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While three-quarters (76 per cent) of U.S. employers say they provide coverage of glucagon-like peptide-1 drugs for diabetes management, about a quarter (27 per cent) provide coverage of these drugs for weight loss, according to a new survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

The survey, which polled more than 200 U.S. benefits plan sponsors, found 13 per cent said they were considering coverage for weight loss and 10 per cent said they don’t cover these drugs for weight loss and don’t plan to do so. Among respondents, the use of GLP-1 drugs for weight loss accounted for 6.9 per cent of total annual claims.

Read: How plan sponsors, insurers are considering coverage of weight-loss drugs amid rising use of Ozempic

When asked why they’d consider GLP-1 drug coverage for obesity care, 63 per cent of employers cited managing obesity as a risk factor for chronic conditions and associated costs, followed by long-term costs (55 per cent), impact and effectiveness of cost control mechanisms (54 per cent) and broker or consultant recommendations (50 per cent).

More than three-quarters (79 per cent) of employers that provide coverage for GLP-1 drugs said they rely heavily on utilization management to control costs. A third (32 per cent) said they use step therapy and 14 per cent said they had no cost control mechanism in place.

“Though GLP-1 drugs have a high price tag, they currently represent only 6.9 per cent of annual claims, according to survey respondents,” said Julie Stich, vice-president of content at the IFEBP, in a press release. “Employers can take this information into account when designing long- and short-term benefits strategies.”

Read: A closer look at how chronic conditions are impacting benefits plans