Workplace coverage for Weight Loss Medications


What do health benefits usually include?

Employers often provide employees with benefit plans that include drugs or medications, in addition to paramedical, dental, medical and other coverages. In addition, sometimes Health Spending Accounts (HSAs) are also available to employees to invest in their health through activities such as joining a gym, an exercise class, sports or recreational activities or improving their mental health. 

What has changed with GLP-1s and weight loss medications?

Obesity medicine has experienced recent breakthroughs which have sent waves throughout the medical world. Until recently, only highly invasive approaches have been available for weight-loss, such as bariatric surgery, or unsustainable approaches like extreme caloric restriction, dieting and exercise bootcamps. Then, Obesity was recognized as a disease by American Medical Association (AMA) in 2013. In 2015, Canadian Medical Association (CMA) also followed by declaring Obesity a chronic disease. This recognition started a new wave of development of medications for weight-loss, which had been dormant since the 1990’s. 

While some treatments such as Contrave, Orlistat and Xenical had become available in recent years, the largest discoveries have been the recent recognition of the effectiveness of GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic, Saxenda and Wegovy, and dual GIP/GLP-1 agonists such as Mounjaro and Zepbound which have really changed the possibilities for medical weight loss. 

With the help of these new class of medications, patients can now achieve weight-loss results that were previously only possible with severely invasive bariatric surgeries, which often resulted in other severe health impacts.

How can excessive weight or obesity be managed with medications?

Medical researchers are still understanding the complex mechanisms through which GLP-1s work, but it is clear that these are highly effective treatments that can not only produce short-term weight loss, but can also help prevent more complex diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, osteo-arthritis and joint pain, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”), fertility issues, polycystic ovary syndrome (“PCOS”), liver and kidney disease, hypertension and dyslipidemia. In addition, the long-term benefits on conditions like certain cancers are also promising and being studied. 

However despite these benefits, it is important that an approach to medical weight management is addressed with sustainable lifestyle change in parallel to the medications. It is important to remember that obesity is a chronic condition and a long-term view should be taken to treating this condition. 

There is also an opportunity to consider underlying factors such as health risks, medical history, lifestyle and demographic information to customize treatment options for patients for optimal results as it is often not as simple as asking for the most popular medication.

Coverage for weight loss medicines such as GLP-1 medications by an employer can positively impact your workplace.

As the medical profession changes its approach to weight management, the demand for these treatments is also rapidly rising. Many employers are finding that their employees are requesting coverage for drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and Zepbound, which can range from $300 to $500 per month for treatment. 

As employers consider coverage for these medications, it is important to recognize that these medications can be a very powerful tool to improve employee health, productivity, and engagement with their employer. When companies invest in programs that are supportive of employee health and wellness, they often see reductions in absenteeism, short-term disability, long-term disability, as well as an increase in employee morale, productivity and loyalty. 

How can employers support their employees, when looking to add coverage for weight-loss medications?

It is important that the medications are not abused for short-term benefit, without creating lasting health benefits for employees, and leaving employers with added cost. As a result, some employers may require their employees to enroll in a medically supervised weight-loss program to receive drug coverage, which ensures that they are implementing lifestyle changes in addition to the medical treatment. Not only will this lead to optimal, long-term weight-loss, but can also help with other improved health metrics and lower future risk of developing other chronic diseases.

People with excessive weight often face social challenges or stigma in their personal lives, which can seep into and impact their professional lives as well. To create effective support for their colleagues and workspace, employers should consider the following:

1. Include coverage for scientifically proven and medically validated treatments and interventions. 

2. Recommend or require enrolment in a medically supervised program that encourages lifestyle change and provides effective tools based on recognized medical principles.

3. Include support from dietitians, nutritionists, as well as psychological support.

4. Consider cultural differences and individual preferences:  Not everyone wants to eat the same foods and personal habits and preferences vary. 

5. Encourage sustainable change which promotes long-term wellness. 

Do the numbers add up?  

A recent study looked at whether employee well-being helps increase productivity and improved ROI for employers. This study looked through 339 independent studies which collectively looked at the health and wellness of 1.8 million employees across 230 businesses and organizations. The results were surprisingly positive: there is a strong correlation between employee wellbeing and their satisfaction with their company, as well as employee productivity, and customer loyalty. In addition, there was a negative correlation with staff turnover. 

Another study on companies that won the Koo health award explored a link between their investments in employee health, and their stock market performance. In the period tracked from 2001 through 2014, the stocks of companies who won awards for employee health outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 325% growth vs 105% for the S&P average.  In addition, the winners had higher dividend ratios (2.3% vs 1.95%), as well lower Price/Earnings (P/E) ratios at 17.31 vs 18.27, validating that their performance was not due to an overvaluation of the company.

These data points prove that an investment in employee health and wellness is a strong investment in employer’s own financial future and creates a competitive advantage for them in the marketplace.

How can Cloudcure help?  

Cloudcure offers an easy solution for employers. We combine effective medical treatment and medications, with a powerful digital tools to increase patient adherence. Our program uses a proprietary curriculum and features that focus on sustainable, long-term habit formation that can create lasting change. And we deliver this through a purpose-built digital platform that educates, engages and generates powerful insights. 

Cloudcure is building a Centre of Excellence for Metabolic Health, including obesity and medical weight management. Our employer programs for medical weight-loss, obesity and metabolic health are crafted by physicians, specialists, and dietitians, and informed by decades of scientific knowledge as well as validated psychological practices such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (“CBT”).  Our health coaches are also trained nutrition professionals who guide, provide accountability and support to your employees to help them achieve their optimal health goals, and feel good on their personal journey.


Providing benefit coverage for weight loss treatments not only supports your workforce, but it is an effective investment in your company’s biggest asset, its people. The financial return on a well-managed benefits programs can be a significantly positive ROI when considering productivity and longevity of employees in critical roles. 

By combining coverage for medications with support through a comprehensive program like Cloudcure, employers can support the well-being of their employees as well as invest in sustained corporate growth.  


1. Organizations that recognize obesity as a chronic disease: 

2. Weight loss medications in BC:

3. Safe use of Health products for weight loss in Canada:

4. Weight loss medications in Alberta:

5. GLP-1 drug coverage in Canada:

6. Ozempic, diabetes, weight loss and benefits coverage

7. Choosing a Safe  & Successful Weight-loss Program:

8. Work productivity among adults with varied BMI: Results from a Canadian Population based survey:

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

10. Wellbeing positively impacts firm performance:



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