Excess Healthcare Costs Associated with Excess Health Risks in Diseased and Non-Diseased Health Risk Appraisal Participants
Dee W. Edington
Background: Concerns regarding the effectiveness and impact of disease management are largely based on disease compliance measures. Although disease management programs have measured improvements in compliance and quality of life and cost savings from reductions in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, few programs have focused on changing behavioral health risks not directly related to the specific disease. The basic relationship between behavioral health risks and healthcare costs shows that those individuals with more high-risk behaviors are associated with higher healthcare costs compared with those with low-risk behaviors. The concept of excess costs associated with excess risks is a calculation of theoretical maximum percent savings for an entire group assuming everyone reduces to low risk, and changes in healthcare costs follow the changes in risks. Objective: To establish the magnitude of excess healthcare costs associated with excess health risks, given a diagnosed chronic disease. Methods: 135 251 current and retired employees of General Motors Corporation who had completed a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) were evaluated. Participants were continuously enrolled in traditional or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) medical plans from 1996 to 1999 and had completed at least one HRA between 1996 and 1998. Results: Those with and without self-reported disease averaged 19.2 and 9.1% excess healthcare costs associated with excess health risks, respectively. However, the magnitude of the impact differed across age groups and diseases. Individuals less than 45 years of age with self-reported disease were most affected by the presence of additional health risks (44% excess costs) while those aged >=65 years without disease were least affected (8.2% excess costs). Among those with diseases, those with diabetes mellitus and bronchitis/emphysema were most affected (19.2 and 21.0%, respectively). Conclusions: Disease management programs should ideally provide a systematic approach to assist patients with interventions that improve overall health, as well as focusing on disease compliance measures. The implications for disease management programs are that, even given the presence of disease, promoting and/or maintaining low-risk status can result in potential cost savings.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.