The astronomical costs of health insurance coverage and prescription drug plans for employees continue to plague employers. It has been predicted that, at the present rate, “by 2008 the average Fortune 500 company may be spending as much on health benefits as it earns in profits.” (“Will Health Benefit Costs Eclipse Profits,” The McKinsey Quarterly Chart Focus Newsletter, McKinsey and Company, September 2004.)
Illustrating the practical economic implications of these costs, General Motors Corp. reported that “health care costs alone add $1500 to the sticker price of every automobile it makes, and estimates that by 2008 that number could reach $2000.” (L. Hudson Teslik, “Healthcare Costs and U.S. Competitiveness,” Council on Foreign Relations. May 14, 2007.) An overwhelming amount of these costs are related to the treatment of preventable illnesses, which commonly result from the use of alcohol and tobacco products, and unhealthy diets.