All sources are CDC unless otherwise noted

Lowering Healthcare Costs Improving Productivity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to translate science into practice, providing U.S. employers with a wide range of programs and guidance to improve employee health. As one example, CDC is partnering with businesses, health insurance plans and doctors to help improve health and control healthcare costs for high-burden conditions including tobacco use, high blood pressure, healthcare-associated infections, asthma and diabetes.

Explore how CDC helps employers and insurers address five common and costly conditions.
All sources are CDC unless otherwise noted

1 Reduce Tobacco Use

Cigarette smoking remains the single-largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year.

1 Reduce Tobacco Use

Smoking in the U.S. Workforce

Smokers Exposed to secondhand smoke

Smoking harms the U.S. Economy

Smoking costs more than $300 billion a year

Direct Medical Care for Adults Annually

Nearly $170 billion

Lost Productivity Costs Annually

More than $156 billion


The annual cost to employ a smoker is estimated to be $5,816 more than the cost to employ a nonsmoker.

Spend Smarter

Spend Smarter Reduce Tobacco Use


Steps that businesses, health insurance plans and doctors can take to support smokers trying to quit:

Expand access to tobacco cessation treatments, including individual, group and telephone counseling and FDA-approved medications.

Remove barriers to covered treatments, such as cost sharing and prior authorization.

To improve workers’ health, lower costs and improve productivity, promote covered treatment benefits to your employees.

Implement tobacco-free campus/workplace policies.

2Control High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the 10 most expensive health conditions for U.S. employers. About 75 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease and stroke.

2Control High Blood Pressure


Nearly 1 in every 3 American adults (29%) has high blood pressure.


Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.

$48.6 Billion

High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year, including direct medical expenses and loss of productivity costs due to premature deaths.

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Spend Smarter: Control High Blood Pressure


Steps that businesses, health insurance plans and doctors can take to help employees control blood pressure:

Make it easier for employees to access and take anti-hypertension medicines as prescribed.

Provide access to devices that enable employees to measure blood pressure at home, connect them to clinicians to take action on the readings and create incentives for employees to participate in their own blood pressure control.

Promote a team-based approach to blood pressure control (e.g., employee, primary care provider and others such as nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, social workers and community health workers).

3 Control and Prevent Diabetes

About 86 million American adults—many of whom are in the workforce—have prediabetes and 29 million people in the United States have diabetes.

3 Control and Prevent Diabetes

People with diabetes in the United States

29 million

Adults with prediabetes in the United States

86 million

Workers with prediabetes are at higher risk for:

Type 2 Diabetes
Heart Disease

Medical costs for people with diabetes were twice as high as for people without diabetes.

$245 Billion

In 2012, total direct and indirect costs for diabetes in the United States were $245 billion, including increased absenteeism and reduced productivity.

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Spend Smarter: Control and Prevent Diabetes


Steps that businesses, health insurance plans and doctors can take to help employees prevent type 2 diabetes:

Educate employees about the risk factors for developing prediabetes and diabetes.

Provide employees with access to the National Diabetes Prevention Program through an organization with CDC recognition.

Consider providing blood glucose screening for employees as part of biometric screening programs.

4Control Asthma

Asthma is a costly, common condition that affects many employees and their families.

4Control Asthma

24 million Americans have asthma.

1 in 14 adults has asthma
1 in 12 children has asthma

Nearly 1 in 3 adults missed at least 1 day of work each year because of their asthma.

In 2008, asthma caused 14.2 million missed days of work.

$56 Billion

Asthma costs in the U.S. were about $56 billion in 2007 (2009 dollars), including medical expenses, lost productivity and premature deaths.

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Spend Smarter: Control Asthma


Steps that businesses, health insurance plans and doctors can take to help employees and their families control asthma:

Promote healthy workplaces by reducing or eliminating known asthma triggers such as dust, mold or smoke.

Promote strategies and health plan policies that improve access and adherence to asthma medications and devices.

Consider requesting that health plans provide access to intensive self-management education—education about how people can manage their asthma—and to home visits to reduce asthma triggers for individuals whose asthma is not well controlled.

5Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)—infections patients can get whereever healthcare is delivered—are a major, yet often preventable, threat to patient safety. America is doing a better job of preventing HAIs, but more work is needed, especially in fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

5Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections

$30 billion

HAIs in U.S. hospitals lead to an estimated $30 billion in annual direct and indirect costs.

Every year in the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections lead to...

at least

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Spend Smarter: Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections


Steps that businesses and health insurance plans can take to make healthcare safer:

Encourage employees to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones when seeking medical treatment.

Encourage your insurance provider to work with facilities or physicians that have antibiotic stewardship programs or are incorporating good prescribing practices in their operations.

take action

Explore steps all employers—including insurers—can take to improve health outcomes in areas such as reducing tobacco use, controlling high blood pressure, controlling and preventing diabetes, controlling asthma and preventing healthcare-associated infections.

Actions You can Take to Protect Employees' Health and Lower Costs

Business leaders can...

Educate employees about actions to stay healthy and prevent costly disease.

Consider cost-saving interventions when negotiating health insurance coverage for employees.

Health insurance plans can...

Explore providing businesses a benefits package that covers cost-saving interventions and encourages beneficiaries to use covered services.

Educate clinicians about cost-saving interventions, and consider incentives for clinicians who promote them with beneficiaries.

Health systems can...

Educate clinicians about cost-saving interventions, and provide incentives to deliver interventions to patients.

Learn More

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All sources are CDC unless otherwise noted