Health Coaching Gains Favor Among Consumers, Insurers, & Employers

Health and wellness coachingHealth coaching has emerged as a $6 billion service market, with a strong growth outlook. There are an estimated 109,000 health coaches and health educators that advise and motivate clients to change bad lifestyle habits and to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.

And, Americans do need help. Eighty-six percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions. These costs can be reduced with health coach programs for employees and plan members to improve their lifestyles, eliminate bad habits, encourage better nutrition and exercise, and manage their chronic conditions.

Where do health coaches work? You are most likely to find a health coach in private practice, at a doctor’s office, or via a corporate wellness program. Large self-insured companies are also using coaches to improve employee health and cut claims costs, as are healthcare insurers.

However, like personal coaching in general, the health coach industry is loosely defined and certification in many cases is performed by organizations more interested in profits than coach competence. National standards are years away.

Health and wellness coaching can be an important factor in the overall healthcare equation, but this is still an emerging discipline in need of more regulation and accountability.

Here are some important health coach statistics and insights to know:

  • Market value: Marketdata estimates that the total U.S. health coaching market was worth $6.14 billion in 2017, up 15% from 2014. The total market is forecast to grow at a 5.4% average annual pace, to $7.85 billion by 2022, with 121,000 coaches practicing.
  • Health coach salary: There are an estimated 109,000 U.S. health coaches and health educators combined, with average yearly salaries/earnings of $56,370. Their numbers have grown 8% per year from 2006 to 2017. There is also interest in health coach certification by healthcare pros such as nurses, psychologists, social workers, chiropractors, nutritionists, massage therapists, and MDs.
  • Weight loss coaching: Marketdata estimates that the market sub-segment for weight loss coaching conservatively is worth at least $738 million. The commercial weight loss center market is projected to grow at an 8.5% average annual pace. Therefore, this market should be worth $1.05 billion by 2022.
  • Disease prevention programs: Insurance companies are hiring health coaches to deliver disease prevention programs to patients and at-risk communities, with special emphasis on diabetes and weight management, smoking cessation, and stress management.
  • Health coach certification: One key problem facing this industry is that there are a variety of definitions put forth, vs. one clear and widely accepted national standard, which is most likely five years away. There are literally dozens of organizations providing a health coach certification, but only 8 of them are really credible.
  • Consumer interest in health coaches: According to some surveys, 60% of Americans want health coaching, but 80% of them have never had it offered to them. Most health coach programs are provided by phone, but apps and online service are emerging too.

To learn more, check out a pioneering new report titled The U.S. Health Coaching Market, which covers key topics such as:

  • Types of health coaches, what they do, where they work, and average salaries
  • Market structure, market size, and forecasts
  • Profiles of 8 major health coach certification organizations
  • Profiles of insurance company users (Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United Health Group)
  • MD and Veterans Administration programs
  • Demand factors and usage by consumers
  • The industry's major issues, obstacles, and outlook

UPDATEFor the most current information for 2024, please check out our newly published article on the health coaching market.

About the Author:  John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, ForbesUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and a variety of trade journals. 

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Topics: Healthcare Industry Insights