Healthcare costs soar after anthrax

Employers’ healthcare costs and insurance premiums in the US are set to
increase with the spread of anthrax, according to analysts.

Fear of being infected by anthrax has significantly increased the number of
staff seeking medical checks. Healthcare costs were already rising this year
prior to the terrorist attacks, with double-digit insurance premium inflation.

It comes on top of a national survey by Advance PCS that shows health
problems caused a loss of 4.5 productive hours per worker in the week after the
attack – more than double the 2.1 hours lost the week before.

Fatigue, sadness and stomach troubles were among the reasons cited by the
4,485 employees surveyed.

Advance PCS Center for Work and Health’s Walter Stewart said, "Even in
the third and fourth weeks following 11 September, health-related productivity
problems were 10 to 15 per cent higher than average. It’s almost as though
being on guard or vigilant has some cost associated with it."

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