New Study on the Costs of Modifiable Health Risks

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Summary: This new study documents the excess risk premium (additional annual health costs) associated with 10 modifiable health risks from 7 industries and 223,461 employees covering the period 2007 to 2012.  A separate analysis was conducted for those with a confirmed chronic condition and those without. For both groups the 10 modifiable health risks accounted for slightly more than 25% of total annual health care costs. The average annual cost of health care for the group with a chronic condition was 3.4 times the group without a confirmed chronic condition. The 10 health risks in their order of cost contribution (highest to lowest) included:
  1. Use of drug for mood change
  2. Stress
  3. BMI
  4. BP
  5. Ex-smoker
  6. Current smoker
  7. Exercise
  8. Safety belt use
  9. cholesterol
  10. Alcohol
Practical Significance: This data is very useful for estimating the economic cost savings associated with changes in prevalence of selected modifiable risks in working and health plan populations.  It provides another set of financial reference points to the original and updated HERO data. Methodological details are included in the article.


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