Up to $50 billion is lost by U.S. industries each year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses caused by migraine. But while 91% of large employers recognize the problem, according to a recent survey, most don’t track the costs or seriousness, nor how effective their health plans are at helping employees manage migraine.

Seventy-six percent of responding employers had not calculated the direct and/or indirect costs of migraine, though 44% of employers involved in manufacturing considered the impact costly and serious. Forty-seven percent of employers were interested in tools to measure the costs associated with migraine. Most employers offer migraine resources and programs, in particular health coaches/nurse lines, migraine materials and Web site information from health plans or providers. According to the employers, the health coaches/nurse lines provide the most valuable support.

The survey of 34 large employers was done by the non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH), which educates its employer members on the importance of early and ongoing screening to prevent and identify health issues. “Migraine is a serious, neurological, chronic condition that non-sufferers often view as only stress-related and easily treated,” said Larry Boress, MBGH president and CEO, in a press release. “The reality is that it results in lost productivity and causes significant disruptions to migraine sufferers’ work and personal lives.”