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Poll of Business Executives Shows Most Companies Not Aware of True Costs of Healthcare
Date:7/10/2009

d health improvement programs was to save money.

"We need to find ways to encourage employers to look beyond just medical and pharmacy costs," noted Dr. Loeppke, who has also conducted a number of other studies on the impact of health on productivity. "We need to look at the burden of chronic illness as well as the health risks as precursors to chronic conditions and how that relates back to health-related productivity loss (presenteeism and absenteeism) - those are key factors that are eating into employers' profitability."

Loeppke and the other presenters - including Michael Taylor, MD, FACP, medical director for Health Promotion for Caterpillar and chairman of the Center for Health Value Innovation (CHVI), and Christine A. Reichardt, senior benefit analyst with Journal Communications, Inc. and also a member of CHVI - highlighted the value of health improvement and wellness programs as a tool to help improve businesses' bottom lines and preserve their "human capital." They emphasized the need for an integrated approach to healthcare benefits - one that focuses on prevention and wellness as well as worksite health programs, focusing on such issues as smoking cessation, diet, exercise and health screenings.

Prevention, health improvement and evidence-based treatment can make significant reductions to the economic burden of illness in America, according to Dr. Loeppke. In fact, he says, the Milken Institute has shown that compared to current trends, by 2023 with plausible improvements in preventing and treating chronic conditions, the U.S. could:

  • Avoid 40 million cases of chronic disease
  • Decrease treatment costs by $218 billion per year
  • Reduce the economic impact of disease by 27 percent, or $1.1 trillion annually
  • Increase the nation's GDP by $905 billion through productivity gains

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SOURCE Alere
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