Roughly a third (34 per cent) of employers in the U.S. are providing coverage for glucagon-like peptide-1 medications for both diabetes care and weight-loss management in 2024, up from 26 per cent in 2023, according to a new survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

However, the survey, which polled more than 270 U.S. employers, found more than half (57 per cent) said they only provide coverage of GLP-1 medications for diabetes, an increase from 49 per cent in 2023. Among those that currently only cover these medications for diabetes, 19 per cent said they’re considering covering them for weight loss as well.

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Respondents also indicated that, in 2024, the average representation of GLP-1 drugs used for weight loss in total annual claims at their organization was 8.9 per cent, a slight increase from 6.9 per cent in 2023.

Factors respondents said they’re taking into consideration surrounding GLP-1 drug coverage for obesity care include obesity as a risk factor for chronic conditions and associated costs (76 per cent), broker/consultant/PBM recommendations (71 per cent), impact/effectiveness of cost-control mechanisms (62 per cent), GLP-1 label expansion (57 per cent), long-term costs (56 per cent) and lack of clinical studies for long-term use of GLP-1 drugs (39 per cent).

“This new survey data shows that in the last six months, GLP-1 coverage has increased for both weight loss and diabetes,” said Julie Stich, vice-president of content at the International Foundation, in a press release. “With the release of new [Food and Drug Administration] approvals and clinical studies, and increasing demand and awareness, employers are seriously considering how to proceed. The data indicates that employers and plans are adjusting their drug coverage policies in response.”

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