What the findings from America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report mean for employers

The latest findings from America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report highlight some of the greatest health challenges and strengths across the nation.

America’s Health Rankings 2022 Annual Report, presented by the United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association, revealed “profound disparities by race and ethnicity across nearly all areas of health and well-being.” These disparities are creating distinct challenges for employers across the country.

Health disparities like these can have a direct effect on an employer’s bottom line. In fact, according to a Deloitte analysis1, inequities in health care cost approximately $320 billion today and could exceed $1 trillion by 2040 if they do not get addressed. Plus, these disparities can also impact on-the-job productivity, which costs employers $42 billion annually, according to a W. K. Kellogg report.2

Key findings

The latest findings, which includes data from 2019 to 2021, highlight the widening gap in premature deaths, drug-related deaths, frequent mental distress and multiple chronic conditions.

Premature deaths: The premature death rate increased by 18%, and the rate increases differed across specific racial/ethnic subpopulations between 2015 to 2017 and 2018 to 2020:

  • 16% increase among Hispanic populations
  • 14% increase among American Indian/Alaska Native populations
  • 10% increase among Black populations

Drug-related deaths: The drug death rate increased 30% between 2019 and 2020 — the sharpest increase over a single year – across nearly all ages, gender and racial/ethnic groups:

  • 49% increase among those ages 15 to 24
  • 32% increase among males compared to a 23% increase among females
  • 45% increase among multiracial groups

Frequent mental distress: The prevalence of frequent mental distress increased 11% among adults between 2020 and 2021, with some racial/ethnic, income, age, gender and education groups being disproportionally impacted:

  • 45% increase among Asian adults
  • 13% increase among those with incomes less than $25,000 and $25,000 to $49,996
  • 12% increase among those ages 18 to 44
  • 10% increase among both males and those with a high school diploma or GED degree

Multiple chronic conditions: The percentage of adults who had 3 or more chronic conditions increased 5% between 2020 and 2021, which comes after a drop between 2019 and 2020 when the percentage of adults with multiple chronic conditions decreased 4% nationally.

The pandemic has impacted all of us in profound ways and at different times. But who it impacted and how has varied greatly depending on age, race, gender, income, education and geography. This report not only provides a comprehensive look at our nation’s overall health, it helps us understand how the pandemic has impacted us differently and comparatively.

— Dr. Rhonda Randall, SVP and Chief Medical Officer at UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual

Arguably, now more than ever, employers are realizing the impact these disparities may be having on the overall health of their employee population and ultimately their business. Consequently, employers are looking for their health care carrier to have the data, plan designs, programs and strategies needed to help address some of these pressing health challenges.

To learn more about the specific programs UnitedHealthcare offers, reach out to your broker or UnitedHealthcare representative.

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