Didn’t see this one coming. The hottest new employee benefit is coverage of the new weight loss drugs that stem from the treatment of diabetes. This is desired more that PTO, remote work flexibility, and childcare assistance.

The hottest new benefit for employees is more coveted than remote work or unlimited vacation

By Andy Medici – Senior Reporter, The Playbook, The Business Journals

Employees would rather have coverage for a new class of weight-loss drugs than unlimited paid time off or child care assistance, according to results of a new survey commissioned by a health-care provider.

The survey of 1,300 Americans by diabetes-care firm 9amHealth found that when ranking their desired job benefits in order of importance, coverage for weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy ranked behind only employee-sponsored health care, flexible working hours, company equity and matching 401(k) contributions. It came in ahead of unlimited PTO, work-from-home or hybrid work, and child care assistance.

The class of drugs designed to treat diabetes known as Semaglutide (within the GLP-1 classification) — a class that includes Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro — has shown the potential for weight loss and has since been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sparking a rush for the medication that has so far outstripped supply. That demand for the drug class, however, has sent its value soaring, with the list price for the medication reaching more than $900 for a month’s supply.

About 30% of the survey respondents said they were employed somewhere that covered the weight-loss drugs, but for those who said they were not, about 21% said they would be very likely or likely to change jobs if they could access coverage to the drugs.

Among respondents who were taking the drugs, about 67% said coverage was either an extremely important or very important consideration for staying at their current job; another 23% said it was a somewhat important consideration.

“As more weight loss management medications receive FDA approval, our data shows that people are increasingly eager to get their hands on these drugs for weight loss, even if it means making extreme sacrifices like cutting back on entertainment and travel or changing jobs,” said Dr. Avantika Waring, chief medical officer at 9amHealth, in a statement outlining the survey results.

But while the drugs are extremely coveted, they aren’t without their drawbacks.