conner Insurance is pleased to host an in-person event held in Indianapolis. The 2024 NextGen Healthcare Summit Series: Population Health Management's Impact on Health Plan Success and Employee Well Being is an event you don’t want to miss. Hear experienced professionals answer important questions about weight loss treatments and your benefits program, and discover ways to enhance the wellness journeys of employees.

A comprehensive benefits program that supports employees from the moment they take their first step toward becoming healthier to the moment they feel comfortable leading their new lifestyle is key.

Join the live event!

Talk, listen and learn how weight loss treatments impact healthcare expenses and what strategies can optimize cost-effectiveness. If you want to learn more about incorporating weight loss medications or lifestyle coaching into your employee benefits, come to the NextGen Summit, or reach out to us today. 

2017 Healthiest Employers